Nothing in Common Ch. 03bysydney6385©
I walked in ready for anything. Not just the annoying teenagers that I was now about to start teaching, but even the curious questions that I was going to encounter from my new coworkers. I was prepared. I started off the first day of class easily and the students were as responsive as I knew I would get them to be – some eager and willing and others that were going to need a push from time to time.
My situation was a little different being a new teacher. I had wanted to move back to Dallas even though I was lacking a job and ended up applying at Bellaire High School. The job was originally given to another prospect but when they fell through, I was given a phone call the week before school even started. I explained that I hadn't moved yet since I originally didn't have a job that allowed me to move sooner. They told me that they were okay with this and stated that I would just go through extra training after school so that I would be caught up on anything that I needed to know.
Lunch rolled around and I ate in the teachers lounge, meeting new people. I answered questions politely and was introduced to Michael Willis, the head of my department. We talked of what I was going over with the students and made plans to meet in my classroom after school to discuss my lesson plans and what I had missed at the normal orientation.
The entire day seem to be going by in a frantic motion with me going between classes and meetings and my free time spent playing catch up. So much had been thrown on my plate that the weekend events never had a chance to creep up into my mind. But all of that changed the minute I turned the corner to get to my classroom.
There were kids all throughout the hallway. But no matter how many students were walking about, there was no way they could hide the stature of John Davis. There he was, towering over other students and purposely berating a group of boys who were most likely up to no good. My feet felt glued to the floor as I watched him point off in the distance as the three boys began to walk in my direction.
I wanted to quickly run into my classroom and hide. Or to turn and wait around the corner, not caring that I would be in the classroom after my 5th period students arrived. But my feet stayed planted and my breathing increased and even though I felt myself getting warm just seeing him there, the feeling of breaking into a sweat crept up upon me as well. And just when I thought I would finally be able to move, I saw his body freeze, his arm drop and the words that were coming out of his mouth come to a complete stop. His eyes locked with mine and the same look of shock that was covering my face was now printed on his.
I wasn't prepared to see him there and obviously neither was he. I was with him for the entire weekend and not once did it cross my mind to ask him what school he was currently teaching at. Or to tell him where I would be. We agreed to meet again and left it at that.
My body was shoved forward with shock and a young girl popped to my side, quickly apologizing and hurrying away. I glanced at her quickly to inform her she was fine and when I looked back up, he was gone. The hall was almost bare when I finally composed myself. By the time I made it inside my classroom, the bell had already rung.
The rest of the school day came and went with a breeze. I tried my best to stay focus, introducing myself to the students, handing out and going over the calendars, and trying to learn their names. Whenever there was a moment pause, my mind would drift to the hallway and questions would start to flood my brain. Why didn't he say anything? Why didn't I say anything? Why did he disappear the minute I turned and looked away? Why did he disappear at all?
The last bell came with the end of the day and the students fled out in a hurry. I pulled some things together and prepared to meet with Mr. Willis to go over more information that was needed to be discussed. We sat at my desk muling over my lesson plans, things I need to know, and answering questions I had in-between. He asked me if I had anymore questions and I decided to ask the only one that had crossed my mind.
"I didn't have any issues today but if I do with a student, what is the preferred course of action?" With the way he looked at me, it was an obviously typical question.
"Just handle each situation in the best way you can. If you feel that the problem is beyond your control, send them to the office." He made some more notes at the same time and somewhat under his breath went, "Just don't be like John."
"I'm sorry?" He looked at me, knowing I had heard him good and well and staged a typical sigh, rub of his nose, and removal of his glasses.
"John Davis. He's one of our history teachers here and quite the pain. His class is actually a couple of doors down from yours. He as the tendency to go off on the kids like a football coach at practice. He's never actually crossed any boundaries, but it's a bit ridiculous the way he talks and deals with the kids."
"Oh." I wasn't really sure what else to say.
"We sometimes wonder how he's even a teacher since he seems to have so much contempt for them."
I just sat in silence, staring at my pad of notes in front of me. Suddenly, I felt like one of the students being told how to behave.
"I'm sorry, Charlotte. I'm not trying to gossip or make you dislike a man you've never even met. I'll just be honest that many of the faculty members won't look fondly upon you if your actions are similar to his. Most of us aren't fond of him at all. Not that it would really matter since he doesn't care for anyone here either. As far as I know, John never mixes his personal life with work. Don't think he ever has."
I continued to keep quiet, deciding it was best not to tell him that I did personally knew John. Or that this sounded nothing like him. And before he could go any further, I made sure he didn't by thanking him and telling him I would let him know if I had anymore questions. Michael left the room and I just sat there.
That was definitely not the John I knew from college as my professor. Or the John I spent the weekend with. I would of almost sworn that the man Michael was speaking of was a completely different John Davis if it wasn't for the fact that I had already seen him. I wasn't really sure what to do. If I should wait until I see him this weekend or if I was going to see him again at all. And then I realized I would obviously see him before then, at work.
I considered calling him but wasn't really sure what to say. I didn't have to think about it much longer though when I heard a click from the door behind me. And I didn't have to turn around to know he was there. I could feel his presence right behind me. I think part of me was expecting him. What I wasn't expecting was the anger in his voice.
"Charlotte, we need to talk."
I didn't bother to turn around when he said my name. For the first time, I was actually scared to look at him.
"Charlotte!" His voiced raised once and again I felt like a student. Except instead of the shy student at the desk, I now felt like one of the boys he was yelling at in the hallway. There wasn't just anger in his voice, but frustration, irritation, and almost hints of disdain. It became apparent that seeing me in the hallway had been plaguing him all day as well.
What did I do that was wrong?
"Charlotte, what are you doing here?"
I finally made the conscious decision to get up and face him and I wasn't pleased. He stood in front of the door with his arms crossed and scowling. Had his foot been taping, I would have been appalled.
" I work here, John."
"Why didn't you tell me this?"
"I never thought about it, John. It never crossed my mind."
"You should have thought about it! You should have mentioned it!" He started to yell and I felt myself get upset.
"You never thought about it either, John! You never thought to ask or even to mentioned where you worked. Jesus, John, I highly doubt either of us has considered the possibility of running into each other let alone working together at the same school so don't get angry with me!" I wasn't one to yell but I couldn't help it. I didn't enjoy being yelled at either. He obviously wasn't expecting it since he looked at me a little shocked, but still with anger.
Both of us were breathing hard and I couldn't tell if it was our tempers rising or the different types of tensions floating in the room. If this hadn't been an upsetting exchange, I would have kissed him by now. And after a minute or two of just staring at each other and calming down, I realized I ached to kiss him.
"I don't understand why you're mad at me." I realized I was looking at the floor when I said this and couldn't understand the different attitudes that were occurring within me. One minute I wanted to kiss him and the next I was a child again. But when I looked up to look at him again, his face was both stern and pained. Who was this man standing in front of me?
"Charlotte, this weekend can never happen again. We can never happen again."
"No exceptions and this isn't up for discussion." He was stern in every syllable of his voice and I felt like it was a line he had use many times with his students.
I looked at him, trying to make out what was happening. I could still feel the tension through the room and noticed his hands were clenched into fists. And then I felt my hands and realized mine were as well and my feet were firmly planted against the floor as if I was trying to fight the urge to move.
I stared at my feet and looked up at him once more only to catch him walking out the door. I don't know how I ever made it back into the chair, but I did. I kept running through the very short conversation in my head, trying to make sense of it. And for the first time that day, the physical activities of the weekend caught up with me, making me feel the soreness in my body that he had created. A soreness that 24 hours ago, I would have enjoyed immensely. And now I was wishing it would go away.