Story Time (part 4) (for those who missed it)
“Where’s Mr. Schaefer?” Michael turned to ask a fellow classmate.
“Beats me?! Why are you even talking to me?”
“Well I just wondered because he’s usually here before the bell rings.”
“Maybe you should join him – that is to leave so the rest of us don’t have to see ya!”
Michael turned back around to reduce the chance of invoking anymore hostility from Butch, the model student at Middleton High. On the other hand, the bully Butch turned to meet his cronies – Alec and Darrel – who applauded the merciless actions. Monkey see, monkey do. The rest of the class continued to rave as the opportunity to raise hell was coming to a close.
“Ahem!” Scoffed Ms. Shannon as she entered the room. At that time every student, paper airplane, and spit ball safely found their way back to their respective places. “Good morning class!” Ms. Shannon relayed with a beaming smile.
“Good morning, Ms. Shannon!” The class jointly said in kind.
“Now I’m afraid that I have some bad news regarding your teacher Mr. Schaefer in that he will not be attending class for the remainder of the semester. However, know that he is in good health and wishes the best for each and every one of you. With that being said – she then motioned for another to join her from the hall – I’d like to introduce your new teacher Miss Ruth, who will be filling in for Mr. Schaefer’s absence.”
A petite-figured woman then calmly entered the room before saying “Good morning everyone! My name is Miss Ruth and I’m happy to join you for the semester. Everyone knows science rocks!” She said jovially as she threw up quote fingers to poke fun at her own pun.
Half of the class laughed in agreement while the remaining looked on in amazement, although Michael managed to get a smirk out of his mouth’s left corner – something he rarely did. Part of him didn’t know what to expect from his last semester of high school, but another part was excited to get to know Miss Ruth. In any case she seemed harmless, and that was enough for Michael to feel a sense of ease unlike any he had felt before.
“Alright then class, I’ll be keeping close tabs on everyone to ensure our new addition to the faculty gets along just fine.” Said Ms. Shannon before turning for the hall.
“Bye Ms. Shannon, and thank you.” Beamed Miss Ruth as the principal took her leave.
Miss Ruth then asked for each student to stand before providing their name and something unique about them. After all, she had to start somewhere. Most begrudgingly stood while others turned the process into a game. Michael noticed how unruly some of his classmates were even though Miss Ruth managed to keep her composure by laughing along with their silliness. But then it came time for Michael to stand.
“Young man, will you please share your name?” Asked Miss Ruth.
Michael sat at first, somewhat bewildered at the notion she took interest in him but soon managed to raise himself from the desk before mumbling the words “Uhhh…my name is Michael.”
“Michael what?” She asked in kind with a smile across her face.
“Michael Lux, Miss Ruth.”
“Well I’m pleased to meet you, Michael. What makes Michael unique?”
Michael fell silent again as he thought with tremendous focus – what makes me, me? All eyes seemed to be trained on him as if he had the answer they all sought, however he couldn’t come up with anything. His body then started to tremble slightly while sweat steadily flowed from the pores dotting his skin.
“I uhhh…I don’t know to be honest.” Stammered Michael as his head lowered towards his heart.
Butch then saw an opportunity and took it – “that’s because you’re no good at anything!”
The class erupted in laughter as Butch unknowingly caused Michael to feel even more distant from the moment than he already was. Although the party didn’t last long because Miss Ruth showed her true colors before putting a stop to Michael’s persecution.
“Class!” She yelled to grab everyone’s attention. “Let it be known that I have one rule, and one rule only. Everyone will be gentle and kind to all within this class. Understood?”
The class shook their heads in agreement while Butch gave Michael the Evil Eye from across the room.
Miss Ruth then looked towards Butch and said “that means everyone will uphold the one and only golden rule of this class, understood?”
Butch grudgingly shook his head in agreement, although Miss Ruth still hadn’t moved her gaze. So he smiled and continued shaking his head until she did just that. All that mattered to Butch was staying off the adult’s radar since they could object to his unruly behaviors and outbursts, while the kids his age weren’t so fortunate – unless of course they were looking to fight.
“Now with that settled, let’s start our first lecture.” Miss Ruth gleefully said as she moved the class projector in its proper place. With switches turned, knobs yanked, and plugs plugged, light began to emanate from the fossil that sat atop the movable cart. Slides then filled the projection on the board as Miss Ruth discussed the layers of the Earth’s crust in relation to their coordinates on a topographical map of the surrounding area.
Michael, even though he was dazed moments earlier from having been chastised and belittled, amazingly kept his focus centered on the lecture. Or maybe it was woman who stood up for him? More than likely it was a combination of the two. In any case, it wasn’t long before the bell rang for the third time that day. The room cleared as quickly as the alarm sounded, although Michael fumbled to gather his belongings.
“Are you okay, Michael?” Asked Miss Ruth as she approached.
“I’m fine, why do you ask?”
“Well I noticed you had trouble answering the second question, and I’m sure there’s something special about you that can be shared. So what is it?”
“I’m really okay, Miss Ruth. I just don’t know but thanks for asking.”
She calmly sat in the chair nearest Michael before saying “feel free to speak with me if you ever need to talk, and don’t worry about the subject matter. My ears and eyes are open.” She recounted with such gentle familiarity.
“Thanks again, Miss Ruth. Have a good day!” Michael said as he left for the following period. The day seemed to drag, although it wasn’t long before he found himself walking back home with Jack and Stella.
Featured Image: Giphy