Your High School English Teacher

You will see me differently. I’ll be a part of a past you were ready to leave before you knew it. You don’t yet see that starting over’s a privilege you’re privy to. You’ll cling to me like yesterday’s plate and you’re cellophane, Blu-Tack before it collects hairs, paint, dust and Sellotape at the start of it, right at the beginning.

I don’t remember beginnings, am not sure how I get dragged into anything. Am so used to slipping I’m surprised there’s not another yet, a replacement you, a likely substitute. I enjoy obscure endings, feel better when a question’s hanging.

When you move, which you will, you’ll use stock phrases you found in magazines telling you to move on, do what you want, risk. You’ll say, “You were the best thing that happened, love of my life, first person to taste the underside of my tongue.” And after these sentences, the steps are easy, we’ve all seen Gossip Girl, Dawson’s Creek; we know how to end something.

When I date Jen, Penelope, Paul, and they ask what school was like, I won’t tell them about you. I’ll pretend I hated the books they made me teach, there was no joy in it. Every pupil with potential was a waste and every writer who had promise spent longer on topics with other teachers. I won’t explain age gaps, logistics, logic, ethics and conduct. I won’t tackle morality. I might ask what they thought of Pacey and his teacher and watch them squirm trying to explain why it’s good why it’s bad why it’s right why it’s wrong why it’s wrong why it’s wrong why it’s complicated.

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