This post is a response to a prompt from Write On Edge – “In “On Writing” Stephen King wrote, “The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.” The word limit was 300 – a hard number to hit! Thank you for stopping by, and as always, comments are appreciated!
There is something about the smell of a school. It doesn’t really matter what school, because they all have the same basic smell…as if it was built into the walls during construction.
When I walked into the high school on my first day as a substitute teacher, I was struck by the fact that this high school smelled exactly the same as the one I’d done time in, 600 miles and a lifetime ago.
I’d always wanted to be a teacher, but life had intervened. Now I was in a classroom at last, albeit as a substitute, and I was terrified.
Memories of high school suddenly snapped into focus, like that moment in a horror movie when you finally see the monster for the first time. I remembered what had happened to some of our subs. What was I thinking? These kids had no reason to do anything I told them to do. I was screwed.
I sucked a breath into frozen lungs as I watched thirty students, every one taller than I was, pour through the door as the bell rang.
It was too late to back out now, and I needed the job.
“James Aborn,” I called out the first name on the roster.
“Yo, whazzup girl?” The cocky voice rose from the back, and scattered giggles followed it up.
Without thinking I walked back to his desk. “Would you like a second chance on your first impression, Mr. Aborn?” I asked him, my voice low and calm.
The lanky body sank lower in his seat and his eyes met mine briefly. “Y-yes ma’am.”
“Good choice.” I walked casually back to the front. “James Aborn?”
I moved on to the next name, “Lizzie Allen?”
My fear retreated with each name. I was going to be fine.