It was only a Thursday. Still, Friday felt so far away. Irwin remained stoic with his students. He was not going to discuss what happened to Mrs. Harrison's son, but she'd been out since last week. Various subs were in the room across the hall.
Still the question remained. Was everyone on heroin these days? As it was, he'd kept the peace, as of late with fortune cookies. Who knew... kids would work so hard for fortune cookies. Irwin didn't even have to give out coupons, but if a student collected enough over the entire month..the student could get a candy bar.
Some were still working on math problems. A few had out their library books. It was actually quiet. Could he possibly enjoy this quiet time?
Soon enough, the bell rang, and not one stayed behind to talk about the terrible thing to happen to the teacher's 30-something year old son. He was in a coma.
Still, it was a somber alert. He didn't really know Mrs. Harrison, that well. Except, she was the authority on everything, and she hated the way he taught. But he could see it coming. She would be back, furious as ever. Screeching, practically to all her students. That was the way to keep them in line.
Irwin did want to enjoy teaching, but there was no joy when it came to Mrs. Harrison. Still, he was a bit melancholy, thinking of her son. He felt so sad. Imagining himself, in that very state. Comatose and alone in the world.
He shook the thought. He hated shots. Needles were the worst.
He looked up to see Mrs. Harrison's room still lit. And there was someone with a big box. It wasn't Mrs. Harrison, but a young woman. She looked slightly familiar.
There was a tickle at the bottom of Irwin's throat. He needed a cough, but he wouldn't.
"Juliet?" He could barely get out.
"Oh my god." She smiled. "Are you kidding me?" She laughed. Before he knew it, they embraced and it wasn't clumsy at all. It was actually perfect.
Irwin sighed, took a step back. He hadn't seen the young African American woman since last year. She'd done her student teaching here. Honestly, something like this never happened. Not that Irwin knew of.
"Well, you were impressive." He nodded with an open smile.
"Ha, ha." She shook with laughter as she went to put some of Mrs. Harrison's stuff in a box. "I mean, I was subbing, a lot, but not at this school."
"Mrs. Harrison..is..is really retiring?" He wanted to say this called for a celebration, but that would be totally wrong.
"I..I hate the circumstances, but the timing was so perfect for me." She sighed, ever so straight lipped.
Irwin only nodded.
She turned to him with a quick smile. "I'm really glad..you're across the hall."
Laughter filled him up. Irwin couldn't remember a certain happiness like this. He'd so enjoyed doing nothing with her. They'd drank coffee together in the teacher's lounge. She'd showed him her binder of bulletin board ideas. He knew he could learn a lot from her.