Mostly harmless (corto) wrote,
Mostly harmless

Ok this is a retread!

I posted this late at night once a while ago in a comment to my own post... I'm reposting it now 'cause it doesnt copy to my "export" of the journal (I export monthly) if it's down in the comments so this way I'll get a "keeper" record...

It's a story... not a true story... just a story. If your bored to tears... cool. If your busy... move along. :D

---------------- (ps. I love this (lj-cut) thing! Replace the () brackets with <> and it makes the "read more" thing)----------------

Mrs. Lynda Entwistle was a peach. Well, that's her name now.

This begins when she was Miss. Faraday, an English teacher at the public high school and homeroom teacher to 26 grade 12 kids. She was a sweetheart that received the respect of her charges by default... they liked her and she liked them right back. She wasn't an easy grader but kids still considered it a bonus to have her for English especially when the alternative was Mr. Noon. Noon the Goon.

Her students thought of her as a friend. She genuinely cared about them and, despite her diminutive frame, acted like she wasn't afraid of anything or anyone.

The school system was quick to weed out the really bad apples, but there remained tough kids and the toughest of them all would still play fair with Miss. Faraday. She earned that by being fair and honest with the students. Billy Barckley, essentially the prototypical bully was a month in Mr. Noon's class before Gerry (Mr. Noon) was recommending his removal from school. That was back in grade 10. Lynda, on the other hand had no such trouble with Billy. He was a straight C student in her classes and she made the necessary arrangements for him to be in her homeroom class. She talked to him. She tried to understand him.

Physically, Miss. Faraday was really quite something. She had beautiful hair and, while dressing appropriately for a schoolteacher, she could no more hide her good looks than a student could avoid noticing them. Most important, however, was her genuine love of her job and heartfelt consideration of her students. She supervised extra-curricular activities, was the staff liaison to a few student clubs, and all in all remained highly accessible as a guide for the generation of young people passing through that school.

Now the year under consideration in this story was a fortunate one for her grade 12 English class. Many of these students had been in her grade 11 English class and they all shared a close camaraderie.

"Miss. Faraday", the vice-principal said, "has had to take a short leave of absence." The students were obviously concerned. Mr. Gintry (the VP) assured them that all was well and that she would return to her class just as soon as she was able. The rumor mill kicked into full gear. Pregnant, was, of course the first rumor. Now the truth of it was that during a routine examination with her doctor Miss. Faraday had been told that she had lumps where there should be no lumps.

This was not a small affair. She had to immediately undergo extensive chemo and radiation therapy. Cancer can be beaten, but it takes a toll. The students of her home room class found out... and word spread like a plague across the school. During her second round of chemo she received flowers and cards from her class and signatures on a giant bristle board card from more students than she really knew. Mr. Gintry explained to the kids that things were going very well for Lynda and they should have high hopes for her imminent return to class. In the 5 years she had been teaching at his school, he had failed to learn the first thing from Miss Faradays' significant success with the students... Always tell them the truth. They'll find out any ways...

After the chemo came the radiation... then more chemo and then an operation to removing something that she could do without... She was but a shell of her former self. Remission, as a concept means that you still have cancer, but that you've convinced it to go to sleep. After a certain amount of time, "in remission", becomes a euphemism for "healed" and while that's far from true, life has to go on. Three months after leaving her kids (the students) Miss Faraday needed to get back into the saddle. Her doctor very strongly recommended this. She needed to feel vital, and a part of something again... There was, however, a problem. Her opinion of herself was hurting. She had lost a lot of weight, every hair on her body and, well, there was a certain something missing in her eyes. She needed that certain something back.

The kids in her class had become, as much as they reasonably could, experts on cancer and the treatment. The fact that Billy figured prominently in the learning process was nothing short of torture for Mr. Noon. The kids understood all too well what condition Miss. Faraday would return to them in. And it was Billy that first realized she would be hurting in emotional ways far beyond the physical condition of her body.

Lynda was a tormented woman. She wanted to go back and yet remained deathly afraid of how her kids would react to her. Kids can be cruel and kids can be painfully honest. She felt herself a monster and could not bear to see that reflected in their eyes.

She steeled herself to the prospect of returning.
Wigs, scarves, hats.
Pencils, lashes, makeup.
Quiet clothes, backdoors, … and a little late.

Miss. Faraday returned to class on a Monday morning. She walked into a quiet classroom, and froze. Lynda's eyes traveled from face to face unable to even think of holding back the tears as she regarded twenty-six shining and beautiful bald heads.

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