March 2020 SOLC–Day 26
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I admit it wasn’t my finest hour. I’m still not sure what got into me. In the interest of escaping the stress of the current time, I’m willing to throw myself under the bus and relive this moment with you. I cannot reveal names (obviously!), but I will attest to the accuracy of this moment, and I will confirm that it happened a couple of years ago.
It was after 5 pm and I had been attempting to leave school for well over an hour. You know how that goes. It’s never a linear process. So, determined to finally actually leave, I was walking down the hallway to the bathroom to make a final pit stop.
As I neared my co-worker ‘s room, I heard her talking to someone. Then I heard a voice respond.
“Oh, she’ll like that,” it said.
Wait! I knew that voice! It was the voice of one of my student’s father.
This father, an involved parent (and that truly isn’t code for anything else!) had been working hard to support his daughter’s learning. Apparently, he’d stopped by to check in with my colleague about an upcoming unit. (We switch classrooms for Social Studies and Science content, and my class was about to begin a new Science unit with her.) This parent was nice. He was caring and concerned. But he talked a lot. A lot. He was one of those parents you’d never schedule last for a parent-teacher conference. And it had already been a very long, very challenging day.
So, not even knowing if he intended to speak with me (and in my defense, we were in regular contact, so there was nothing new to share), and with nary a second thought, I threw my colleague to the wolves (or to the wolf to be more precise), and moved into stealth ninja mode.
Immediately, I became one with the air around me. I held my breath, moving quickly, with exaggerated, sweeping, silent steps, passing the classroom. Adrenaline coursed through my veins. Step by step, I eased my way further along the hallway.
I had just passed the room, the corner and freedom in sight, when I heard the parent’s voice getting louder. He had to be moving toward the door.
Oh, no! He was going to enter the hallway at any second!
Unfortunately, I was still clearly in sight.
Like I said, I still can’t explain why this next part happened, and the whole time it did, part of my brain looked on, jaw agape, and an astonished and slightly horrified little voice said, “Molly, what are you doing!?”
As I already noted, it wasn’t my finest hour. I guess I was just plain old exhausted. I heard that father’s voice nearing me and something snapped. I just didn’t have anything left to give. I knew that seeing him would mean a long, involved conversation and a long delay to leaving.
So I ran.
I burst into a full out, arms-pumping, skirt-flying run, raced around the corner and flung myself into the nearest bathroom.
“What are you doing?” that voice asked again.
Once inside the bathroom, I started giggling. Well, that was totally ridiculous! Not to mention utterly undignified! Completely unprofessional, too!
Then a thought struck me.
OMG, the hallway cameras must have caught me in action!
The idea that someone in the office might have watched my headlong race down the hallway simultaneously horrified me and cracked me up again. I could only hope that no one had had their eyes on the video stream at that moment. I had no idea how I would explain myself if asked to do so. I laughed even harder, careful to muffle the sound. There might have been a wee note of hysteria in it.
Finally, I calmed down. I was committed now though, so I waited. After a little time had passed, I tentatively opened the door.
Was the coast clear?
The hall had that echoey sort of end-of-the-school-day quiet. That empty-squared feeling. I exited the bathroom, edged along the hall, and peeked into my colleague’s room. She was nowhere in sight. My shoulders relaxed and my steps grew more casual. Phew!
I shook my head at myself, still marveling at my recent actions. Clearly the year was taking a toll on me. I entered my classroom to gather up my bags, happy to finally be heading out the door.
“Hey, Mrs. Hogan!”
I jumped and my hand flew to my chest.
And there he was. The father. His grinning head popping up like a jack-in-the-box from behind the bank of cubbies.
“S. forgot her book, so I was just getting it for her.”
“Oh,” I gasped, heart racing, “You startled me!”
He apologized and then we talked.
“Don’t stay too late,” he called over his shoulder as he left. Fifteen minutes later.
I stared after him for a long moment.
“Well, Molly,” I thought ruefully, “You can run, but you can’t hide.”
Then I gathered up my things and finally headed home.