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Greg Razran

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The New Teacher (Circa 1981)
By Greg Razran
Saturday, April 22, 2006

Rated "PG13" by the Author.

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The New Teacher (Circa 1981)

She didn’t teach our class, but I’ve seen her around the kindergarten; have heard of her as “the new teacher.” She was tall and beautiful, and even to me, at four, seemed too young to work at the school.

One sunny morning, I was out on the playground; it was early autumn, probably mid-September. I had my brown ‘leather-look’ jacket on, but didn’t really need it. My mom thought otherwise. Everyone was enjoying their free time, swinging on the tire swings; kicking around a semi-deflated soccer ball; or playing in the sandbox. I was off by myself.

And then I saw her, way off in the distance, in the northern corner of the garden-grounds, right by the mesh metal fence. She was sitting on a bench swing, but motionless, which I found odd. “It’s a swing – use it!” I thought to myself. As I came a little closer, I noticed that she was shaking, though she was wearing a black overcoat that looked too warm to me.

I took another five steps and that’s when I caught it: she was sobbing, quietly and gracefully. I’ve seen some kids who could pull that off, but never a grown-up. I’ve never seen an adult cry, period.

She must’ve finally sensed my presence or my stare, and raised her head. Tears were streaming down her face, but in black rivulets, which sort of scared me. Concepts like make-up and mascara didn’t exist for me back then.

I could feel that she was trying to get herself together; the sobbing had almost stopped, but the tears, hot and bitter, I could tell, kept on flowing. “Go play,” she finally said, not unkindly, but I stood there, like a statue, paralyzed or mesmerized, whatever. “Go,” she waved her right hand gently. She even attempted a smile.

A part of me wanted to come up to her and give her a big hug; a part of me wanted to run away; a part of me was too scared to do anything. The next thing I remember, was our regular teacher telling us kids that the “fun time” was up, and me following everyone else inside.

I never saw her again. The rumor-mill had it that the new teacher had a fight with a parent of a boy, who was being a jackass. The father didn’t like the fact that she had made his son stand in the corner for his sins. The father turned out to be a retired general.

September came and went that year, and October was cold and rainy. Two decades later, I still wish I’d given her that hug.


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Reviewed by Karen Vanderlaan 2/16/2007
very interesting and well written-it held my interest and caused emotion, good job
Reviewed by Guy Hogan 1/24/2007
Excellent piece of short-short fiction. It is tight, well written and well thought out. Good job.
Reviewed by c patrick durkin 8/9/2006
Greg, such a slice of life! It is beautiful to here about your youth over in the USSR. It gives a human face to the whole ordeal.

Now for the serious literary criticism:
Your vignette was very Joycean both in its brevity and imagery. There are also undertones of existentialism along with some good ole' fashioned modernismo.

You are such a beautiful writer, happy belated birthday.

-c patrick.
Reviewed by Sandra Mushi 4/22/2006
How could one move after seeing black tears! Lol! Darn, I would have been frozen to the spot too. Beautiful sweet write, Greg!

God bless,

Sandie.

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