Page 35 - WTP Vol.VII #3
P. 35

“It’s so sad what happened to that boy,” his wife said. “I hope a student didn’t do it.”
 “It’s too early to know,” he said.
In fact, he didn’t care much for Alex Youngblood. He’d always been disruptive in class, making dumb jokes and flirting with girls, especially Patti. In a way (and this thought made him feel ashamed), the last few weeks of school would be easier with Alex gone. He wouldn’t have to endure pangs of jealousy while watching Alex try his sophomoric moves.
It had been hard enough dealing with the mind- numbing exhaustion he’d felt since the baby was born. Both he and his wife were working, so they took turns holding and rocking the child in the middle of the night, which wasn’t easy because of the casts that, like the outer shells of a crab, imprisoned his tiny legs. He’d been born early with feet turned inward. There was the possibility of club foot, the doctors had said, so only hours after his birth, the doctors had molded his feet into the proper position, then set them with casts that had to be cut off and replaced every week to compensate for his growth. On top of that, the baby was colicky, so he cried and constantly spit up.
“He hovered there, surprised to
discover he could make himself rise or fall, just by thinking on it.”
Still, Jim loved his wife and son. He even loved his job—that rush of walking into a noisy classroom and taking it over by making a joke, or blowing students away with some outrageous historical fact. He didn’t want them to think history was dry and boring.
At first, he was taken by Patti’s beauty, intrigued by her dreaminess, by the way she’d stare off into noth- ingness, sucking in her cheeks as if she were sipping from a straw. But he was used to performing in front of beautiful blond and blue-eyed girls. His school district seemed to breed them like exotic butterflies. She was in no way one of his best students. She rarely spoke, and when she did, her answers were vague, as if he’d caught her in the middle of a daydream.
 But everything changed when he introduced the class to Heloise and Abelard. It started while the class was reviewing the importance of the Catho- lic Church during the Middle Ages, and a wise-guy named Campbell McVeigh said, “Time to snooze.” Then another student, a girl, ranted about how the Church had always persecuted women but none of them had the power to fight back.
It was then that he decided to give a few lessons on Heloise and Abelard. He retold their story, how the
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