It Hurts

Date posted: January 17, 2009

I have this horrible habit of scanning the classroom with my eyes once I walk in. I look for bright eyes eager to learn, skeptic faces, careless bodies, or a friendly smile. He was sitting in the last row on the right next to a friend who sat next to him throughout the semester. I wondered why he grew his hair so long and why he was wearing such a tight shirt. I smiled at myself as I thought that he had the right hair and the right body to do whatever he wanted. He was the shy type; his smile gave it away.

After introducing myself and after briefing my new students about the semester and the points we will cover, I caught him telling his friend that I was hot. My eyes met theirs' and they both blushed. I smiled. After class they came to apologize. I told them that they were forgiven and smiled at them. I know how hard it could be to be my student. You never know where you stand; I am strict yet friendly, professional yet accessible, maternal yet too young to be their mother … me and my mind games … I know.

The semester was three months … we got closer … he trusted me … he told me about his dreams of becoming a musician … he wondered why he needed marketing … he wanted to have an agency as a side business … I believed him … I expected to see his name among the who's who of Egypt in a decade or so. He sent me his lyrics for proofing … he still did not know how to deal with me … am I his instructor or his friend?

In class, I get high on the image of the life-giver – the image of me breathing a part of myself into those students … I give them – literally – a part of my time, a part of my mind, and a part of my soul. In a twisted way, I feel that they are my extension and that I have a hand in the creation of their future … I know … I know … creepy! Usually, people are very competitive and most of us want to be the best at what we do. The only people that are allowed and blessed to be better than me are my students.

He has Leukemia … his hair fell off … he lost the bulk of his muscles … he still has a lot of unfulfilled dreams … no one from his family is a match … he is fading away … and he is taking that part of me with him. A part of my soul will die … I have his lyrics … he is so talented … dear God .. please do not make him a past tense.

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