Chapter One - A Missed Sunset
In a dimly lit classroom, Mr. Yinsen had been plastering up large glossy photo paper across the walls, with a projector toward the other side, flashing a bright light to a condensed point along the wall. Mr. Yinsen worked intensively, the deprived rest portrayed in his eyes and lethargic movement. Yet nonetheless, he only bothered to preoccupy himself.
After he completed his set-up, he proceeded to his desk by the right corner and bent over slightly to adjust and log onto his school-provided laptop as he typed standing up.
He punched in a few slides and commands and combinations onto the board and then proceeded his way to the projector. He sat atop one of the classroom desks and played with the buttons on the projector for a moment, then used a remote to portray an almost mobile image of a stone being flung across a distance which could be viewed from each sheet of photo paper as the light-diffused stone moved from left to right. The projector lens was likewise moving left to right and had been flickering an image against the paper at lightning pace.
Mr. Yinsen observed the light animation and continued to experiment and mess around with it as much as he could.
While he was dazed and lost in his own hobby, Vincent, a student, walked into the room - rather abysmally too - and switched the lights on as he came in. The sudden interruption of the light animation jolted Mr. Yinsen up and off the seat, and he let out a “Yelp!”
Vincent, confused, scratched his head and called his name, “Mr. Yinsen?”
Mr. Yinsen, regaining himself, brushed the dust off his clothes, and adjusted his glasses. “What are you doing here, Vincent?”
“I was told you were offering after-school study sessions,” Vincent mentioned.
“Erm, yes, I guess I did say that, didn’t I?” Mr. Yinsen scratched his chin. “I didn’t think anybody was actually showing up, though.”
“I’m failing your class, so...” Vincent shrugged and took a seat in one of the desks.
“Ah, right. Let me just look at your grades again,” Mr. Yinsen adjusted his glasses yet again and hopped over by his laptop, hunched over as usual, and took a look at Vincent’s portfolio. “Yup, your grades suck.”
“I don’t get it. I didn’t think I did that bad on the last assignment.”
“You didn’t hand in the last assignment.”
Mr. Yinsen sighed. “Be honest with me, son, you only took this course because your friends told you it was easy.”
Vincent slowly nodded.
“Well that’s why you’re not doing well. It’s because your heart’s not in it,” Mr. Yinsen tried explaining.
“Well I don’t think my heart’s in any of my classes...” Vincent admitted.
“Your other classes aren’t like this one. Photography is an art and an art requires heart.”
“That just sounds like a cheesy rhyme.”
“I didn’t even mean to rhyme? Anyway, Photography requires your attention. You must be apt, to keep the camera in focus, to make a zooming shot, to take an embellishing shot.”
“Hey, can you just show me what assignments are left so that I can know what I’ve still got to do?”
Mr. Yinsen gave a distasteful look. He went back to his desk and grabbed out some folders with calendars on them, and handed a few slips to Vincent. “Here.”
“Okay, thank you, teach,” Vincent packed his stuff up and left the classroom. Mr. Yinsen merely watched him leave, and then proceeded to take down the photo paper, turn off the projector, pack his things, and simply take leave for the day.
About two months or so was left in the school year. Vincent was a Senior hoping to graduate. He didn’t know what the hell he was gonna do once it was over, he just wanted to be a free man first with no schedule or rules to hold him back until he was ready to find a job that he liked. Pursuing a career didn’t interest him.
He came to his house after his ‘study-session’ and rested his backpack on top of a coffee table. He collapsed over a couch and napped for a while, forgetting about his overdue school-work and just snored the hours away.
Mr. Yinsen arrived back at his home after hours of traffic getting between him and the extra papers he needed to grade before the weekend.
On his shelf was a full-frame sensor digital SLR Canon camera leaning by a few books from poets and authors like Tolstoy, C.S. Lewis, Stein and so on.
He pulled his camera over and adjusted the settings a bit, primarily the ISO. He was hoping to find a good sunset picture for the afternoon to put his mind at ease before the stress overload of grading kids’ papers.
Before he stepped outside, his house phone rang.
Picking it up, “Hello?”
“Yes, hello Mr. Yinsen.” It was Principal Johnson.
“Oh, hello Dr. Johnson. How are you this evening?”
“I got an email from some upset parents about your harsh grading criteria.”
“Oh. Was it from Vincent Morris?”
“No. Terry Hadley.”
“Oh, yes. He’s flunking.”
“Photography’s not a core major for anybody. It’s an elective for everyone. No reason to be so hard on everybody, okay Mr. Yinsen? I don’t mean to tell you how to run your class, but as your boss and as someone who’s in charge of the education system here...I have to make sure the students here are getting the best experience they can, alright?”
“But Dr. Johnson...” Mr. Yinsen bit his lips, “I don’t think the kids focus at all in my class. They don’t take the course seriously cause they don’t see much value in photography.”
“Well, like I mentioned, it isn’t a core class. These are high school students and they’re smart enough to figure out they don’t need this class to get into a college.”
“...I know, Dr. Johnson.”
“I don’t want to see you flunking any seniors, okay?”
“Alright. You’re a good man, Mr. Yinsen. Maybe we’ll grab a bite during the week perhaps.”
“Sounds like a sweet deal to me.”
“Haha, alright. Take care.”
“Take care.” Mr. Yinsen hung up his phone on the wall and sighed. When he turned himself around, he noticed outside his windows that night had fallen, and he had missed his sunset.