“Good morning, class.”
“Good morning, Mr. Ross.” The class chorused.
Obviously, everyone knew the tutor’s name except me. I had missed the first class of the semester because I had to stay back and console Alex, after his heart wrenching breakup from Liz Donald. Their relationship had lasted a total of fourteen hours and twenty-six seconds when Liz pulled the plug. She probably woke up from her drunken slumber and realized she had agreed to date the school’s biggest nerd. Poor her. My roommate, Alex had a very hard time accepting the fact that he had lost his first ever girlfriend before he even got the chance to kiss her. The result? Alex wallowed in a puddle of tears on our dorm room floor, and the compassionate, sympathetic and awesome me, missed my first History class to console him… and I intend to major in History. Sometimes I surprise myself at how selfless I can be.
“Welcome to the US History since 1877 course. Textbooks and notepads on the table, please. Cell phones should either be off or placed on silent. No vibrations, silent!” Mr. Ross’s rendition of the riot act AKA rules brought me back from my thoughts.
Students ransacked their backpacks for the required texts, noisily placing them on the tables in front of them. I decided to send a quick text to Alex since I hadn’t heard from him all morning.
Where the hell are you? Text me!
I put my cell phone on silent mode and straightened up on my chair. I needed to know when Alex replied my text, so I placed my cell phone on the table as well.
“For those of you who missed the introductory class, my name is Richard Ross. And NO, you can’t call me R.R or any other abbreviations you students come up with. I don’t accept late papers, irrespective of your excuse. The door to my class is always open so I can throw you out whenever you break the rules. I don’t accept late coming either. If you’re late and decide to walk in through the open door, I’ll send you out of my next five classes. Now that you’re all familiar with the rules, turn your textbooks to page 10.” Mr. Ross ended with a cold smile.
“Talk about unpleasant... and creepy!” I thought.
Mr. Ross went on with the class while I stared at the screen of my cell phone, waiting for Alex’s reply. It never came. Knowing Alex, he most likely had his cell phone in his bag while his head was buried in a mountain of textbooks somewhere. The library was like his second home so it wasn’t unusual for him to go incommunicado for long periods of time.
“Miss. Messy Brown Hair, can you please tell the class the major reason behind the ill feelings that developed between the United States and Latin American countries in the early twentieth century?”
I lifted my gaze from my cell phone to meet the stares of the forty-five other students in my class. I was so embarrassed that I felt like shriveling into dust and floating away through the windows. For starters, I didn’t have ‘messy brown hair’. My hair was brown alright, but despite the fact that I didn’t use a flat iron that morning, I wouldn’t classify it as messy. It was straight, just not celebrity straight.
“Um…” I started, but couldn’t find the words to continue.
Latin American countries had ill feelings towards the US? How was I supposed to know that? Besides, there were a thousand possible reasons for any country to have ill feelings towards another country. How was I supposed to make a reasonable guess?
I heard suppressed snickering from my classmates and felt the heat rising in my cheeks. The only thing worse than a dumb idiot in History class was an angry, red faced, dumb idiot in History class. Since I knew my options were minimal to none, I decided to take the honorable fall.
“I have no idea,” I replied.
“Consider this your first warning. When I’m in class, I expect a hundred percent concentration.” Mr. Ross snapped.
I thought I saw his eyes flash bright red for a split second but I wasn’t so sure. I buried my head in shame, waiting for the class to end. Mr. Ross turned back around and scribbled some sentences on the board.
“Everyone, your research assignment for this class is on the board. I expect a five-paged summary by the next class.” He stated.
He gathered his teaching materials into his briefcase and walked out of class.
I zoomed in with my cell phone camera and took a picture of the board. The research assignment was on the belief shaping myths of the early twentieth century. I had to turn in something good – to hopefully redeem my currently nonexistent image. I knew the library had a lot of material on the early twentieth century and made a mental note to go there in the evening.
Since the class was over, I called Alex’s cell phone again. This time, it rang out. I didn’t want to appear like a stalker or a person with no life by calling and texting him multiple times, so I decided to give it a rest. I knew I was going to see him back at the dorm at the end of the day anyway so there really was no need to call relentlessly when he was obviously not close to his phone.