“Miss Bee?” Someone caught my attention.
I looked up from the book I was reading and met the gaze of a five year old girl standing in front of the desk I was seated at with a look of guilt on her soft face.
“What is it, Mary?” I asked, closing my book.
“I accidently knocked over one of the bottles of paint when I went to put my painting on the window to dry.” She said, fiddling her fingers nervously.
I let out a sigh. It wasn’t the first time such incidents had happened around the class. It was either some paint brushes and vases were broken or someone spilled paint or water on the floor. It is expected from kids around the ages of three to five years – they tend to be very energetic but clumsy. And one thing I learned from being a part time assistant art teacher at a preschool was patience and being able to monitor and manage the kids – but gad damn it was hard to keep the hyperactive these kids had at a minimum, but I enjoyed being around the regardless. I really enjoyed seeing the lively and how curious they got at almost everything. It made me reminisce on the days when I used to be curious, energetic, and adventurous – before I found out about mom.
“It’s okay, Mary. I’ll clean it up.” I assured her.
“So you’re not mad?” she asked.
“Not at all.” I smiled gently. “Just be careful next time, okay?”
“Okay.” She smiled back and returned to her classmates.
I checked the time on the big clock on the wall and soon learned that school was going to finish soon. I rounded up the class together and gave them instructions to clean up, put the brushes, paints, and aprons away and pack their things.
After seeing the kids off, I went to the janitor’s closet to retrieve a bucket and mop to clean up the split paint. Fifteen minutes or so passed, I put the mop and bucket away and plopped myself down on the teacher’s chair with a sigh. I was exhausted. Exhausted from lectures and school in general. Exhausted from handling a class full of overactive kids. I wanted nothing more than to go home and catch up with some Netflix movies and anime with some mint chocolate ice cream and a bag of chips. But sadly I had two assignment due that needed to be completed.
My mind started to wonder to my previous conversations with Saro and Maren.
…you developed an attraction towards the guy. It’s small but an attraction, nonetheless. And the reason why you’re angry and having sleepless nights stems from that incident where he referred you to someone else.
There was no denying that there was some truth behind Saro’s words, but I wasn’t certain if that hypothesis was true. Yes, my curiosity did spark an attraction towards Matthew. I was surprised that I noticed the smallest details about him – things that I had overlooked all those times I had seen him. I didn’t know him well enough to be attracted to him regardless of the little that I knew about him. Infatuation was a more appropriate word for these feeling I was developing perhaps. There was so much I was curious to know about him and part of me wanted to explore these new found feelings I had.
Just because he’s fine and making progress doesn’t mean that he forgot and moved on. He may have healed but the scar is still there. For all I know, he might not be over her.
If he wasn’t over this Lenore person, did I even have a chance.
“Get over yourself, Bee.” I scolded myself. “You have better things to worry about than some guy you slept with over a month ago.”
“Never took you to be the type to have boy problems.”
I jumped in my seat startled, meeting the gaze of Evonne, my supervisor who stood right in front of the desk with a stoic expression on her face. She was a middle aged woman with long nut brown straight hair, with an angular facial structure consisting of almond shaped icy blue eyes, a long and narrow nose, and plump rosy lips.
“I didn’t hear you come in.” I said.
“Well if you weren’t too busy monologuing like a glorified protagonist in one of those Wattpad stories my sixteen year old daughter reads, you would have heard me come in.” She answered coolly.
“Jesus Christ! You don’t have to be mean about it.”
“It’s not really my problem that you’re sensitive.” She shrugged nonchalantly.
I frowned. Evonne wasn’t exactly the nicest person among the staff members at the preschool but she wasn’t entirely a bad person with a mean spirit. She was just an ice queen who was blunt, sarcastic, and brutally honest and was very unapologetic about it. Her cold demeanour did intimidate me the first days I started working under her and I would often try not to get on her bad side or be on the receiving end of her bluntness and sarcasm but with some encouragement from her and the rest of the staff, I grew accustomed to it – but I still didn’t appreciate her sarcasm either way.
“You’ve been slacking off on work lately.” She said, grabbing a nearby chair and took a seat.
My eyebrows furrowed confused. “What are you talking about? I’ve been doing everything you ask me to do whether t’s watching and teaching the kids in your absence or grading their artwork.”
“I’m well aware. But it seems as though your mind wasn’t here when you were doing all that.” She told me. “I’ve been observing your progress and from what I’ve gathered you’re always focused on whatever’s thrown at you and I’m not seeing that.”
I sighed, slumping down my shoulders. “Sorry, I’ve been stressed with school as of late.”
“Well I’m finding that hard to believe because you’re always on top of your game and well adapted to working under pressure especially when it comes to managing your schoolwork.” She dismissed my response. “Whatever it is that bothering you, it’s something more personal. Like your dilemma with – and I quote – some guy you slept with over a month ago.”
I felt my face burn with embarrassment and internally chastising myself for letting that out in the open.
“I’m genuinely surprised you have a sex life.” She said
“Hey!” I answered, protesting.
“Sweetheart, knowing how much of a reserved by the book individual you are around here, anyone would be surprised that you have a love life let alone a sex life.”
“There’s not love or sex life to speak of. It was just a fling I had during my Summer Break, okay.”
“Okay…but did you at least use protection.”
“I’m asking the important questions here. Last thing you need is you being knocked an expecting parent at your age.” She said. “And you’d think after learning Sex ED teenagers and young adults would know better than to have unprotected sex, but nope! They do it anyway like pregnancies and STDs aren’t a thing.”
“Well, I haven’t been experiencing anything suggesting that any pregnancy.” I said, hoping it would put her at ease.
She studied me closely, evaluating my response. “Okay.” She finalised. “So back to the topic, if it was just a fling why is it affecting you this much?”
“I really don’t want to talk about it, Evonne.” I answered with a sigh. “Just thinking about it is making my head hurt and I don’t even know what to do or make of it.”
There was a deafening silence in the classroom. It was a bit tense since there wasn’t much to say but it was light enough not to be awkward or uncomfortable especially for me. “I’m not going to involve myself further on this since it’s not my place nor my business.” She said. “However, I must warn you that this issue will only get more complicated than it already is if you keep brushing it off and treating it like it’s nothing.
“You’re a good kid with potential. I’d hate for it to go to waste if you let your problems hold you back.”
“Yes, ma’am. I’ll keep that in mind.” I replied.
Evonne hummed, acknowledging my response. “Anyway, I’m about to head out and since you don’t have your car at the moment, I can drive you home.” She offered.
“Oh, no! I want to trouble you.” I declined.
“If you were going to trouble me, I wouldn’t have offered.” She deadpanned.
“I’ll be fine, Evonne.” I said, ignoring her sarcastic remark. “I can always take the bus or call an Uber.”
She studied me once again. “Fine but you better leave soon. Judging by the cloudy sky, it looks like it’s going to rain anytime now.”
“I will. Thanks.”
“Wait!” I hollered, running after the bus in the rain. Great, I let out a frustrated groan as I watched the bus leave without me.
I took shelter under the shed next to the bus stop. I was nearly drenched; my shirt was wet and so was my hair. I was already shivering from the cold since I did not have a jacket. Always listen to the weather news even if it may be a miscalculation so you won’t find yourself in this predicament.
Of all the days, that was the worst one to have my car taken to the motor shop to get serviced.
I took out my phone so I could call for an Uber so I could go home. But as I was about to make the request, I saw a Jeep Cherokee pull up at the bus stop. Wait, where have I seen this car from?
Before I could ponder further, the window rolled down and at that moment, it finally dawned to me why the vehicle was familiar.
It was because Matthew was inside seated behind the steering wheel.