“That Last Day”

This is what I’ve written so far on the story I’m working on.

When I was eighteen years old my senior class sponsor, Mr. Clark, asked the graduating class of 1991 to write on a sheet of paper where we thought we would be in five or ten years. As is my practice, I thought about this assignment for a few hours before I actually wrote anything down. Mr. Clark informed us that the school was going to have a time capsule buried in the front lawn of the school under a monolith dedicated to Mrs. Williams who had been teaching at the school for twenty-five years. The class of 1991 was her final graduating class.

Mrs. Williams was a gem of a teacher but it was definitely her time to leave. She was forty-nine  years old and in fact looked ten to fifteen years younger than her age. Her hair was as radiant and black as the day she began teaching. She had taught Spanish all twenty-five years of her teaching career. She was a gem because she cared. Mrs. Williams cared about her students and the subject she taught. But the last couple years of her teaching career she had begun to falter. When it came to the subject of spanish her mind was still sharp, but concerning any other subject, such as modesty, dates, or simple tasks, well things weren’t as sharp.

Two weeks before my class’ graduation Mrs. Williams walked into my Spanish II class fifteen minutes late. As she entered the room the air was sucked out by every student because we all inhaled at the same time. No one said a word. No one could say a word.

Through the years Mrs. Williams had been the epitome of class and modesty, which for many of her students at the time translated into prudish. She always dressed in long skirts and long sleeve blouses. She never revealed much of her dark tanned skin apart from her ankles and forearms. Many of her students over the years joked that Mrs. Williams never had sex nor even said the word. All students knew this to be untrue because she had a daughter. It was still difficult to imagine her involved in any sexual act because she was so proper. Still, no student would deny that she was beautiful. It was something of a rite of passage for every one of her male students, and some of her female students, to declare on the bathroom walls whether or not we would “do” Mrs. Williams. There was not one male student, and it has been rumored female student, that wouldn’t “do” Mrs. Williams.

That day, two weeks before graduation, when Mrs. Williams walked into class she proved every student over the years wrong. Her arrival to class was obvious because we could hear her high heel shoes clopping down the hallway. I think it was Joseph Raynord that saw her first. Or at least I assume he saw her first because it was his gasp and mutter of the words, “holy shit” that caused me and every other student to turn and gasp. I didn’t dare blink because I didn’t want to miss one second of Mrs. Williams walking and standing in front of the class. Every male in the class shifted in their seats. Every female sat with their mouths agape. Mrs. Williams stood in front of the class wearing a pleated red and black Catholic school girl skirt that was a good six inches above her knees with a tight red blouse that had a plunging neck line that let every one of us know that not only were Mrs. Williams breasts real, but they were standing the test of time perfectly. We shifted in our seats not only to get a better angle but to try to push down our obvious erections.

At first Mrs. Williams didn’t say a word, she just stood there. I’m not sure about the females, but every male was content with her just standing there. It was Mr. Clark, he must have seen her walk past his classroom, who broke the silence and our concentration. When he walked in and called her name she shook her head as though waking from a sleep. Mrs. Williams looked around as though she was lost. Mr. Clark had no idea what was going on, but he began to walk towards her when Mrs. Williams looked down at what she was wearing. She gasped and then ran past Mr. Clark out of the room crying. We, all the males and a few females, ran to the door to catch one last glimpse of Mrs. Williams running.

That was the last day Mrs. Williams was our teacher. We, all her students, were told later that Mrs. Williams had no idea where she was or who we were that last day. Her last day was the day that we, the male students, and a few of the female students, knew that we would “do” Mrs. Williams.

It was during my senior year of college, a fifth year senior, that I got a call from my mother relaying the news that Mrs. Williams had died. My mother knew that Mrs. Williams had always been my favorite teacher. She had been my favorite high school teacher, even before that last day. When I asked my mother how she had died she replied, “Alzheimer’s.”

At that very moment I felt a rush of understanding and guilt. Understanding because all of a sudden that last day made perfect sense. Guilt because that last day Mrs. Williams was not only my favorite teacher, she had become my favorite fantasy. I confess now, nineteen years after that last day and fourteen years after her death, that I had often imagined having sex with Mrs. Williams at my ten year class reunion, her wearing that same red and black pleated skirt with that tight red blouse with the plunging neck line that revealed the most perfect cleavage I’d seen up until that day. I wish I could say that after the news of her death that I never had that fantasy again, but it would be a lie.

It’s funny, often in an ironic way, how our memories work. Today is my thirty-seventh birthday and the memory of Mrs. Williams as my favorite teacher and fantasy was all prompted by my thinking about what I wrote on that damn piece of paper that was placed into that time capsule under the monument for Mrs. Williams. It has been nineteen years and I’m still not where I thought I would be five to ten years after graduating high school.


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