Once in a while I enjoy writing in response to challenges...this was my first attempt for a new group calling for the creation of a story from a first line (at Gather.Com)
The cool breeze flowed around her, soothing her frazzled nerves. Shelly had just had one of the worse days of her middle-aged life! Not only had she had to take care of her own 1st grade class, she had been forced to care for the 2nd grade class as well. Trading off personal days was not one of the decisions for which she had voted, but with the new principal trying to gain favor; she was caught in "majority rules" status.
Fortunately Hank had been wonderfully helpful, as usual. He had already rolled back the large dividing partition between classes, set up the movable chalkboards in the middle of the larger room, and had even rearranged the chairs when he had cleaned so that they faced toward the larger front of the lecture hall. Now as she sat, enjoying her freedom, she smiled and thought I think Hank might have a crush on me!
Now that she was able to look back at her day, she decided that it had been unusual enough that she shouldn't blame what had happened on the new policy. After all, when the Taylor twins were sent to school when they weren't feeling well, that had started the problem! When they both took a turn for the worse and vomited right as they were coming through one of the doors to the room, they couldn't be scolded. But even though she had called Hank right away to help clean up, while she took care of the girls; they hadn't acted fast enough to prevent four of the second graders from running through the halls into the room, only to go sliding across the room as each ran into the vomit! Fortunately, most of the regurgitation had been water with a little bit of tea because the twins had not wanted any breakfast. Still the boys screamed, "Gross, Yuk! Get me out of here!" as well as some words they had undoubtedly heard outsideof her classroom--thank you very much!
And all of that, of course, set the other children laughing and calling out torturous taunts to those getting up off the floor, their clothes a mess, their handprints on the walls and anything else they touched before they stood.
The only good thing about all of that was that Sara, her friend and the School Secretary had heard the commotion and ran to the room offering help. She quickly saw the problem, herded the boys to take to the nurses' office and then to call their parents if they needed to leave school due to being hurt or to change clothes! The twins were already in the nurse's office and were sure to be sent home.
Thankfully, after that catastrophic beginning, the children settled down to work, even though Hank was there in front of the room, cleaning up the mess that had been made. Now, as she sat at her desk, drinking the coffee that Hank had thoughtfully brought her from the teachers' lounge, she watched him and laughed. He had brought back a magazine he'd found in the lounge and was waving it back and forth, creating the gentle breeze that was soothing her.
"Hank, I don't know how to thank you for helping me through the day!"
"It was my pleasure, Shelly; I like to help out whenever I can."
"How did you happen to start working here, Hank. I remember you used to go to the same high school as I did, but then, didn't you leave town?"
"Yes, right after I graduated. You may not know it, but I won a scholarship that year and I left right away to study to become a teacher. It really was the only way I could ensure I was financially able to get my degree."
"Why, no, I didn't know that--that's wonderful! And have you been able to finish your teaching degree?"
"Oh, yes," Hank laughed. I worked my way through and I was already teaching in Illinois. But, my mother got sick and needed me home after my father died. I took this job to get to know the school and submit my application. Now I'm waiting..."
"Yes, I was told confidentially that there would be a teaching vacancy and that they would be very interested in my applying for the position. You may have heard by now that Mr. Rosenbaum will be leaving this year. But what you don't know is that I'll be taking over his 4th grade class!"
Not able to handle her surprise, Shelly merely responded with a gigantic smile and said, "Really?"
"Yes, and I've been wondering, would you like to help me celebrate my new job by having dinner with me tonight?"
As Hank continued to send his cooling breeze around her, Shelly knew her frazzled nerves were gone and laughingly responded, "Can we go now?!"