The Teacher
By Dana Quell

Author's notes: This is the first time I've ever tried to write something like this, and I'm not quite sure I've succeeded. Any constructive feedback would be most welcome. The Teacher is ... my way of thanking all those wonderful people who taught (and continue to teach) me. I know it sounds hokey, but it's something that needed to be said.

"Der Versuch, wann ist es passend?" - "Folgender Freitag, selbstverständlich."
"The essay, when is it due?" - "Next friday, of course."

And that's what sets it off -- the most mundane of things. It's not even a real essay being discussed; it's just some German conversation my first period class is listening to in order to gain better understanding. But warning bells begin to clang in my head -- I've heard this before, I've heard this before... where? when? ... I can't remember, oh gods, I can't remember. But my vision's going blurry now, the real world is fading fast into a flat of gray from my mind's eye, and if I say or do the wrong thing, that world might be destroyed. My world anyway, and with my world comes the world.

I can hear the blood rushing through my head now, can feel the colour fade from my face and just know I'm getting paler by the second, but I cling to the desk for my life -- my knuckles turn almost as pale as I'm sure my face is, as pale as the sheet of paper is in front of me, and I bite my tongue in an effort to control my reactions, physically and emotionally. It's just an ordinary sentence, an ordinary day, nothing will happen, but it is happening, faster and more difficult than ever before, and deep inside me I can feel myself growing more hysterical with each passing moment.

I begin to disconnect from my emotions, which is usually a good sign because it means soon this episode will be over and everything will return to normalcy (as Coolidge might say). But before I can return to my normal, chirpy self, the bell rings, marking the end of first period -- and the beginning of another panic. I slide into this next one faster than I did the first, and my breathing hitches on itself as I eject myself out of my seat as fast as I can and run out of the class.

I run down the hallway in the opposite direction of my next class, heading towards my locker, thinking perhaps the movement will help me. Not a chance. I reach my locker in full panic mode and come to a full stop. I can't go to class like this. I can't. There's no way in hell anybody would think I'm ok. Only one solution.

I shove my bag in my locker and make a fast-walk for the doors that lead outside to the parking lot. My strides are purposeful -- I'm now conveniently pissed off at myself for allowing this panic to take me over so completely, but it's still with me, still blurring my vision and now it's so bad I can feel my pulse in my right eye. I try to ignore the sensation, but I can't. My hand reaches up to close my eye.

Outside now, I begin to walk away from the school, the click clack of my heels on the pavement soothing a little of my jangled nerves. Not enough, not enough, not enough, my mind echoes with every click, click, click, and I walk a little faster, a little more purposeful, and it takes me away from all of this, all of me.


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