Lies She Never Told Me by John Ellsworth

Lies She Never Told Me by John Ellsworth

Author:John Ellsworth [Ellsworth, John]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: John Ellsworth Books
Published: 2018-05-19T05:00:00+00:00

Chapter 23

Michael’s mother was Wendell Gresham, a woman who taught Latin and Calculus at Hoover High in the suburbs. Michael happened to study both subjects under his mother while attending HH.

On Good Friday of his senior year in high school, before noon, Michael dropped by his mother’s classroom, for it was her free hour and he knew he’d find her grading papers. He knocked on the door jamb before entering.

Wendy Gresham, M.A., was a study in educational professionalism. She’d earned her master’s at Loyola University in high school education with certificate endorsements in Latin and mathematics. She was a quick learner in both areas, Phi Beta Kappa out of Loyola, and she expected Michael likewise to excel. She saw no reason why he wouldn’t.

Wendy was a woman with a quick smile if a student deserved it but a piercing gaze if the moment—errant student, for example—warranted. She was friendly to all students but played no favorites, although the very bright ones tempted her to gravitate their way. She made a practice of never grading her students on the curve. She graded them only against themselves, looking just for improvement in their knowledge and understanding from the first day of the term to the last. If there was a marked improvement, the student was rewarded with an A grade even though, had they been graded on a curve against the rest of the classroom, they would’ve received at best a C minus. Thus, students known as kids who were challenged in languages or math would find themselves bringing home report cards with A’s in Latin and math to their parents. Many conversations between parents and Wendy took place each semester when Wendy, in those moments of irony, tried to explain how their child was doing so well in Wendy’s class.

But that’s just how it was. She played fair, and she expected you to play fair. She passed this attitude onto Michael. He grew up willing to abide only open and honest transactions between people. But he was nobody’s fool. His mother was quick to crack the whip on those who tried to use her, and Michael grew up with the same sharp eye out.

That Good Friday, however, his heart was heavy as he entered Wendy’s classroom.

“Hey, Tiger,” she said without looking up from the papers she was inking in red, “how’s it going?”

He let out a long sigh and sat in the student chair facing her desk. “I’m confused, tell the truth.”

“Aren’t we all? What about?”

“It’s Jane Sullivan. She wants us to get married before college.”

Wendy’s head jerked up. “Come again?”

Michael smiled his best smile. “Thought that would get your attention. No, seriously, we’ve been pretty close, Mom, me and Jane.”

Wendy’s eyes narrowed. “Close in what sense?”

“Well, we’ve been intimate.”

“Michael—I warned you about this.”

“I know, I know.”

“What did I tell you?”

“You told me to use protection if I ever found myself in a situation like this one.”

“Well? Have you? Are you?”

“Yes and no.”

“What the hell does ‘yes and no’ mean?”

“The first time we—you know—I didn’t have anything with me.


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