You don’t understand, my teacher. You were the most beautiful of them all. That’s why I had to do it. That’s why I had to shake you up and down like you were a box of cracker jacks. I just had to know if you were real…
I couldn’t leave you not knowing. Here is the view from this window: I couldn’t leave you not knowing…..
…So you care little about whether or not a student loves the essential you. Makes no matter. Love doesn’t ask permission. For what kind of magnificent gift have we ever given our permission? Love is not a dirty little secret, you know. I, myself, am no secret. (..not at all dirty!..) Can you guess now what I am not? Well, I’m not an abstract construction made up of theoretical popsicle sticks, and I wasn’t born in the halls of academia! (duh) Ta Da! Have you guessed it yet? You were right! I’m her – the one in here! (that would be “me” folks!)
…I’m sorry you chose not to give me and my ideas a fair enough hearing. I couldn’t help noticing how quickly you bolted out of the door the last night of class. You shook everybody’s hand except mine. You didn’t give me time to say goodbye; to state my case, or to explain. You barely looked my way. Perhaps you disliked my brash manners or the solemness of my nature. Fair enough. One must be prepared to stay true to one’s essential core and suffer all consequences. (There is no honour outside this kind of steadfastness, you know)
I tried telling you about the comments that were being made to me in your classroom about my unusual nature. I don’t know if you heard what I said about it, but you acted as though you had. I know I am a grown woman now. I know I have my responsibilities to myself. But you know what would have happened if I had cried and told you how I was being treated. You would have automatically thought to yourself, “..there she goes, proving it to be true: women have wishy, womanly ways and this is just not the place for wishy, womanly ways.” God knows what you would have done with me. ( I had a dream, once, that you actually called the security guards on me! Two big muscle bound men came toward me and they grabbed me under both my arms. It was all so real! I screamed out to them (trying not to sound like a girl) “What is my crime, gentlemen?!” (I said it as though unafraid as I mustered every ounce of “manly” confidence I could muster) One of them turned to me and said, ever so brazenly and hatefully, “You’re the kind that bleeds, aren’t you?” I was horrified! I awoke suddenly to hear the sound of my own precious heart fluttering like a trapped bird. In my terror I kept thinking I would have to hide the truth of my genitals in your classroom forever…)
With everything that’s in me, I know this much, my teacher. I don’t quite know how to say it exactly but I know (I just know) that someday when I have the right and perfect words I am going to have something terribly significant to say.
I am only writing you this latest memo to remind you, my most beautiful of teachers, of my latest contribution to your personal development and to my society at large. As you may, or may not know, I put every ounce of my heart and soul into learning and caring and growing and bettering myself (and you) while in your classroom. I bore the pain of rejection and ridicule for speaking my truth. And it had nothing, whatsoever, to do with running some kind of race against you, or any of my peers. (Races are for people with strong legs who enjoy competition. I have always had weak knees and an aversion to competitive sport)
I would, of course, be interested in hearing anything you may have to say in defense of yourself, even though you have successfully resisted rational, respectful dialogue thus far. I don’t mind if you need more time, or if you need to swerve off track, (as you do) now and again, to elaborate on Marxism or on the colour of the moons’ rock. I am beyond making harsh judgements on the content of a man’s dialogical approach.
In closing, Please know that I still consider you to be the most magnificent of teachers in spite of all your many interpersonal indiscretions. I expect that this would be true in this, or in any other time.
In spite of all you have failed to understand, you had a very special way about you, my most beautiful teacher. You treated me like you knew something, even though you really had no way of knowing what that something could possibly be. (I see this now) Still, I give you this: You acted as though you knew that inside the grown up skin of me there lived a tiny, sacred little “her.” Well, you were right. There was, and is a tiny little “her.” I am that too.
…You spoke to her once, you know: the empoverished child in raggy clothes sitting at the back of the classroom. You spoke to her – the withdrawn child, the confused child, the child who couldn’t afford school photos (ever) – the child who sat all day dreaming (when others were hard at work) of nothing more than a pool of cool black molasses to wet her breakfast bread; of a single kiss, perhaps. You spoke to her once, you know.