Teacher and former teacher viewings draw students and former students
to meet at the local funeral home, run by a graduate who married one,
and whose children attended the same school. They soulfully reminisce
about classes and principals, commenting on whatever-happened-to-him,
as they snake in line, pointing at photo collages and family mementos.
They introduce spouses, avoid looking toward the casket, and shake
hands of unknown relatives of the deceased. As they head to the door,
they nod, whispering plans to catch a drink at the bar across the street,
run by a classmate who married the cheerleader he dated in high school.
One former student, the one from the children’s home, would not attend.
Lacking credits to reach tenth grade, he dropped out and moved south.
He remembers that one teacher who believed, who helped him to learn,
and brought him cookies. For a few years, he called her randomly to brag
that he was in college, “doin’ real fine,” thanks to her. When he hung up,
he smoked a joint and returned to the campus dining hall to wash dishes.
© 2011 Kim King