Monday, February 14, 2011

Blogfest Love at First Sight ~ NEWBIE Style

What am I reading now?  Persuasion (Jane Austen)
Annnd. . . what do I think of it so far?  Mmm--can't think of a better read for kicking off Valentine's Day!
          Captain Wentworth's letter to Anne: I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own, than when you almost broke it eight years and a half ago. . . You  do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating in F.W.

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Love at first sight? I wouldn't call it that, but Sophie did make a lasting impression. You might want to read the blurb at the bottom of this page to get the gist of what the story NEWBIE is about. This excerpt is from Sophie's first day as a first grade teacher. Things didn't go really well for her. . .then she met Liam. . .and things got worse.

           “Shaunee, did Jacquie go to the bathroom?” Shaunee just shakes her head and continues writing her name on her paper. “Has anyone seen Jacquie?” No one looks up. My face, neck and chest prickle with panic. I can feel the blood in my head coursing faster. I don’t think my college classes covered this.
            Ellie raises her hand, “Teacher, don’t you think you should call the office now? They need to know you lost Jacquie.”
            My heart is racing. I really did. I lost someone. After three deep breaths I call the office to explain the problem to the secretary, Mrs. Johnson. Even after this confession my panic doesn’t ease. In fact, it seems even more real—she’s lost and I’m to blame.
            “Okay, Sophie. Thanks for letting me know. I’ll get back to you.” Mrs. Johnson hangs up before I can add to the conversation, apologize or plead for amnesty, and I can’t help but think that she seems oddly unconcerned. I wonder if she understood?
            What do I do now? I’m just supposed to go on, teaching? My stomach is clenched as if gripped by a tight fist—like when you're at the top of the Towering Death Drop in an amusement park, and it suddenly falls. You’re scared and sick and filled with regret. Yeah, it’s just like that.
            I should have known Jacquie was gone; it was too quiet and peaceful. How can I keep teaching when Jacquie is lost? I’m sure Jacquie’s mom is terrified. How could anyone trust me again with their child? I failed my very first day. Not even a day. Three hours. This is why I should be a real estate agent—you can’t lose people, just deals.
            I teach the next lesson but glance back and forth from the class to the door, hoping for Jacquie to enter. When anything outside the window moves, I look to see if Jacquie is out there.
            A few minutes later Mrs. Johnson calls. “Sophie, Jacquie went home for lunch. She’ll come again tomorrow. Her mom is explaining to her that in first grade you stay all day.”
            “She went home? She’s home? Safe?”
            “Yes, she is fine. Bye.”
            Note to self—count students after recess and lunch.
            By the end of the day, I’m trying to get the students to call me Miss Sophie, but that is going about as well as Miss Kanakaredes. Ellie stops at the door as she leaves the room. “Teacher, actually, we are just going to call you Teacher. Okay?”
            I turn off the lights, kick off my shoes and lay on the couch in the book nook. If I quit now—then what? I’m obviously not suited to this. I didn’t even notice a student was missing! I can’t really quit though—I’m stuck.
            After a few minutes the lights flick on, and I peep over the back of the sofa to see Mr. Chavez, the principal, in the doorway. I right myself as he walks across the room. “Hi.”
            “Coming to see how you feel your first day went.”
            Terrible. Children sucked on markers. I ate fast enough to have hiccups for the next half hour. I lost a person. “It was fine. Um, except for the Jacquie bit, did you hear?”
            “Ellie mentioned that, and Mrs. Johnson filled me in as well. You know we lose one almost every year. They’re used to going home at lunch during kindergarten. Pretty scary. Sorry it happened in your class. You okay then?”
            “Yeah, okay after Mrs. Johnson called back. I’ll count them from now on.”
            “Good first day. You’ll learn something every day.” Then he turns back into the hallway.
            I run across the hall to Beth’s room and see her on a group of desks hanging the art projects from the ceiling over each child’s seat. There is a paperclip on the string that is suspended from the ceiling tile. Huh, cute. I could do that. “Come talk to me before you leave, ‘kay?” I ask.
            Mrs. Hays steps in the threshold as I stand on desks to hang the art in my own room. “How was everything?” she asks.
            “Fine.” As far as you’re concerned.
            “Oh, I’m glad to hear that. It must have been a rumor that you lost a child today. It’s a relief to know that our neighborhood children are in the professional and capable hands of someone who accepts her role of teacher as a moral responsibility. Bye now.” Just leave already. Her hand flicks over her shoulder and she leaves as quickly as she darkened the door. What is her problem?
            Just as I’m hanging the art pictures above the last row of desks, a bee practically flies up my nose. I panic, my head snaps backward with my arms flailing. I feel my heel slip off the edge of the desk. Overcorrecting doesn’t help much as I thrust my head and chest forward, but gravity and momentum are already winning.
            It isn’t at all like slow motion but I am acutely aware of every movement my body makes. I land squarely on my tailbone, no damage but it really hurts. Just rub it out. Moving slowly I try to shift down the hemline of my skirt which is somewhere near the top of my thighs. The slit has ripped a couple of inches higher.
            As I’m pulling my skirt around to get a better look he clears his throat. Of course someone saw. I look up to see him walking toward me. . . and he’s hot.
            “I was at your door. You fell? Are you alright?” Since instead of answering I’m just staring at his sandy hair and green eyes, he continues, “Beth asked me to drop these off.” He hands me a stack of flyers. “Are you all right?”
            “All right, sure, all right. Um, hi, I’m Sophie. It was a bee,” I say pointing toward the ceiling.
            “Okay. I’m Liam. Be careful up there.”
            “Right, thanks,” I mumble as he heads back out the door. Don’t check him out. He’s probably someone’s dad from Beth’s class. I do anyway. Confirmed, ‘hot-dad’.


Jordan McCollum said...

LOL, what a fun scene! I like that we get to see her whole emotional set, and I like "hot-dad."

Thanks for participating!

Gail said...

I really want to know what happenes. Is he someones dad? Where can I find your book?

Angie said...

LOL. Great scene. Poor thing. I'd die of embarrassment.

Anonymous said...

Nice to meet you on this blogfest, Canda.

As a retired Grade 1-2 teacher I could relate instantly! LOL. So many insecurities on the first day. I love the encounter between Liam and Sophie. That's definitely one of life's embarrassing moments with potential! :)

Carol Garvin

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

cute! reminds me of when I'd substitute teach. yikes!

RaShelle said...

Those dang bees. Such troublemakers. LOL. Very funny. =D

Rebecca said...

I like this! Too funny!

Joyce DiPastena said...

Great, wonderfully awkward first meet! Loved the part about her "losing" a student, too. Very funny!

Rebecca Shelley said...

Lost a child. Great conflict. Love how Liam shows up just in time to see her fall. Wonderful scene.

C. K. Bryant said...

ROFL! I love this. Very nice. Thanks for sharing with us.

Debbie Davis said...

Canda, this is such a great scene! I love it. You did a great job of it, and I love the whole teacher angle, and of course the hot dad... hopefully just a hot guy, right? thanks for sharing this fun scene!

kbrebes said...

Cute, Canda!

Marsha Ward said...

Oh ho! Hot-dad, huh? Cute and funny and embarrassing!

Robbin said...

Love it, Canda! So glad I got to have a continuim of what I read before :) So funny :) I'd be dying!
And "Persuasion" is my all time favorite romance book--so powerful.