0 for 5

“You have GOT to be kidding me,” I said to Michelle as we walked to our cars together.

My friend Michelle had taken a job teaching fourth grade at our school after her broken engagement last summer.  She was an amazing teacher who didn’t seem to be having as much difficulty as I had adjusting to teaching in the urban environment.  In our school, teaching fourth and fifth graders was the toughest job; so many of them had such difficult lives that having teachers correct their behavior or tell them that they needed to do their homework was not a big deal to them.  But Michelle had quickly engaged with her students and they were all very loyal to her.

Michelle had teamed up with one of the other fourth grade teachers in the building and combined classes in much the same way my friend Becky and I had.  They actually had a double room with a moveable wall that had been removed, so that by this time in March, they just cotaught all of the time in the double classroom.  She was paired up with a teacher named Crystal, who was our age.

“Well, you can’t be that surprised.  You said that he had pretty much stopped calling a week or so ago.”

“No, that’s true.  It was clear that it wasn’t going to go much further than him coming over to my house once or twice a week,” I answered.  I’d been upset that my relationship with Paul, another teacher in our school, hadn’t progressed any further.  I loved talking with him and sharing stories and working with him at school; we seemed very compatible since we were both parents in our mid twenties, so we understood a lot of each others’ challenges.  But when I pushed him, he admitted to me that he wasn’t sure he was comfortable with our relationship .  He didn’t want me to ever come to his house, which he reasoned was simply because he lived in an unsafe neighborhood for a suburban girl like me.  He didn’t want me to meet his friends, because some of them were very against inter racial relationships, and he didn’t want me to be subjected to that.  He didn’t want to meet my friends because he was afraid he’d make them uncomfortable.   It had become clear that we weren’t going to go any further than where we are right now, and my harsh words on the topic had cooled everything off quite considerably.  “I guess when your only dates take place inside your house and you suddenly acquire a houseguest, that means the relationship is on hold.”

“Except for one thing.”  Michelle stopped with me as I opened the hatch on my car and put in my teaching bag.

“What do you mean?”

“Except he’s been seeing her for long enough to get her pregnant.”

My heart dropped like a stone.

Paul had not just started seeing another woman.  He had not just started seeing another woman who taught at our school.  He had not just chosen an African American woman over me, a pale Caucasian.  He had not only done all of those things, but it turned out he’d done all of those things weeks ago, and had been sleeping with this woman and myself at the same time.   And just to add to the mind blowing effect, it turned out that the woman who he’d done all of this had just peed on a stick at school today and saw two lines form a few minutes later.

I looked at Michelle, knowing it was all true but asking the question anyway.  “Are you sure?”

“Am I sure she’s pregnant?  Yes.   She’s been running to the bathroom for a week now and looks god awful.”

I gestured with my hands, unable to ask the next question.

“Am I sure it’s his?  Yes, he came to our classroom to pick her up today, with the biggest grin on his face.  A guy like him, he’s not going to be happy that she’s carrying someone else’s baby.”  Michelle knew everything, because the woman Paul had left me for was Crystal, Michelle’s teaching partner.

I leaned against my car and exhaled. “Well, let me think for a second.  That makes me 0 for 5 at this point.”

Michelle nodded.  “I’m sorry.”

“Me too,” I answered, turning to open my car door. “Me too.”

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