I have a new target on my list.
Ever since Mrs. Kathlyn went away on maternity leave and was replaced by Mr. Paul, I couldn’t help but feel like he has some sort of vendetta against me. It all goes back to the the very first day we met; since then, he hasn’t been cutting me any slack. I tried to stay out of sight by sitting in the back of the class and abstaining from every discussion, but it seems as if he’s a telepathic freak who knew to call on me every single time I wasn’t listening or haven’t finished an assignment on time. At first, I tried convincing myself that he had nothing against me since he’s harsh on everyone; he’s one of those relentlessly aggressive teachers, constantly bringing everyone down as a way to push and craft them into becoming better students only to rip their self-esteem to shreds instead. However, I’m the only one he keeps on failing, and it’s so frustrating because homework has become a burden, a task I keep delaying until the early morning . I had developed a strong, uncontrollable aversion to doing it at the last second, and when I finally put myself in front of my pen and paper, I write almost mechanically, detached like my heart’s not in it; inevitably, that always played to my disadvantage because I end up unable to support any of my thoughts or arguments which results in more failing grades. So far, all of my graded papers have been filled with red remarks; most of them harsh and unneccessary.
My latest assignment was to write a report about either a special topic or a newsy event and compliment our work with ten to fifteen pictures photographed correctly. While everyone went for something political, like filming a protest happening in the area or some press conference, I decided to add some fun dynamic to the task and chose to cover the Hawkeyes basketball game at the university. A finished, ready-to-be-published report followed by at least three photos with photojournalism-style cutlines for critique were to be presented the day of our presentation. I had no problem with the assignment, but it was almost guaranteed it wouldn’t be appreciated. Paul has a thing for sensational and shocking subjects and I don’t which is primarily why I didn’t have high hopes and dreaded the idea of standing in front of an entire class and talking about the event.
The game against Michigan was tense and nerve-wracking. However, with two freshmen on the floor, Hawkeyes, refusing to give up, reeled off intense clutch plays during the waning moments of regulation and managed to win with a score of 83-79 during the overtime period. They’re next game is against Maryland.
Standing in front of the chalkboard, I broke down the event into great detail, showed my collection of photographs and pointed out the three chosen ones. As expected, everyone was falling asleep as I presented and read the article I wrote, and Paul thought it would be funny to mess with me in front of the entire class. He expressed how poorly my subject was received, stating that it offered nothing new nor interesting. I knew that, but I personally have no interest in politics or social issues, and no tragedy had happened in the last few weeks worth covering, so the number of topics was clearly depleted. Paul’s continuous attempts in bringing me down and making me feel worthless caused me to go hysterical as I swallowed his insults. Images sprang to my mind of both of my hands firmly wrapped around his neck, my probing eyes looking right through his as I unremittingly watched life slipping away from him. My eyes flashed with rage as I shivered almost hysterically, and I was so close to losing my temper; I imagined myself screaming at him from the very top of my lungs, walking out the door and slamming the door shut violently behind me. But I didn’t. I’ve always perceived being calm as a sign of weakness, but I’ve grown to think otherwise. Talking back at him, even if it was in my defense, was absolutely unnecessary. He was going to win the battle no matter what, and I wasn’t going to allow myself to further my humiliation. At the end of the session, he asked to see me privately. He dismissed the whole class and insisted I stayed to talk to him. He described with great disdain the way I was looking at him. I told him I didn’t know what he was talking about, that I didn’t do anything wrong, and he disregarded my response. After our brief conversation, I grabbed my backpack and headed towards the door; I was struggling to walk out quietly, but my mind urged me to stop and say something about the typo on the chalkboard. The thing that set Paul off the most was being corrected. Being a distinguished journalist, he’s earned a reputation as being both impactful and purposeful, his writing style known for its expository and persuasive style that often involved a lot of cynicism and wittiness. Although he didn’t respond to that, I knew my passive aggressive comment immediately pissed him off.
The next day, I logged into my college profile to check my grades and realized he had deliberately failed me again, giving me the worst grade yet (39/100) with zero participating points. My face turned red as I gathered the strength to keep my anger trapped inside me, my oncoming nervous breakdown only a few seconds away. I was interrupted by Heather, though. I regained composure and tried not to be bitchy to her although all I wanted was to violently smack her against the head with a heavy object. She wanted me to come over to her place and start working on the narrative or her book which I decided I didn’t want to do. I impulsively grabbed the jar containing my brown recluse, put it inside my backpack and left the apartment.
Pretending I was so invested in working on her book wasn’t an easy task; it was extremely difficult and unnerving for me to lie and help change the facts of what really happened and come up with a believable alternative series of chronological events that led to her overcoming her captor and escaping successfully. With every detail we changed, every piece of information we altered, her version of the truth was coming together almost impeccably while I slowly faded away behind her words. Through me she managed to capture and communicate the intricacies of how she felt in those moments and how hard it was to intuit her way out of James’ macabre and warped world. After five dreadful hours of being in her company, I excused myself and told her I had to leave; she thought we’d continue some other time, but that wasn’t going to happen.
I walked outside her apartment building and monitored her activity through her windows and noticed she was still in her living room. I used the fire escape to sneak into her bedroom and released the arachnid on her bed before getting back out and down to the street. I crossed over to the other side where I had a better view of the interior and watched her move around her apartment for a bit before shutting down the lights and going back to her bedroom. A few minutes later, I heard a horrifying scream.
Survive that, bitch!