Charcoal Tinted Glasses - A Short


A short story enticed by nostalgic memories of high-school days and present reflections of a life it led to.

.If I would ever go down in history for doing something so incredible, it would probably be for how difficult I was during my time in school. I was a menace, not with spiky hair like Dennis, or the chaotic ones in Dr. Seuss' stories. But somewhat closer to Dahl's Matilda but without the magic. At least not a lot of or any magic she had, but I was small when I wasn't. I had the sort of magic where you were everywhere, you knew everyone, and you were loud. The magic of being a contradiction, I was careless but attentive, tiny but heavy, and often annoying but loved. 

I had fights and disruptions in the class, which I was chastised for. As a matter of fact, I was punished so much that my mom had to get new uniform trousers every other month, and in 30 days or less, I'd have knelt so much in them that they would be discolored and full of holes again, and that would be it for the dose of crazy I give my mom every other month. And it was weird because that was the best the teachers could ever do to me, they wouldn't hit me because I was fairly fragile and younger-looking than the other kids. I'd call another kid a bad name, or maybe throw a spitball or two, and the teacher would come rushing at me, fists tightened and teeth clenching. Looming closer and closer to my desk, they would begin to gradually deteriorate and weaken. My panic-stricken baby-face would have been too much for them. They would eventually yell at me for a minute or two, before having me kneel. If that didn't stop me, they'd go to their last resort and place a pen between my fingers and just hold my small hand together until tears poured from my eyes. 

I was a likable small devil though. Probably because I had no trouble answering questions and finishing my assignments. But I'd get so bored in class just sitting and staring at the teacher that a million ideas would come at me. Ideas that would feel so transient that I would have had to act on them right then and there. 

Most of my troubles were with the misters. If it had been a miss, I would have usually paid more attention. I would do my best to be all witty and cute. I wasn't perfect, and I was often distracted, so I'd be as much trouble to them too, even when I shouldn't have been. When they saw me acting out, they'd smile or wink at me, and slowly come to my desk, and pinch or nip at my cheeks. I would get too into it that I'd start to smile back. The games they played with my cheeks only grew worse, they'd pull their arms up and I'd have to straighten up. All while smiling and holding back tears from the pain in my cheeks. When they finally let go, all the pain would ease, and my face would retreat to how it was. They'd usually feel bad and I'd get a kiss on the forehead or on my red swollen cheeks, sometimes both. I'd behave after that. And they'd assume it was because they hurt me, but how could I move after having been bewildered from the kiss. I'd sit smiling and baby-eyed, fantasizing about the little man I had become. It made me popular too because I was the only one who got those - a benefit of being a late bloomer. 

Most of the English teachers I've had were women and that may be why I'm better in English than in any other subject. I don't know why God said they shouldn't teach, but if I had women teachers for all my classes, I'd probably be somewhere else right now, somewhere better. Maybe not better, but I'd know more about a lot of things. I'm not sure.

As soon as some of the teachers left, we would make an almost Shakespearian play of them, acting out their different quirks and habits. If you made a really funny one you'd be asked to do it repeatedly for days and even years to come. To this day, my friends and I still make fun of most of the teachers who had taught us during our elementary years. Mike, a lifelong friend of mine, would have his hands turned inward close to his chest and walk with a bounce while he stuttered to say a word. "Mr. Hailu! Our Grade 6 Math teacher!", one of my friends would yell laughing, almost falling from his stool. And then it would be someone else's turn to make fun of some other teacher. All of us huddled and drunk in bars, doing exactly what we did, decades ago. It would feel as though nothing had changed. We would relive those school days until empty feelings turned to empty bottles. And tingling nostalgia turned to tingling alcohol. 

One thing I'd most hear after a mess up is that I would need to learn something from it. But learning is hard, Yes! I finally said it. These people on YouTube will drive you crazy trying to make you believe that it is fun and easy. But no! It's so hard. It's a whole rollercoaster of emotions, where you feel confident first and then you'd have your pride slowly broken down and then it'd be your soul's turn. If you've ever known anyone that's ever learnt of something, they're humble and pretty cool about it. They'd never tell you that it was easy, and they'd never tell you that they were done. 

So that's what I'll tell you, I'm not done messing up my life so maybe I'm not learning anything yet. I don't think I will ever get there though. It drives me crazy sometimes and I think that all I did was establish myself in most people's childhood school memories as the guy who did that or this. It's not much but I remember my mom and dad telling me about their own school deviants. I will be remembered in people's homes when they're having dinner or during a quarrel with their kids. They'd tell their children that I didn't get anywhere while honestly we both aren't where we want to be. But if there ever was something I could tell you from whatever I went through then, it's that older women are always much sexier. 

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