The child sat motionless in the chair, behind the desk. It was their typical seat, third row back, toward the right. The lesson had been, also typically, a little unruly, the teacher sighing as yet another class was not quite in her control. It always felt, still, a little haphazard, she was clinging on by her fingertips. The target knowledge always felt undelivered.
In the noise, chaos, and desperate attempts to fulfil a role just out of her reach, she barely noticed him. A quiet student was, to be honest, a relief. It was not a pupil she saw there, rather a hole that didn’t need filling, didn’t need her attention.
So week after week he sat, motionless. Not studious, but apparently attentive. Then around half way through her second year with this class, he continued this motionless state after the bell had gone, along with it his classmates in a untidy and uncontrolled exit.
She looked up and began to call his name, and realised she couldn’t remember it. “I am”, she thought, depressingly, “a failing teacher.”
A quick glance in her book and the name came back to her. Still he didn’t respond. She approached him. He was dead.
The subsequent investigations, she carried out, into his class-mates suggested to one and all that she, herself, was in fact was guilty. She was tried and went down, finally free from the tyranny of her own failing classroom.
It was many many, years later, she was still doing time, that it was discovered, this special form of suicide. His hidden writings, found when his parents finally gave up the misery of life without an only child, and the house was sold. The teacher was presumed guilty, but in fact he had chosen to bore himself to death. He finally achieved this difficult endeavour in one of her – oh so very, very, dull – lessons.
Yet now she is presumed innocent, perhaps.
Today I wrote between 13:00 and 13:10. I was prompted by an idea here.
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