Thursday, April 08, 2004

Love's Labour's Lost

Here we are, enjoying the evening and eating by the newly opened lagoon when I chance upon a scene that seemed straight out of the pages of the diary of the eleven year old me. I'm standing in queue to buy beef noodles and I see this lady that reminds me of a music teacher from primary school. She had the same disgruntled mouth, big hair and a face full of make up that just looked like it grew thinker over the years.

Anyway, I didn't think it was her because she was kind of short. So I go on daydreaming while the queue moves at snail's pace to the front. Then I look up and realise that hey! There's another teacher I recognise from primary school. I realise with a start that it is indeed that music teacher I remember who is in front of me and this man who was the Sports Secretary is coming up to stand next to her in the line!

At 11, my entire class used to speculate that these two were having an affair. We would be in the middle of a class and he would pop round and talk to her. Of course, being eleven, that was enough to cause us to be suitably scandalised and declare to anyone who would listen that they were having an affair.

Under no circumstance did I ever imagine that my 11 year old self was right! Of course, there will be those who will just say they are just friends. Friends do not rub legs or whisper into one another's ears!

So, the first thing I do is to message my oldest friend who was in primary school with me to tell that that our speculations at eleven turned out to be surprisingly accurate and astute. She cracks up so much about it, I swear I could hear it through the message.

Daniel came up with a list of reasons why they were together. Maybe they were widowed, maybe they were divorced, maybe they were just there as old colleagues catching up and the knee thing was an accident.

Initially, I was just stunned. I kept looking at the ground hoping desperately that he doesn't spot me (by this time, he had taken over the queue from her and sent her in search of a table-The gentlemanly thing to do) since I'm standing just behind him and I used to be his darling student because I took part in all the sports events he wanted the school to enter. It wasn't that I was embarrassed to see him, I didn't want him to be embarrassed to be caught out by an ex student and I didn't want to have to be that awkward ex student who had to pretend to be clueless about what I had just seen.

But now that I've had some time to mull over it, it is quite sweet. Yeah, it's not the thing to do, especially if Dan is wrong and they ARE really having an affair. But for it to have lasted these 17 years and possibly some time before that, it must be quite something. Strange that some affairs last longer than some marriages.

It could well be one of those stories you read about in like READERS DIGEST or something, where they only marry in their twilight years. Of course, the sordid affair years are quietly swept under the rug. I mean, from the little I saw, he adores her (why, is another story, seeing that she was a horrid person. But then again, we were 11 and possibly horrid brats!) and that's nice, whatever age it is. And at their age, you know it has little to do with sex. If it actually does, I don't want to know anything about it, at all.

So yes, my primary school teachers are having an affair. They can't be married to one another because they were known by different surnames in school. I guess there's still that little student in me. We, as teachers, constantly lament that our kids don't think and cannot imagine that we possess the ability to have interesting lives outside school and we speak their lingo and know what's hip in their terms. And here I am, shocked to find that two teachers who taught me, are actually still together after all this time. I have taken the role of my students. It's not so much because I had it drilled in me that teachers had to be good and moral adults to set an example for us but that I just never quite thought that they were capable of it. I mean, I was faced with the harsh reality of the fact that people did have affairs when I was eleven but I guess I never thought that they had it in them. They were afterall teachers.

I think, no matter how old you are, your teachers will be your teachers and in your mind, they'll be nothing else but teachers. I guess I ought to be more understanding to students when they see me in town and their eyes bulge at the number of shopping bags I'm heaving around. After all, they're just students and they don't know better.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 15:39

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