She read my entire college essay out loud for the class. I sat cringing in my seat, my face flushed, if not red. When she was done, she looked me square in the face.
"Nina Lastname, you can write, child. If your essay doesn't sound like this, I suggest you start over again."
It was the first time anyone publicly acknowledged my talent like that. This teacher made seniors of one of the toughest high schools in NY cower in fear.
"I will fail you on your final transcript for the college of your choice," her voice would echo into your heart as it beat in fear. BFF did not sleep in order to complete assignments. She was the only senior that ran to school, books on her back, looking like a freshman.
I smiled. I knew I had it in the bag. This teacher would tear your world apart if she had any inkling that you gave her any less than 110% to your work. She would rain random praise on you if she knew you did something well.
In a character essay, another student depicted her as an ogre. She gave her an A, stating it was vivid, imaginative, and well-constructed.
After, I read my poem at graduation, she looked me dead in the eyes. "Ms. XXX, I gave you a 93 in my class. You didn't even try. You will do great things if you leave Mr. Murren alone. You're too good for him. I look forward to your first book. I expect it to be dedicated to me, of course."
6 years later, Mr. Murren and I were engaged twice. The final straw came time and time again. There were other Murrens, 2 years in a school, I will be paying off for the next 10 yrs, no degree and no book. I don't even try to write properly in this space. My mind is so fried from day to day, I haven't written in 2009 yet.
She will be honored in 2 weeks at the school she taught at for 30 years and would love to see me.
Need I say more?
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