“Mr. Armstrong is, without a doubt, the coolest teacher ever.” Marcie stated over her school-board sponsored mac and cheese. Her friends Georgia, Jeremey and Donnie were seated around her, and she felt that this topic of study would surely make lunchtime go by faster.
“He teaches music, right?” Georgia questioned, taking Art as her elective.
“Yeah. He got hired last year, and he’s got the green hair.” Marcie replied.
“How did he even get hired with that color hair?” came Donnie’s gruff reply through meatloaf substitute
“What’s wrong with it?”
“It’s not a professional color.”
“You’re not a professional color!” Geogia retorted.
“Also, isn’t he blind?”
“Wow, Donnie. Anyone could have told you that. A white cane isn’t a fashion statement.”
“He dyes his hair green! It’s safe to assume he could be faking!”
“Why would he do that?” Marcie asked impatiently.
“Well, to get back to the main point of topic in this conversation; you were about to discuss who you thought he should ask out on staff.”
“We were, but I didn’t necessarily say they had to be on staff…”
“Wise up, Marcie. He’s a punk, not an idiot. He won’t date a minor.”
“I think he should date Miss Dubois.” Jeremey offered stoically.
“The French teacher?,” Donnie huffed, “ But she’s so…”
“…up your alley, Mr. Minor?” teased Marcie
“Stuck-up. She’s French, they all are.”
“You can leave the conversation if you have nothing positive to add, Donald.” By the way of muttering about ‘being realistic’, he remained quiet from that point forward.
“I think Miss Dubois is super pretty, but would she date someone like Mr. Armstrong. He seems so rough-looking. It’s against her aesthetics or something….” Marcie stated.
“No way. Mr. Armstrong is super down to earth. Always nice to us, gives people chances to really learn. And he is the sponsor for all the Special Ed students.”
“He’s the sponsor for the Students with Disabilities office. Shit, it’s 2016, get with the lingo.”
“Whatever, Donnie. Fuck.” Georgia moaned at his correction, “ Point is, she is always talking to him in the teacher’s lounge. When I go in there for my T.A. hours, I see them. She always talks to him first, and she blushes when he smiles.”
“I thought Ms. Flannery was into Mr. Armstrong too.”
“The librarian is already engaged.” Marcie stated with finality. All the others nodded.
“Window shopping is free.” chimed in Jeremy, who’d listened to most of the conversation without comment, “ I think y’all are on to something.”
“As do I,” came the familiar voice of the music teacher from above them. He indeed looked like a punk in grown-ups clothes, holding his lunch in one hand and his cane in the other. Aside from his jeans and button-down shirt (untucked) under a waistcoat, he wore Doc Marten boots and tucked his septum piercing into his nose during school hours. Anyone who saw him leaving campus would note that at the carpool loop (while waiting for his Uber), he would untuck it. Also apparent were other piercings that he must have kept at home.
“However, I hope you all will leave the speculations away from earshot of Miss Dubois. I don’t think she’d like it half as much as I would. See you in class.” He could perceptibly feel the chill down the students spines and the excited whispers about being found out by their study subject. Rex went up the stairs in the hall to the teacher’s lounge above. He could tell she was in there with him, but usually never addressed her first. He assumed that she preferred to initiate all contact. However, this was just too good to pass up.
“Miss. Dubois,” he stated to a mostly empty room, “there has been a funny sort of Valentine’s chatter in the cafeteria air.”