The Way Out

Anita had started her teaching career as a naive 22 year old. She still remembers her first day: she stepped into the college quadrangle dressed in a pair of black trousers and a wrinkled blue shirt. She carried a shabby file and an oversized bag. She remembers nervously pushing her rectangular black frames above her nose, when some students mistook her for a geeky new student and tried to rag rag her. That was the first time she realized this wasn’t going to be easy.

Her classes were nothing like what she had expected. The students were rude, they didn’t respect her, and worst of all they didn’t want to learn. The initial few weeks were pure torture, till a senior professor showed her how to deal with the situation. Anita doesn’t know exactly when she got addicted to those pills, but they were the only way to get through the day. It began with just one to calm her down, then two to take her through all her classes, now she was on a packet a day. And while teaching had become more tolerable, she couldn’t afford such an expensive habit on a lousy junior college professor’s salary.

I can barely afford the coffee here, she thought as she wearily looked around the bohemian cafe. Soft red fabric fluttered every time the breeze hit the large windows, the ornate Buddha heads wore hookah smoke ringed halos and the coffee on the menu was more frill and less coffee. She took another bitter sip and looked towards the door and then to her watch. She was getting nervous. This is a bad idea, she thought, clutching the flimsy brown paper bag on her lap.

He finally sauntered in thirty minutes later, just as she was about to give up and leave. His hair was fashionably unkempt and his jeans, disturbing low. He gave her a crooked grin and slipped a stack of cash into her open bag as he passed her on his way to the counter. She was less smooth as she handed him the mid-term answer key on her way out. Each cluched on to their prizes; they were going to coast this term.

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