From Mission: Mistaken Identity
Miss Wellington, can we have a debate?”
Sam smiled, as several of the other students groaned. She’d been teaching about the early beginnings of democracy in Ancient Greece.
“I think that is a wonderful idea, Sarah. Let’s make some plans during class tomorrow.”
The bell rang and quiet order of an orderly learning environment erupted into a chaotic scene of stuffing books in backpacks, chairs shoved into desks, and bodies cramming through the doorway.
A new group of students filled the recently vacated seats and it all began again.
Sam sighed as she dropped her binder crammed full of papers to grade in her bag. No matter how efficiently she used her free period, something always remained to take home. Between answering parent emails and prepping for the upcoming lessons, there weren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done.
The basketball drummed on the blacktop, as she made her way to her car. The students remaining after school until a parent got off work to pick them up alternated shouts of encouragement and putdowns as they played two on two. A few others meandered about, gaze glued to their cells, sharing a laugh at some video. No one looked up to see her passing.
Sam dumped her items in the backseat and plopped behind the wheel. Already 4:00 pm. Her cupboards were missing at least one ingredient from every dish she knew how to make. Go to the store now? The thought of grocery shopping after a long day of being with sixth graders made her groan. There’s always trail mix and ice cream—not a balance meal, but it had served in a pinch in the past.
She turned the key bringing her SUV to life. At least one of them had one. Earbud in her ear, she hit the speed dial for her favorite Chinese takeout and placed an order.
She picked up her to-go order with barely a thank you from the cashier. She’d been getting food here almost three years. The girl who had worked the counter in the beginning always smiled and greeted her. Asked how things were going. If she had a good class this year. The new young man, grunted more than talked. He told her the cost, charged her card, and handed it back with the food in quick order. No wasting time for chit-chat with him.
Her house was dark and quiet, as always. She sat the food containers on the counter, retrieved the mail, and locked the front door behind her before dishing up a plate. Plunking down on the couch, her school bag on one side, plate on her lap, and remote in hand, Sam settled down for a typical evening.
The rerun of a TV drama lit up her screen as she picked up her plate revealing the dried splotch of hot chocolate from this morning. She cringed at the memory of the man with gorgeous hazel eyes that she smashed into. She’d dumped the entire contents of her white hot chocolate all over him. His shirt and pants were left dripping because of her clumsiness. No amount of napkins had helped.
Sam sighed. Her plate half empty. She glanced out the sliding glass door beside her. A gentle breeze ruffled the grass. Time to mow—again. Ivy had overgrown the fence at the back of the property. Did anything interesting lay beyond that green barrier? Wasn’t life supposed to be more than this?