I am not an aggressive person, nor am I prone to violence, nor do I yell. You can chalk it up to temperament or good breeding, but on the list of my dislikes – it all ranks pretty high.
This is a sidenote to explain that for many months now I’ve borne Simone’s pettiness with a sigh and a shrug. She arrives and, without greeting, proceeds to look me up and down with something of a sneer. Or she’ll comment on my shoes as if words fail her (“Oh my god! They’re so . . . so . . . “)
Today I suppose I was tired, and she’s leaving soon, and her children love me and I love them – that part never enters into it, not for any teacher worth a damn – so I looked at her without smiling, or nodding, or deflecting her comments. I was ready for a snide remark, ready to ask her exactly what she meant. She looked at me, and wilted, so much as a human female can wilt. “Hi, Lola,” she said weakly. “You look so nice today.” She took my hand. “Look at your beautiful nails.” I didn’t know what to say, said something about having a rather standard nail bed as far as such things go. She continued to converse politely, then as politely left.
I shook my head a little, like dispelling the after effects of smoke inhalation and looked at the director. “Did you see that?” I asked her. “What is with the parents?”
“Sometimes,” she sighed, “I think sometimes that the more you give them, the more they want. And it’s never enough for them no matter how much you give.”