Sweet words ring from his throat when he speaks. His eyes light up when he talks about them. Their beautiful skin, their glowing eyes and their soft affection on the surroundings. They are his great interest, he spends every free moment on those creatures never knowing he is wrong. He probably thinks that he is on an adventure. A never-ending mission.
When he finally feels like he has said everything on his mind, he slowly moves back in his seat.
Even though I sit three seats behind him it doesn’t stop me from locking my gaze to his neck. I move my eyes just a little bit to find his chocolate-brown hairline. It isn’t just because his appearance makes me blush whenever he comes too close. No. It is simply that I feel like I know him, like we had once been closer than this.
I almost don’t realize that our English teacher is staring disappointedly at me from his desk. He clears his throat and sends a threatening glance in my direction. The classroom is in complete silence and suddenly the beautiful neck turns around and flashes two beautiful, dark, hazel-green eyes.
Mr. Haller raises an eyebrow at me, still waiting for me to excuse my behavior and the lack of interest. Like every normal teacher would, he says in an annoyed tone "is there a problem Miss Carver?"
But somehow, when he does it, it makes him look old so suddenly. His hair is almost gray and it’s getting obvious that he is past the 40’ties. The others start to turn their heads in my direction as I don’t say anything to make the situation better between me and Mr. Haller. I think he hates me.
I just sit there frozen, trying to say something, to come up with an excuse. But the words get stuck in my throat. The atmosphere screams of awkwardness and I swallow hard as my mind is panicking for a way to ease the situation.
Mr. Haller is that kind of person who expects you to be perfect even though he’s aware you’re not, that includes apologizing every time he can’t see himself as the problem. That kind that doesn’t tolerate mistakes and incidents and immediately gives you detention if you ask questions or don’t understand his teaching. I guess he sets a high standard. For himself as well. But he is also that kind that sits alone eating his lunch, in the corner of the parking lot in his little, bubble round car. For him loneliness is the price of perfection. I bet he thinks that no one is good enough for him. But I think he is lonely too, missing the closeness of a friend or just someone who cares.
As I again make eye-contact with Nate’s deep, green ones he forms the words with his lips, it’s okay.
There is a gentle expression on his face and I know he caught me staring right at him, but he doesn’t bother... instead he gives me a heart-wrenching smile, which flashes a perfect set of white teeth. Just for me…
I don’t think, I just move. I loudly close my English book, so loud that the orange colored walls echo in protest. I get up, swing the bag over my shoulder and as I pas Mr. Haller on the way out I make sure that our shoulders touch. Just the slightest bit is enough. No. It is not because I enjoy having physical contact with my teachers, especially not my teachers, but it’s kind of the only way I can use it against him later if necessary.
People like Mr. Haller don't really get to me at first. But every time I see him I feel sorry for him. His loneliness fills the air in an uncomfortable way. But then his arrogance hits me right in the face and reminds me that he chose to be miserable. That he isn’t the victim. And that there is nothing I can do to make it easier for anyone.
As I hurry out of the class I start to feel awkward. I feel too visible. I let my long bangs fall down to cover my face, though there is no one in the hallway. I tug the dark, gray cardigan tighter around my waist. I just want to disappear. I feel bad and the attention from a by-passing girl makes me want to hide even more, before she will notice my face heating up and my eyes growing itchier. I turn a corner and suddenly the bell rings. The high sound sends an electric wave through my body and my heart picks its pace. This isn't happening. No one can see me like this. I desperately search for somewhere to hide before people will fill the hallways. My eyes flicker, finding a closed door with no sign on it. The frame looks worn and used, and the little glass window is broken, halfway on the floor. But it’s my only shot and I’m not afraid. It looks dark and empty inside so I take my chance.