Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Long Hallway

The Flare.
The scariest principal in the History of Ever.

I don’t even know if they have a detention system at my school.  If you get in trouble, the teachers just tell you to "go to Ms. O'Flaherty's office".  Known for her strict expectations, The Flare is a punishment in itself.

Then why am I walking down the long hallway to her office?

Let me explain the hallway.  The hallway with her door at the end is architecturally structured to seem endless, like some sick optical illusion.  It's like something out of Alice in Wonderland.  It's like the farther you go into the hallway, the longer it gets, until you can turn around and not see where you came from.

As I am walking down the hall, with my heart in my throat, I am thinking through the last week, wondering what I could've done wrong.  What could possibly merit a trip to The Flare's office?  I don't know!

All I know is that as I am opening the door to her office, she leaps up from her desk, and runs at me.

Wait, back up.

Let's go back a couple hours, to the night before.  It was the National Junior Honors Society induction ceremony.  I was amazed that I had even gotten in, with my Biology grades.  But I had, and I was sitting between Lauren and Olivia, listening to someone give a speech.  We had been given assigned seats ahead of time, and I was exactly where I needed to be.  (We would all exit our rows in order, to receive our certificates.)  I had just gotten a new haircut and was wearing high heels.  Everything was perfect.

Until The Flare started calling names to receive certificates.

The Flare stood in front of all the students and some parents, reading off of a list of new NJHS members.  She called Jean.  She called Nancy.  She called Ryan.  Then she called Lauren.

I was next!

I braced myself.

I smiled.

But she called Olivia.

Then Will.

Then Carter.

Now, I don't know what happened, exactly.  All I know is how awkward I felt standing there, wondering if I had even been in NJHS at all.  Standing there, everyone knew that there was a mistake.  Well, everyone but The Flare, who kept reading her list.  Parents, friends, students I had never even met, stared at me with questioning eyes.  I nervously laughed, held up my palms, and mouthed "I don't know."

Please don't cry, please don't cry, please don't cry...

And I didn't.  Because within five minutes, five long minutes, after everyone had been called and we were about to start another round of speeches, my English teacher came to my aid by running up to The Flare and whispering something in her ear, pointing at me.  She looked at me, smiled, and called my name.  She handed me my certificate and shook my hand.

And the parents applauded!

And my friends applauded!

And the students I had never even met applauded!

The way my dad saw it, I "got the most applause out of anybody."

So back to present time.

The next morning, I am walking, palms sweating, heart pounding, to The Flare's office.  I open her door, she sees me, jumps up from her desk, and runs at me.

And she hugs me.


"I am so sorry!" she exclaims in her heavy Irish accent.  "I forgot you!  It was a complete accident, I was caught up in the moment, I was so nervous!"

I tell her not to worry about it, it was all fine.

But I learned something important that day, something that I will be able to use for the rest of my years in high school: The Flare is not as bad as people say.

Yes, she's tough.

But she's fair.

Teacher's coming, so I'm folding the note up.  Please pass it on!
Grace Kent

1 comment:

  1. You're very clever and an excellent writer! I'll definately check back!