I Love HimThough I could go on writing forever, I won’t, so here’s the “short” version:
I met him when I was a sophomore in high school. He was my Accelerated English teacher. I remember walking into his classroom for the first time. The only name listed on my schedule was his last name. My English teachers for the three years previous to that one were always these older, blonde women. Imagine my surprise when I walked into the classroom to find that my new English teacher was this young-looking, brown-haired, blue-eyed man.
I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t find him attractive; for that alone, he already had my attention. Then as the year went on, I realized how much I really liked him. I thought he was a great teacher. He wasn’t dull; he knew how to keep our attention. He had enthusiasm. He was funny. He often treated us like equals; we had respect for him as our teacher, but he also had respect for us and would listen to our opinions even if he didn’t agree with them. He was great because he was amiable and easy to relate to. He really seemed to care, and he really seemed to make an effort to get to know his students…
…like me, for example. I’m the kind of student who always sits quietly and does as I’m told. Most teachers loved me for that reason. They would always say things like “She’s so sweet” or “I wish my whole class was like her.” I did appreciate those comments, but those teachers didn’t show much interest in me beyond my good behavior. It wasn’t until I was in his class that I realized how much I appreciated having a teacher that actually tried to talk to me.
And he wouldn’t just try to get me to speak up in class. We had lunch during his class, so he would try starting a conversation with me at lunch too. Sometimes if he ran into me in one of the halls, he would try to talk to me. And then there were the times when I would be around while he was talking to somebody else, and he would jokingly pick on me, usually explaining to the other person why I was such a horrible student. I never took offence though. In fact, by the second semester I was comfortable enough around him to actually respond to his jibes, often earning grins from both him and the people sitting around me.
The more I got to know him, the more I admired him. He wasn’t just a great teacher, he was a great person. All that care that he showed his students seemed to carry over into the other aspects of his life as well, and even though I’m quiet and he was pretty outspoken, we actually had common views on a lot of things. By the end of that year, he had become a primary source of inspiration to me.
I didn’t see him very much during my junior year. He was on the other side of the school, so I’d be lucky to see him once in one or two months. My mom taught a fourth grade class, though, and she had made a deal with him to send her student’s essays to him for his class to critique. That bought me an excuse to see him about four or five times that year since they would let me deliver the papers to each other. It was better than nothing.
I had a class near his during the first semester of my senior year, so I was able to talk to him every once in a while, though I wanted to talk to him more. But halfway through my senior year I decided to get my schedule changed. I knew that he was teaching debate, and even though I would not normally take that class, I wanted to take it just so I’d get to see him every other day.
I am so glad that I changed my schedule. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I knew that I had taken my time in his class for granted before, but I was prepared to enjoy my time spent in this class. I think that we got to know each other much better during that semester, and I’m really grateful to have had that opportunity.
That was also the semester that I told him that he was my favorite teacher. I remember one day I came to school early because I had to catch up on my work for a class. I noticed that he was in his room, so I stopped by. We started talking, but he had to go make some copies of some papers. He had been helping me with a project for school, so before he left I thanked him for his help. He shook my hand (something he did quite frequently), and told me that he was always glad to help. We both started to walk in opposite directions, but as I was walking I responded, “Well, you know that’s why you’re my favorite teacher, right?” I think I caught him off guard with that statement. He didn’t expect me to say that. I didn’t even expect me to say that; it just slipped out, not that I’m complaining. He seemed to pause for a few seconds before he responded with something along the lines of, “Well, to be anybody’s favorite teacher is an honor.” I tried to conceal my grin as I walked to class.
He became engaged to his long-time girlfriend the summer before my junior year, and they married the summer after. They currently don’t have any children, though I think he would probably be a great father. In any case, if he’s happy, then I’m happy. I do love him, more than I ever expected to love one of my teachers, but like a friend more than anything else. I won’t let myself entertain any other fantasies, and I’m not unrealistic. I want him in my life, regardless of what role he plays in it, and I feel very lucky being able to say that he has been and still is a part of my life.
I don’t think a day passes by when he doesn’t enter my mind. In fact, for one of my classes last semester I had to write about the relationship between me and another person. I chose to write about the relationship between him and me; I’m not sure when I last enjoyed writing an essay so much. He also appears in my dreams sometimes. I almost always remember them when I wake up, and sometimes I’ll wake up smiling.
I’m very happy and feel very lucky to be able to say that we still keep in touch. After I graduated, he told me to keep in touch, and I have. Sometimes I even go visit him. In fact, I just saw him today. We haven’t talked face-to-face since October, and this is the longest I’ve gone without seeing him since I met him. That’s okay, though, because today was wonderful. I smile when I see him, but I love seeing him smile when he sees me. He always greets me so enthusiastically, and ever since I graduated he usually pulls me into a hug upon seeing me instead of just shaking my hand, but I won’t complain about that change! I was with him for about two hours today, and I had his full attention for most of it. I’ve had my share of awkward moments around him, but today most of the conversation was natural and casual, and I think we both really enjoyed it. Besides, he told me before I left that he was glad to see me, and he said that he was glad that I still thought enough about him to come visit. He pulled me into another hug before I left, and I whole-heartedly hugged back.
He has no idea just how much I love him. For him I have just enough nerve to hint at how much I care, and I think it amazes him every time because he can’t understand why I care about him so much. But I know he cares about me too, and when I think about the fact that we do still keep in touch, that he still is willing to show concern for me even though I’m not his student anymore and he’s not obligated to do anything for me, I have to admit that I’m amazed too.