I was bent picking up strewn toys when the phone rang. I rushed to get it for fear of the sound waking the kids from their nap. The number was unfamiliar. I said “Hello” tentatively. The voice on the other end was clear and measured. Just as I remembered from my school days. My English teacher and a person I had come to admire while in school was at the other end. “M.S” she said. I quite did not know how to react. What do you say to someone for whom you have a special place in your memories. Someone you have not met or talked to in decades.
The conversation flew naturally enough. Abrupt in places, punctuated with pauses and awkward laughs. As I put the phone down, I was already listing the questions I had missed and rueing the unpreparedness of it all. I should have started from the beginning I thought.
I do not do well with phone conversations. Writing seems natural. It permits me the time to think and array my thoughts in order. To reflect and re-order them for the best effect. So here goes.
To my teacher from the 80s and 90s. To the teacher who treated me as a friend. To a person who was the closest as a mentor. To the teacher with whom I felt I could discuss books and teenage gawkishness alike, I am thrilled to hear from you. I am aware we are not friends but I wish we could be.
I would love to show you the person I have become. The paths I have taken since school that have made me the person I am today. A person that owes a measure of gratitude to you for the vestiges of self-esteem that saw me through college and beyond. For reassuring me that I had a gift that I could cherish. That there was something unique about me and my natural aptitude for languages.
Today, I sit at my dining table pondering the vagaries of life. The twists of fate that has made our paths cross again. I hope I can express my gratitude in some tiny way. Till we meet or talk again, I want to tell you that you mean much. Thank you Ma’am.