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Can't Stand

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Light was flickering in and out, in and out, as if hundreds of fireflies were dancing before her eyes. The voices hummed. They ebbed and flowed like the waves on a beach splashing then receding until there was nothing left. Her only thoughts were of her husband and boys. What were they doing now? Would they miss her?

She was numb.

Sitting for four hours straight in a teacher in-service that was not applicable to her situation at all was going to kill her.

“Did you hear that, Claire?” Mary’s voice cut through the fog.


“Did you hear what he said? That we have an hour for lunch and we’ll begin again at one o’clock?”

“Really?!” she tried not to squeal. She failed. “It’s just so boring and I keep thinking about Jamie and the boys and what they’re up to.”

“They went to the arboretum today, didn’t they?” Mary asked. “And that’s always been something that you and Fergus did together.”

“Yes. I love that Jamie does so much with them. I don’t even mind that it’s something we used to do. It’s just having my whole family out there with each other while I’m in here doing…well, you know.” She shrugged indicating that she was ready to move on from the topic.

“At least we won’t be bored tomorrow,” Mary rolled her eyes as she spoke.

“Oooh, first aid and CPR, great,” she replied in a tone that indicated it definitely anything but. “I would pay money to watch you do CPR tomorrow.” Claire burst into laughter as her petite friend looked down at her disproportionately large pregnant belly.

“Hopefully I’ll be the one who demonstrates how to put pressure on a head wound or how to stabilize an impaled object,” Mary retorted rolling her eyes again as her friend continued to laugh. “Just wait, Claire! Someday you’ll be in my shoes!”

“Maybe someday, but for now I’m just going to try to survive today’s session and whenever I begin to fall asleep, I’ll just think of you getting called upon tomorrow to demonstrate something inconvenient. C’mon, let’s go get lunch.”

“Ugh, I can’t stand. Help me up,” Mary extended one hand while the other dug into her lower back. “Where should we go for lunch?”

“Um, teriyaki, pho, or pizza maybe?” Claire paused. “No, not pizza. We have that fundraiser thing there in a couple of weeks.”

“Let’s have pho then. Alex doesn’t care for it so it’s the perfect chance to get it without him,” Mary giggled. Everyone knew she completely adored her husband, but the teachers at Anderson Pemberton Elementary were frequent customers at the small pho shop up the road and she had been missing it while on summer break. “Let’s see if Mrs. Graham wants us to bring anything back for her. Should we invite Joe too?”

Joe Abernathy was one of the new hires for the school year and was teaching kindergarten just like Mary. He was in the same building as Claire and Mary and since he hadn’t been at the school long, he hadn’t made many connections yet.

“Joe!” Claire called out to him without any further discussion.

He looked up from his papers that he was putting into a binder.

“We’re going out to lunch. Want to come along?” she invited.

“Love to!” he replied, warmly.

“What did you think of this morning’s session?” Claire asked him. “Did you glean anything useful?”

“I’ve gotta be honest. I zoned out about twenty minutes in when he started talking about differentiation, different modalities, and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I graduated already, I’ve taught for five years! I have no idea what he said after that because I was busy planning the first week,” he chuckled.

“I suppose I can’t ask you for notes then,” laughed Claire.

“You two are awful,” Mary chimed in. “Come on. Let’s get lunch so that we can get back in time for things to start again.”

The three of them enjoyed lunch together and returned in time to hear the second part of their training on…educational something.