Authur and Irene grew up together. They lived next door to each other. They went to the same school, ate the same nasty school lunch, attend the same classes, avoided each other at gym and walked home with a different group of friends.

His friends were all older than he was and he thought he was ‘special’. He thought he was smarter than anyone his age and was the class clown. No one could “diss” him better than she could but she never paid him any attention. His clothes were always fresh. He always had the newest Air Jordans and a matching cap.  By sixth grade, he was the talk of the neighborhood.

All the mothers wanted their children to stay away from him  and very concerned mothers who always warned their daughters of boys, warned them of him.

Authur cared a lot what people thought of him even though he pretended not too. There were times when he tried to fit in social groups of children his age but he already had a bad reputation and children (his age) were already frighten of him. Everybody but Irene.

Irene was his next door neighbor. She wasn’t the teacher’s pet until the sixth grade. She had met God and decided to change her life around. She was a friend of Authur until the six grade and by the seventh grade they avoided eye contact. She prayed for him up until the time she moved away. Then she forgot about him.

He dropped out of high school. She went to college.

They forgot about one another, sometimes. One day their paths crossed.

Irene taught in a school on the other side of town where his sister lived with her family. His sister’s children were Irene’s students and one day, their grandmother came to pick them up.

Hi Irene! I’m Authur’s mom, don’t you remember me?

(In the back of her head, she thought, oh my, she have grown to be a wonderful looking lady. I wish my son was here.)

Yes! I do. How are you? How’s the family?

(In the back of her head, Irene thought, oh my, the last person I want to see is her good for nobody son! He was cute but had no brains. Well, I am in an relationship anyway. Thank God for my Freddy.)

Word got around to Authur, who was now a street cleaner, that Irene now taught his nieces and nephews.

Authur pretended not to care that Irene was now a teacher. He tried to convince himself that he was doing good.

At least I got a job where I can come and do as I please. All, I have to do is make sure the sidewalk is clean.

I wonder what she looks like.

Aww, she probably the same. Plain and boring. Oh, yeah, and she did become religious by the end of middle school. The last thing I want to deal with is God.

I still can’t stand her. I don’t know why my mom keeps telling me about her. She’s so…she probably thinks she is all of that. There are millions of teachers in the world anyway. Anybody can be a  teacher. I didn’t become one becuase I don’t want to become one.

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