She Couldn't Have

February 2, 2011
By , Rochester, MI
Sometimes I look up at the family portrait above the fire place and consider tearing it down. It reminds me of different times. Before it all happened and everything changed. Other times I want to kneel in front of it and weep. I miss family vacations. I miss when I could walk into school and not get stares from all of the other students. I miss the thought of having a perfect life. But more than anything, I miss the way things were.
My hand reached the door knob like a magnet. I pressed my body to the cold metal of the door, pushing hard. The door was always a little stuck in the winter. I stumbled into my warm house as I always did, greeted by the familiar sight of the forayer. The walls were deep red and a crystal chandelier hung from the ceiling. The curved stair way and antique chair beside it stood properly in their places while I hung my backpack and ski jacket up on a wired coat rack.
I walked through the archway that separated the front rooms from those in the back to find something was wrong. My dad sat on the cherry coffee table, his hand on his forehead covering much of his face. I stopped in my tracks, a strange tingling sensation flying through my blood stream. Something wasn’t right.
“Dad! What’s wrong?” I sputtered. He moved his hand revealing his face. His graying hair was sweaty and stuck to his glistening forehead. His skin was red and his cheeks were shiny from tears. His chapped lips formed a frown that seemed hard as a rock. The eyes are what scared me the most. Pools of tears filled them and the usual bright blue had taken a gray tone. I braced myself for his reply.
“You mother. That’s what wrong Sabella!” He snapped at me. “She’s been arrested!”
“What! Arrested! What did she do?” I threw my hands through the air. How could my mom be arrested? What had she ever done? As far as I’d known the only time she’d even had conversation with a cop was when she got pulled over for going five miles over the speed limit in our sub division.
“Criminal Sexual Conduct with a student of hers,” Dad tried to speak but his voice came out barley a whisper. I could feel my eyes widen and it seemed like my stomach had dropped out. My heart was pounding so hard it nearly broke through my skin. Tears started forming in my eyes. I felt like someone had just stabbed me.
Mom was a special education teacher at Cloverfield High, my high school. She taught math for every grade level, including my own. No one ever gave me any grief about my mom working there because she was one of the best teachers in the building. She was the varsity volleyball coach and put aside a thousand dollars each year for all of her classes to celebrate with food if the class’ overall test grades were higher than a B+ average. I just didn’t understand how anything like this could have happened.
“No! She- she just couldn’t have! Wh-“I whimpered. My lips trembled and my knees grew weak. I leaned up against a nearby wall for support but ended up sliding down it to the ground. I pulled my knees up to my chest and put my face on top of them. Everything had just slipped away.
I tried not to think about her, but she kept floating back into my mind. Her soft, tan face, her curly deep brown hair, her sparkling brown eyes; they all came creeping back in. My cries became violent and hurt my chest and ribs. How on earth could this actually be happening?

The next thought that crossed my mind made matters worse. School. I had friends there, but how many friends would I have when I went back the next day? Would word have gotten out? Would Mom be suspended from work so it was obvious that something was going on? Would I be mocked or alienated for the rest of my classmates?

I shivered, too scared to think about tomorrow. Watching my feet, I shuffled into my bedroom. The hot pink and construction cone orange walls seemed too cheery and bright for such an awful day. I looked at my unmade bed and didn’t second guess myself. I didn’t bother changing, but instead curled up into a feeble ball and fell asleep in my skinny jeans.

By the time I woke, it was 4 a.m. in the morning. I could see through the crack in my blinds that big fluffy snowflakes were dancing down from the sky. It was to be expected for Wisconsin in January. At that moment, I thought everything was usual and perfect. I figured it’d be a normal day at school and at home. That was before my memories of the previous day came back into my mind.

Grabbing my netbook which always sat beside my bed, I quickly opened up the internet. My e-mail flashed with one new message sent from Cloverfield Community Schools. I immediately knew I had a snow day and that I wouldn’t have to go through the pain of school till next Monday.

I decided that it would be a good time to go down stairs and eat breakfast. I wasn’t ready to face my dad and older sister, Molly, yet. I slipped out my bedroom door and down the carpeted stairs. I walked very slowly, trying to hush the noise of my bare feet on the dark hardwood floors.

It was black downstairs, the only light coming from the street lights which was very dim. The lack of light didn’t bother me, as I’d lived in the same house my whole life and knew it by heart. I slowly turned on the kitchen light switch, somewhat hesitant to do so.

My mother’s face leapt of the wall. It was the family portrait we had taken four years ago when I had been in eighth grade. Her small brown eyes seemed to burn holes into me. Her freshly cut hair and bright red lip stick was too real to look at. She seemed like she was haunting me.

I shook my head and turned from the family portrait to the big screen TV that hung on the caramel colored walls. I grabbed the remote and turned it on. I routinely watched the news each morning. I punched in the numbers of the station and waited for it to appear.

A blond anchorwoman sat behind the news desk, her overdone makeup too bright and cheery for such a gloomy morning. Hundreds of school closings flashed across the bottom of the screen. Above it was a banner with the words “Teach Accused of Student Sex” across it.

“No!” I squeaked, turning the volume of the news station up.

“Yesterday, Lillian Jenkins of Cloverfield was arrested for criminal sexual conduct with a student. Jenkins, 41, is a special education teacher at Cloverfield High. She was said to have texted one of her 18 year old students. The two met up at the student’s home in Cloverfield and had sex. Jenkins was taken to the Cloverfield County Court where she has pled not guilty on third degree criminal sexual conduct with a student. She is now being held without bond in Cloverfield County Jail. If convicted, she will spend up to fifteen years in state prison,” the woman reported.

I knew my mom had just wrecked my life and there was no going back now.

Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

Site Feedback