I was sat in my art class, nattering away to my best friend Eva. We weren’t doing work, as usual. I never had imagined that today would be the day where it all changed. Forever.
Although I liked art, kind of, I refused to limit myself by cramming work into the constricted hour which we were given and therefore, I did nothing. There was also the added factor that I was lost without a piece of tracing paper from which to copy my work. I couldn’t let anyone else know that though, could I.
Eva was my sidekick in art lessons, or rather I was hers, but don’t get me wrong though, she did actually do some work in the lesson. I can’t say however that it was massively amazing; in fact it was nothing of the sort. Eva’s inabilities annoyed our teacher just as much as the lack of work I produced during lesson time. She thought we were troublemakers and so Eva and I generally spent each lesson caught up in our own little world, not being worth the bother of the teacher to even try and get us to work efficiently.
Despite my complete disregard for lesson etiquette, I wasn’t actually someone that got into trouble. In fact, even the thought of it made me want to be sick. As soon as I saw our teacher move towards our section of the classroom, I always tried to make out like I was doing something productive. Sometimes this failed and she figured out my deception, but I was always able to conjure up a good enough excuse to get me out of any real trouble.
My art teacher, Miss Cannon, wasn’t like your typical art teacher, but then again she was. She had curly hair which sprung from side to side when she was trying to work out which of her ears was best to use when she eavesdropped on everyone’s conversation. She wore baggy clothes which we could never decide between being from a charity shop or one of those posh shops which just had no clue about up to date fashion sense. She also, as Eva once described after one particularly tumultuous lesson, needed a shave. But it wasn’t her disproportionate facial hair that made us dislike her.
Cannonball, as we called her, was obsessively paranoid constantly that Eva and I were talking about her. I remember one day, Eva wasn’t even at school and she accused me of talking about her. At the time, I remember physically moving my head, to look around my surrounding areas. No one was near me, it’s not that I don’t have friends; it’s just that my art class was full of people who took the lesson far too seriously. I looked her in the eye, slightly bemused by the allegation and admitted that I had been talking about her, with my imaginary friend; I think I even threw in the name Stella for good measure. She looked back at me, like I had just slapped her in the face, something which to be honest, I would have quite happily paid someone an excessive amount to do. I don’t think she had anything to say to me, which quite frankly was a regular occurrence, and then she walked away.
At the time I wanted to think that she was paranoid about everyone, or at least paranoid about the girls. Maybe she had bad experiences from high school and didn’t trust girls. But she never gave anyone else the grief that she gave me, not even Eva. I mean, granted we did talk about her, and generally it was in quite a nasty manner, but we were never stupid enough to do it in class. No matter what she wanted and had forced herself to believe.
My head of year once said the most hilarious thing he ever heard from a student was from me on a parents evening. My mum and I were on our way to see Miss Cannon, I stopped just short of her table and told my mum that she needed to remember that no matter what was about to happen, I was her child and that she loved me. Granted it’s not the most hilarious things ever, but obviously my head of year didn’t get out much.
Eva had been to the parents evening the day before with her own mum and they had both been given an earful about Eva’s behaviour. I felt that my behaviour was most probably worse and so I was preparing myself for the backlash which I thought and knew was no doubt coming. But it never came. She gave good feedback and remarked that I was a pleasure to have in class. She smiled, it was a creepy smile, but she had put the effort in at least. There was something weird going on.
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