Start your story with someone stepping outside their comfort zone.
Back to School
Veva wasn’t sure she wanted to do this but she had made the commitment and that was one thing she wasn’t going to shy away from. It had been three years since the accident, plenty of time she thought, to get over her fears. Standing in front of the doors her stomach ached, her head throbbed, and she wanted to run away screaming; but none of that would help, she was an adult, a grownup, a professional. She could do this. Maybe.
Veva sat on her bed looking at the contract she had agreed to sign. She knew she was a good teacher and had truly loved her job. She had given her resignation three years ago and never intended on coming back, especially the administration asking her to come back, but here it was, the proof that they wanted her back. She remembered her letter of resignation like she had just written it. Tears running down her face, like they were now, thinking about going back. It had been three years. Wasn’t that long enough?
Looking back was hard, maybe not as hard as looking forward, but the memories were so painful. Her son was only nineteen years old when he died. He had finally graduated from high school, had finally overcome all of those obstacles and for what? To show the world how smart he really was? Veva was proud of Joe, she had always been proud of him, even during the hard times. She tried not to think about them all but she felt it coming to her, like a wave, ready to spill over her.
Throughout her teaching career, Veva had struggled with Joe’s emotional issues. Not always in the best way, but the best way she knew how to. She didn’t get mad because he had so many issues, she just wondered where they came from. The kids in her classes were abused, neglected, and impoverished. They acted emotionally unstable because of the homes they came from. But her home was safe and good. Joe was safe and loved. What had happened? Now, it was too late to ask any of those questions. Now, whether it was regret or sadness, there would be no way to resolve any of the past. Joe was gone and so were his explanations, his fears, his hopes. Losing him had been so horrible.
Part of her struggle had been losing Robert only 13 months before losing Joe. Now she had no one to mourn with, she had no one to cry with and wonder how they had a beautiful baby boy once and now he was gone. Robert was gone too. That was tragic too but he was an adult. He had lived a good life. He had done most of the things he had wanted to do, and grew up to be an adult. He had done to his body the damage that killed him. Now he couldn’t see what would become of his son because he was gone too. Veva hoped they were together.
Tomorrow would be the day to face those fears. Veva had left teaching because her son had been so smart and had loved school. Her students, throughout her whole teaching career, were the kids who struggled, who hated school, who didn’t understand the value of an education. After her son died she couldn’t imagine going into a classroom where the students, many of whom reminded her of her own son, would be there, unhappy to be at school, miserably going through the motions because the adults in their lives told them that education was important. She had thought about it so many times, pictured herself and the things she would say. Now, many of the students she originally had have graduated and are no longer at the school. Veva figured that would ease some of the fear but it didn’t. There was one student left there. The one student who reminded her most of her own son, the son she lost, the student who she would lose in June after he graduated. Could she go through another loss?
Here she stood, with her canvas bag slung over her shoulder. She could see her reflection in the glass door. No one was behind the door yet. There would still be some time to prepare for the day ahead. There was a lot of preparation needed, she hadn’t been in a classroom in over three years. Veva wasn’t even sure if the curriculum was the same, if the teachers were teaching the same material that she was familiar with. She would have to get her supplies ready, her classroom materials, and the files. She had case files on all of her students. She would need to read each one, to become somewhat acquainted with the students she would be spending her days with. She needed to find out how many hours she would devote to each of them, by law that was a requirement. Veva knew above all else that she needed to start feeling like a teacher again. She needed to get into the swing again.
Hoping it would come back easily, Veva reached for the handle to the front door of the school. She could see her hands shake as they tried to grip the handle. Looking up at her reflection again, she could see the tears rolling down her cheeks. Why was she crying? How could she cry in front of the other teachers or worse yet, in front of the students? She would have to pull herself together in this morning's planning time. Luckily she had brought her small makeup bag to freshen her face before the students arrived.
Pausing with her hand on the door, Veva felt a mix of dread and excitement. This was her career, this is what she walked away from three years ago out of heartache and here she was walking back in, not knowing what to expect from herself, from her mind which was reeling, but today was the day to find out. Today was the day to face her fears and go back to what she used to love, to what she knew, to what she had been good at. Without her son and without her husband. Veva opened the door and walked into a world that she hoped would welcome her kindly and compassionately. She would need that bit of comfort to make it through, but she wouldn’t know until she did it. So she stepped into the main hallway, ready to walk to her old classroom, the one that had been waiting for her for three years.