In part one, I explained that whilst at primary school
I was summoned to the headmaster.
No explanation.No agenda, Just a request delivered by a visiting pupil-in front of the whole class
“This message is for Erica,” he tells my teacher at her desk
She, in turn, instructs me: “The headmaster wants to see you now”
My heart beats guiltily with expectation and fear as I try to single out what past deeds have been brought to the headmaster’s attention…
Dreamily I stare, stand, then scrape my chair and follow the messenger lagging reluctantly several steps behind.
I approach his office where other pupils already wait in a single file standing flattened against the wall. They raise their heads as I arrive and watch me take my place at the end of the queue….
I can pick out the frequent visitors to his office. They are the ones who smirk cheekily, obviously blatantly happy to yet again be missing lessons while they wait. They acknowledge me smiling welcoming me into their club
A few children looked as scared and apprehensive as I feel
Worse still we are open to view by a passing audience of other children who either point stare and chuckle knowingly-we are assured that we are’ in for it’
Guiltily some of us bow our heads in shame.
A few children pass us as we wait on the corridor. Some point and giggle but others studiously avoid our eyes turning their heads not wishing to meet our guilty eyes or identify with those poor unfortunates who have obviously done something bad and are’ in for a roasting.’
I stand fidgeting. Trying to stare fixedly at the opposite wall and count the smear marks there rather than collude with any other child standing or passing by.
Suddenly, everyone to a body collectively flinches at the raised voices pulsating from HIS closed door.
Inevitably my turn arrives
Gingerly I open the door to a stern grim-faced headmaster sitting behind his desk.
He has some papers on the desk in front of him
I rack my stupefied brain but I am a rabbit caught in the headlights
I await the killing blow
What have I done?
I stand there suitably contrite- ashamed.
He looks up from the papers that he was busily reading and asks
“What do you understand by ‘betrothed?’ “
I stammer an unintelligible answer. Quickly, he smirks smiles stamps the paper in front of him and proffers it to me
I look at it unbelievingly
I recognize-my poem!
A merit stamp- blue inked with disinclination covers my best scribble
I grab it snatching it from his hand turn and run instinctively out of that office all the way back to the safety of my desk not feeling my legs
It is only when I an safe and sitting down in the familiar territory
that I find myself grinning.