STEVEN JERAL HARRIS
EMERALD BLUE OKIKI
School finally reopens that following Thursday. I have come to the realization that people die and some of those deaths are murders. That’s still a hard thing to grasp for the simple fact that it’s someone I cared about. The ride to school is fairly silent, not because I don’t want to talk, but instead I’m still mourning over my Professor’s death. Today the campus is swarming with police officers.
Instead of driving up to the entrance, my mom parks the van and switches off the engine.
"You sure you’ll be alright?" she asks.
I look over at her and notice doubt in her eyes.
"I'll be fine mom."
"Okay keep your phone on you, at all times."
"I love you, Iva," she says with a warm smile.
"I love you too mom."
I hop out and shut the door, and then step onto the walkway. The mood here is depressing. What makes matters worse is the grayness outside. The clouds are so dark today. Not to mention it’s cool and windy.
There’s no usual clowning around or side conversations in the hallways. Everything and everyone appears dim. In Computer Science we mostly sit in silence doing absolutely nothing. The atmosphere is similar in Social Psychology. All of the Professors are just sitting at their desk bathing in silence most of the time.
Then I head to my last class for the day, Biology. The class is short a couple of students, that includes Jason. Professor Nelson closes the door and pauses before starting the class.
"Hello everyone…" his voice is lower than usual.
"I would like to start off with a side note," he clears the hoarse from his throat. "If there’s anyone in here, who feels they're having a hard time coping with recent events, you are excused. I will not hold you accountable for your absence whatsoever. I’ll have a makeup day for anyone who misses class."
He pauses to scan the room. Suddenly a girl stands and modestly leaves the classroom. He pauses again before continuing.
"Okay. Today we will be reviewing chromosomes."
Before long, class is over and I’m gathering my belongings. Suddenly, my cell phone vibrates. I pull it from my pocket and discover a text message from my mom that reads…
‘CAUGHT UP AT WORK, I WILL BE A LITTLE LATE. STAY SAFE.’
I finish gathering the rest of my belongings and join the fleeing crowd, but Professor Nelson calls to me as I pass his desk.
"Yes, Professor Nelson."
“I want to have a word with you about last Friday, in Grant’s class."
He rises from his seat and approaches me, his head lowered.
"About what?" I ask him.
"When I came in, what were you two talking about?"
"Nothing much. Why?”
"It’s just I notice him acting a bit strange. Didn’t you?" he says with a raised eyebrow.
"I noticed that myself."
"Do you have any idea why?"
"No I don’t." I reply regrettably.
Professor Nelson leans backward against his desk and folds his arms. His mind suddenly slips into a daydream.
"I know I can seem nosey sometimes, Iva, that’s because I want the students and faculty safe.”
“I understand.” I agree with him.
He looks down at the shiny floor titles and pauses to reflect on the tragedy.
“I can't stop thinking about him,” he goes on. “He was a good teacher and a good friend. He didn’t deserve that," he finishes the sentence with glistening eyes.
"I know it’s so unreal. I feel bad that I didn’t attend the ceremony."
"It was really nice. They have a very beautiful memorial at the park for him," he tells me.
"I’ve heard. How do you get there? I want to at least pay my respects, I owe him that much."
"Make a left up the street, can't miss it."
"Okay, thanks Professor Nelson, see you on Tuesday."
"You have a nice day Ms. Hill," he replies as I exit the room.
I make my way through the sluggish college commute and out the building. I pull out my cell phone to check the time. It’s 3:40. I cut through the parking lot and proceed up the sidewalk. All I can think about is Professor Nelson and what he’d said in class. He too noticed Professor Grant's peculiar behavior, so that’s a confirmation.
Grant was acting so strange that day, but why?
These questions are killing me, and the only person who can answer them is gone forever. I see three students coming down the sidewalk. Their eyes are red and watery from continuous grief. I look down at the sidewalk, away from their gloomy expressions.
I can't stand looking at anymore sad faces. When they pass by me I lift my eyes again.
The wooded area next to me begins to thin out and I discover a green clearing. The park is a wide field with trees surrounding it. Two other students are walking away from a small platform at the opposite end of the field.
They give a friendly nod as they pass by me and so do I. I feel my eyes starting to sting as I get closer to the memorial. I stop a couple of feet away to admire all of the beautiful flowers, pictures, teddy bears, and candles. I stare sorrowfully at one of his pictures. The picture is a blown up image of his face.
I softly shake my head in utter disappointment as I stare at his portrait.
"I'm so sorry Professor Grant." I whisper to him.
...to be continued
Watch out for the next episode... New episode reads on Tuesdays
Untamed S3 ep07