‘Till We Ain’t Strangers Anymore (First Part)

Note: This is a work of fiction. Any similarities with other shows I am watching right now might be due to my subconscious leaking out. This is my first take on writing a full English tale so bear with my grammatical lapses. Thank you for reading!

A young teacher comes to teach in the university then he will leave three years later. For someone who has passed a ridiculously tough board examination, teaching might not be the best job he can have if he wants to earn more. The older faculty members know this common knowledge and they were actually pretty supportive with my decision to finally resign in my post as a professor.

I guess my situation is not different from others who experienced the same.

The school was already closed granted that it is already the start of Winter break. Cold December winds have already breezed the town I am about to leave. The dark skies indicate snow might fall anytime. As I walk towards the university’s hallway for the last time, it felt like I am prancing through a memory lane.

I never mentioned a thing to my students about leaving before the classes ended. I merely smiled when they asked whether I will still be their instructor come next semester. Maybe some of them got what that smile meant back then.

I was about to call the delivery service to carry my things when I noticed a picture inside a drawer I was not able to clean up.

“I thought I already threw this away.” I said while looking outside as I gazed wistfully. It’s been a while since we had a normal conversation. “How is that kid doing these days?”

That picture brought me three years ago, when I first taught in the university. At a young age of twenty three, I handled my very first class. They were a group of eighteen year-olds who just first had their first taste of independence from their parents. I had fun and it made me not want to leave teaching whenever I remember their faces or their amused looks as they learned something.

What I was looking in the photo was my former student who is about to graduate in April. He has the flashiest smile in the group similar to what kids show after they caught the biggest beetle in a trip. If not for my mercy, he would have repeated a year for his grades. I was pretty sure we will not meet anymore, until I saw him waiting for me in the university gate the next school year.

“Now that you will not be my instructor anymore, can we hang out sometimes?” he said in a very informal manner.

“I think you forgot to put sensei.” I replied, bewildered by his remarks. “You know, instructors do not have much time as you have. I will not be free until 7:30 this evening and I do not think that will be a good time.”

“Thanks for giving me your free time! I will wait here until then!” He replied while smiling like a pleased puppy. “Oh, thank you for letting me pass in your subject! Are you a god or something?”

He ignored my rejection. He is the type of person I really hate to engage in a conversation. Knowing that this guy will not be true to his words, I went back to the faculty office. I tried to get a hold of my old class record then and scanned for his name.

It’s already 8:45 in the evening before I got to finish the paperworks needed for the day. Since spring can still be chilly at night, I grabbed my jacket and immediately left the faculty room. Then I saw a familiar figure standing outside the university gates. I cannot be mistaken, those puppy eyes do not just belong to some random person.

“Yo!” he said trying to look cool but he’s shivering from the cold. He also got some snot in his nose which makes him ridiculously lousy for someone who looks like a successor of a yakuza clan. I cannot help but let go a small chuckle after seeing him in that condition.

“Here.” I gave him my handkerchief and my jacket. I am pretty thin for someone who’s twenty two so it fits just right on him. He flashed that idiotic grin again as his sign of thanks. He also offered to carry my things but I swiftly declined.

“Stop trying to look cool. Any normal guy will be creeped out with that, you know?”

“You should have known by now that I am anything but normal.” He quickly replied.

I got his point. No sane man would wait for about five hours to some person he just had a small conversation. Looking back, I honestly thought what he did is really creepy.

“Want to drink some beer in my home?” I offered. “You must be cold.”

“Maybe not anymore. You know, I got a chance to speak with the professor I idolize.” He said but I noticed he is still quivering from the cold. “I already knew you even before you became a professor in the university.”

“It seems like I got a rabid fan.” I dryly replied and instantly wished it came from a girl.

Before I realized it, he waited in the same spot everyday which made me wonder about his intentions for doing so. Nonetheless, I learned a few things about him. He cannot hold himself to alcohol despite looking like a delinquent. My suspicions about him being a yakuza or something is true though. His default mode is that dopey puppy look which I warmed up after some time. He even laughed when I told him that I named my new dog after him.

I got so used with his presence that I normally peek at 4:00 PM to know whether he is already here. I do not know what the universe was conspiring back then as he waved like he saw a helicopter the first time whenever he saw me staring at him.

He has been doing the same deed for two months when he went straight to the faculty room one day.

“Tomorrow is a Sunday, isn’t it?” he asked. “Can we get drunk in your apartment?”

“Eh?!” I replied. “Oi, we are inside the university you know. Talk about that later.”

“But sensei.” Tears are beginning to form on his eyes. Ahh… this is going to be a real headache. “I was dumped.”

”What’s new?” I rebutted. That guy is a bit of a womanizer so I just stared at him indifferently as he cried like a five year old in the faculty room.

“Please?” he begged, while flashing those eyes he was confident no one can’t say no to.

“You know, it’s quite awkward to see a full grown dude crying in front of me as if I was the one who dumped you.”

He continued crying though. Knowing him, he will not stop until I gave in to his demands. It’s not like he asked for something grand, is it? I was also already tired with the paperworks I did for the day. I need some refreshment.

“I got it. Here’s the key to my apartment. Do as you please.” I said and I honestly saw him changed his mood from heartbroken to really happy.

Back then, I should have seen that was the turning point for us. No – it was nothing silly to be fair. I learned that alcohol is a good truth serum for humans so I guess I was wrong for doubting his words back then. I still stand I like girls but something happened and it had me landed right in a confusing limbo.

As expected, he cried and cried as he talked how bad his relationship went. For someone who has been there, I found his reasons very silly. He said his ex-girlfriend thought she did not felt loved or something.

“Are you sure you aren’t in a screwed romantic comedy or something?”

“That’s what she said! I loved her.” He wailed as his speech was really slurred that time. “Yet I do not know, I thought I will be sadder though.”

“You. Don’t mention about finding someone new or I will throw you out of the house right now.” I joked as I poked him

“Sensei, let me sit beside you.” he said.

“You are already, idiot.” I retorted.

“I mean, closer.” He quickly replied. I was not able to say no so he took it as a yes.

“Sensei, thank you.”

“Huh? That came out from nowhere kid. Why?”

He sat in a fetal position as he leaned his body against mine. I knew this dude was about to cry big time. I sighed, preparing myself for his another set of drama bombs.

“Sensei, I really do not know what would have happened if you gave me a failing grade back then.”

Visibly shocked from what he said, I looked at him. He was staring away from me, probably he was trying to hide his embarrassment.

“It’s like you saved me from impending doom. I know I did not pay much attention to your classes, much less I passed your examinations.”

“That was called teacher’s mercy, idiot.”

“Then this heartbreak. I thought I will be crying this much because I loved her but I am doing this for a different reason. Thanks for saving me the second time.”

“Go to sleep. You are already drunk. I am sure you will forget everything in the morning.”

“I won’t.” he replied, then he started to bury his face on my shoulder. “You’re awfully thin. You smell nice though.”

“I know. Don’t use my clothes to remove your snot though. You’re also creepy.” I know I am enjoying his warmth though.

“Sing me a song sensei.”

“Don’t be gross.” I said. “Yet what song?” I immediately ate my words.

“Anything.” He replied. He sounded like he is going to sleep anything soon so I sang a horrible version of a modern pop song. Ten seconds later, he’s already sleeping. Perhaps it was my apparent tiredness that day, but my comfort with that position as I lean my head against his made me drift off to sleep. I cannot remember what happened much back then but I remembered planting a kiss in his forehead. Hey, I thought that was something brotherly although I do not have a younger brother. The next thing I knew, I woke up on my bed and I saw a well-cooked breakfast on my table with a note saying his thanks for letting him stay yesterday.

“This is going to be a real trouble.” I said as I tried to hide the growing blush in my cheeks.


3 thoughts on “‘Till We Ain’t Strangers Anymore (First Part)

  1. A cautionary tale about why teachers should be as emotionally distant as possible? I’ll take that to heart.

    I’m a tad confused about the correlation between puppy dog eyes and yakuza members. Don’t they usually try to look intimidating.


    1. Yotaro came first to my mind when I tried to create an image for the student. Ahhhhh…

      Now that you commented on it, I cannot delete this anymore. Waaaaaah.


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