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See Sara Go

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                  As Gene, the night shift worker at the Comfort Inn, checks me in, I ask about discounts.

“AAA?” he asks.

“No.”

“Well, you certainly don’t qualify for a senior’s discount,” he chuckles.

“Right,” I reply.  “But I am a teacher.”  I lie…a little.  I mean even though I am not a teacher in the traditional sense anymore, I am still a teacher. Besides, I figure for all my years of service, a piddley $8 discount was nothing.

“Well, great.  Then we’ll apply the government worker discount for you.”

“Thanks.” I smile nervously, afraid I’ll be struck down for lying. I am hoping he doesn’t ask for ID or a paycheck stub to prove myself.  However, just in case of these moments I still have my staff badge from two years ago when my hair was much shorter.  I figured I would say that due to budget cuts we haven’t gotten new cards in a while.

“What do you teach?”

My pat answer is always…or was always,  “Everything!  To first graders.”

“Oh,” he says.  “I remember my first grade teacher, Ms. Sullivan.” He lets out a small sigh through a small smile.

I nod and pack up my laptop from the lobby area where I had been working.

“Oh yes, kids usually remember their first grade teachers, it seems.” I zip my bag and push in the chair.

“Look! Look!” He exclaims with exuberance.  It startles me as I glance around the lobby.  It is now 11 pm and I am bleary eyed from 12 hours of driving and covering 520 miles from Tampa, Florida to Atlanta, Georgia.

He begins narrating my every move in Dick-and-Jane style commentary.

“See Sara.  See Sara walk.  She is going.  She is going up.  Up. Up. UP!”

I turn back toward him not knowing if I should laugh or clutch my belongings and make a mad dash to the elevator.  I do a hybrid, giving him a wave and a nod and reach quickly for the button.

“Ms. Sullivan taught us to read using Dick and Jane books,” he calls after me proudly.

I smile and nod again. “Yes. Those are good books for early readers.”

“Sara is going to bed.  Go Sara, go. Good night, Sara.”

“Good night, Gene. ”

The elevator door closes and I go up.  Up, up to bed.

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