Meet me in my cabin at 3, we need to have a word.
Why? Why did she want to meet me? I already submitted the papers one week ago! So, it couldn’t be the project. Or, maybe there was some weird result in the plagiarism check? But, I had written almost every word of it by myself, and it wasn’t like there were many sources to lift from! No, it cannot be the project. Wait, did I forget to format the citations? I didn’t think so, as I remembered looking up the OSCOLA references. What could it be?
Did I do something in class? I was listening to her in class and making notes. Well, mostly. But, that really isn’t a crime. If she was calling me to her cabin, it must be something serious. Did I annoy her by chatting a bit in the middle? I had made sure she was turned the other way round. No, she couldn’t have known. Oh right, it must have been the phone. I had just taken a sneak peak at it in class, come on! And, I did that only to clear away the notifications and turn off the vibration. I made sure she didn’t see me do that, but… Did she? God, I hoped she wouldn't take away my phone, maybe I shouldn’t take my phone along with me to her cabin. Yup, a sensible idea- leave the phone behind.
Wait, wait, wait, by God, I knew why she called me. I was talking about how she didn’t really do a great job while teaching the second module. Pretty loudly, actually. But that was not on purpose, that’s just my voice. She was in the mess! Was my heart beating faster? Would she believe me when I told her I actually loved her teaching but it was just a casual statement only about that module? No, that’s unbelievable, only a fool would believe it. This was just going to annoy her more. I didn’t really mean it that day. At least, not how she’d have taken it to be. This was it, you always have bad luck when you talk about other people. It was my fault, and I will profusely apologize for it. She would have to accept it.
She said 3, it’s already 2:55! Enough panicking, time to pick my bags and run. That was such an uncomfortable footwear to run in! The last thing I wanted to be is late. I could not afford to make her more mad. Stupid me, should have known it was this! Please, save me, please, please. My heart was thumping even faster. I was not sure if it was because of the running or the fear. Maybe, both. I could see her cabin.
Wait, let me drink some water and calm myself, and put up an earnest, innocent smile. Just be the most sincere kid for once, could I? No water. I left the bottle in the mess, and I had to pick it back up without forgetting- this was the third bottle already this semester! Okay, for then I had to focus on the cabin. I calmed myself, looked at myself in the reflective glass door, wet my lips and put up a smile that said- mam, you had called me! - as if she had called me to praise me. Was I sure that I was ready to push open the door, and enter? And then, I could not undo the opening. She must be inside.
I brandish the thoughts with a shake of my head, and then push the door open.
'Hello, mam!' I said.
‘Please knock before coming in,’ she said, in an off, dismissive tone.
That’s it, I was gone. I just made it all worse. How could I not do the most basic thing ever? Knock. This was an unnecessary addition to my already existing problems- of course, as always, brought upon me by myself.
‘Take a seat,’ she said.
‘It’s alright, mam’ I said, but then I sat down anyway realizing that it would make me look less nervous.
These teachers were always great at a build up. My heart was already in my throat. Why couldn’t she just get to the point? After a couple of more seconds of appearing busy and opening random tabs in the computer in front of her, she spoke again.
‘I read your project,’ she said, and then gave a pause. That pause- such an effective one. I made a mental note on how effective pauses can be.
So, it was the project. Partly, relief. And partly, confusion. A wave of relief washed over me and my nervousness cut down by half because it wasn’t my comment in the mess. I was confused because I didn’t really plagiarize anything or write anything wrong. I had followed all the specifications she had wanted.
‘It is great, I can see the hard work. If you are interested in working a little more on it, we can get it ready to try a publication.’
I just sat there, and smiled- a blank, mundane one. My mind could only think of all the brainless things I had managed to do, and I didn’t even realize teachers could call you for other reasons. I thought my justifications would come off as unbelievable. But, she played me well. Teachers could be unbelievable sometimes, too.