This I Believe

Abigail - Alexandria, Virginia
Entered on January 25, 2007

I believe in sticking up for your friends

I hated my high school chemistry teacher. He was a bastard. I hated him for John. John sat in front of me. He looked like a slacker, an east target, with his uncombed mess of hair that hung limply around his face, his legs and arms covered in scabs, always reopening under his impatient prying fingertips, always bleeding. John bore the brunt of his bullying. I sat through class watching John react to the teachers’ words, “stupid” “idiot” “failure”. I hated that man with his acidic breath that never failed to reach my nose, his fingers peeling, decaying in front of my eyes.

Don’t get me wrong, I hated that man for my own reasons; John just added reasons to my list. I hated him for making me dread science.

My dad wrote the Earth Science Regents books. He took me outside and pointed out the stars. He took me out of class so that I could march through swamps with him catching tadpoles and bacteria, testing out new field trip sites he was considering adding to the curriculum. My dad was Mr. Science. He helped me love science. My chemistry teacher made me hate it. So on that afternoon, when I suddenly felt the need to tell this bastard exactly how much I hated him, John, who sat taking the insults bravely, gave me an excuse.