Mr. R

Wizened brow, puffed eyelids, wet lips, sparse grey hairs. Like a turtle with parched limbs drawn into hunched back. From a yellowing textbook outdated by ten years, he strains out words through his teeth so the “S’s” come out like a long cat’s hiss. “Sa mga estudyante na hindi tumaassssssssssssssssss…” His eyes close after each hiss; the students are lulled and their eyes similarly close.

Suddenly, he shouts. He is angry and complaining of our tired faces. In great anger he pushes his chair, but it moves feebly. Some giggles are heard. Mr. R begins to lament about the demise of youth’s respect to their elders. The anger in his voice is difficult for him to project with his tired windpipe, so the students don’t take him seriously and continue to giggle.

Mr. R leaves the classroom. Where once were amused snickers now falls a shamed silence. P.E. class has ended for today.

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