The Fabulous Chronicles: Chapter Eight ~ "School Daze"

Ken Painter By Ken Painter, 30th Aug 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Fictional Narrative

Max begins his school teaching year by coming out to his principal and a few fellow teachers. How did that go?

The Fabulous Chronicles: Chapter Eight ~ "School Daze"

Two days before classes began for our high school students I began working in my classroom preparing my desk, bulletin boards, and room for the onslaught which would soon begin when the kids charged the campus. I’d already begun some of my prep at home so some of this was just the on-site work which was necessary at the beginning of every new school season. And, of course, there was all of the catching up with my friends and colleagues about what we’d been up to during our summer break. I’d been up to more than most, and I’d thought this through very carefully for the past several weeks so as to minimize my transition here in my job as much as possible. I’d already called ahead and scheduled a meeting with my principal, Stan Jacobs for the first thing upon entering my building that morning. It had lasted all of five minutes seeing how busy we both were.

“You’re what!?” This had been Stan’s surprised response when I informed him that I’d recently immerged from the closet and had separated from my wife. I wasn’t sure if his question was asking if I was gay or getting a divorce, but I noticed behind the look of stunned disbelief a hint of a smile. He’d been my principal now for ten years. I felt I could trust him.

“Yes, Stan,” I quietly replied, “I’m gay. I believe I always have been, though I’m really just starting to deal with it. And Jan and I have separated over the summer because of that, and we’re planning on divorcing. I just wanted you to know first, because in no way will this affect my work.”

“Wow! Okay.” He leaned back in his chair, and my middle-aged balding principal then put his right hand to his jaw rubbing it. “I just never would have expected it, that’s all. May I ask how you plan on handling it with the other staff members?”

“Well, I plan on telling my closest friends, and I figure from there it’ll just naturally work it’s way around. You know how teacher’s lounges are. Quite frankly, I’m not keeping it a secret.”

“Okay,” he shrugged. “That seems reasonable enough. And thanks, Max for being so upfront and telling me right away. Are you doing all right?”

“So far, so good,” I replied though I wasn’t going to tell him about Jace, and I really didn’t know where that was headed just yet.

“Well, that’s good, and if I can be of any help here at school just let me know.”

“Will do.”

I wish all my conversations that day went that easy. My best friend on the staff Hal Bishop the Geography teacher thought I was having a mid-life crisis and that I needed therapy before even considering divorce. He was really put out that I hadn’t even called him before it had gotten this far, and maybe I should have, but as I’d reminded him he’d been out of the country to Europe all summer and only got back last week, and I didn’t really want to bother him with it. My life had actually gone on quite well even though he was gone. He didn’t really like that part.

One of my other friends, Mary Parsons, the freshman English teacher seemed to understand the situation but remained uncommitted in her attitude and that was just fine with me. I wasn’t looking for support as much as I was disseminating information to a certain degree. After all I am walking on the other side of the street now, sexually speaking. It was not an unheard of thing to see two men shopping together in the grocery store in East Lansing, and should that happen to me sometime in the future it’s not like I didn’t want to have sent up a warning signal or something. Yoo hoo, I did say I was gay, didn’t I? I did warn y’all? This is not the middle of Dumbfuck, Mississippi!

What I didn’t see coming though was Terese Sternbaugh. I’d forgotten about Terese being in a loose circle of friends with Jan. Terese worked with the Special Education students at our school so one would think she’d have a little more empathy about touchy situations. Nah! Because Terese had been on the phones with her girlfriends for the past couple of weeks she knew all about Jan and me and about our splitting. She knew I was gay which I didn’t give a flying fart about. After Terese had lunch in the teacher’s lounge that day though, I began hearing little whispers about Jan and me, and stuff began getting back to me through the back channels as it has a way of doing. So I knew where it had all began. Very, very little of the information, of course, was accurate. And I knew right then that there was going to be a problem.

But who had the problem?

At the moment, I didn’t have the problem. I knew what the truth of the situation was. Terese and her rumor-mongering had a problem, but I couldn’t control that. I learned a long time ago that you can never control what someone else thinks of you, and it’s pure folly to try.

Jan obviously had a problem. And this was something I needed to look into. We were currently separated and our attorneys were working on some sort of settlement for our pending divorce. I intended to keep it as amicable as possible. Was it possible? I didn’t know the answer to that. She had been a woman scorned. I’d been checking in on her regularly, and she’d been saying that everything was fine. Of course, she would. Perhaps I needed to prod her a little deeper. Name dropping. Now I’ve got some goods. Terese Sternbaugh.


Coming Out Of The Closet, Gay, Gay Experience, Gay Men, Gay Rights, Gays, Glbt, Gossip, Gossiping, Lgbt, Narrative, Narrative Writing, Serial, Series, Teacher, Teaching

Meet the author

author avatar Ken Painter
Retired Chicago public school teacher. Singer, songwriter, musician, author, & opinionated old curmudgeon. Married to my husband & living in Colorado, USA. Also a father & grandfather.

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