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Substitute Art Teacher

by Sara Harricharan  
7/30/2007 / Short Stories

'I don't understand, Father, you give us all these 'wonderful' gifts, but how are we ever supposed to use them? Like art, Mr. Mayhorne is a horrible teacher! He doesn't have a half-ounce of creativity anywhere inside of him! '

I guess my prayer sounded whacked, but considering the kind of day I'd had, I just needed to talk it all out with my best friend. Mostly complaining, but otherwise confused.

'It's like you give me the gift of art-then take it away by giving me a lousy teacher who paints according to the 'rules' and parents that barely allow me to take free art classes. I thought you wanted me to succeed-not flunk out!'

I felt a little bad then, especially since I knew whatever was going on in my life right now was for my own good and betterment.

'Father-I don't mean to complain, but could you send me a different teacher? Or scholarship to the art school in Virginia? Anyway, please give me a peaceful night's rest-and help me be on time for school tomorrow.'

That was my bedtime prayer. I didn't expect a whole lot-except maybe for the Virginia art school part. Yawn. Past ten on a school night-I'd better sleep-fast!


I was only half-ready when Mr. Mayhorne poked his head through the History classroom door. "I feel obligated to inform you," He began, in his usual pompous way. "That I will be absent from class this entire week. A substitute shall inherit the headache of teaching you 'aspiring' artists!" He gave a little bow, disappearing from view.

That's a surprise. I send a thank-you prayer upwards. Class ended early and all of us art students trooped off to the end of the hall. Everyone talking excitedly, until someone asked if Mr. Mayhorne had a twin brother.

I hope not. I don't think I could bear it.

The classroom door was open and we all walked in. That's when I saw our substitute. She was beautiful, just as I'd always imagined an art teacher.

Long, flowing dark red hair, partially twisted into a bun with something sticking out of it, the brightest green eyes, a hip-length sweater, and a flowing earth-brown ankle-length suede skirt. Her boots were quiet on the tile floor, and she greeted us all with a cheerful smile.

"Hello there. Welcome. I'm filling in for Mr. Mayhorne, he has a contest to attend. Call me Adie" She rummaged through the satchel on the desk then held up a small bag of sequins.

Just like the one sitting on my desk.

"Do you all have one of these?" Everyone mumbled something. Adie smiled. "Good. Today, I am not going to teach you how to draw. You already know how to do that. I am going to watch you create a work of art."

'THANK YOU, Father!'

Opening the bag, Adie poured the sequins into her hand. "Hold them in your hand, over a clean sheet of paper-throw them up in the air. However they land. That is your signature. Create something so vivid, so intense-so unique, words can't describe it."

Marten raised his hand. "What if they fall on the floor? We'll make a mess!"

Adie laughed lightly. "We have brooms. And I know where the dustpan is." Cupping both hands, with a little jump, she threw the sequins in the air. They fluttered down everywhere, in her lovely hair, on the desk, the floor, her clothes.

She didn't care, suddenly alive with an energy that I longed for.

It was a matter of minutes before the classroom was sparkly and laughter-filled. Time went by so fast I didn't bother to keep track of it.

That's when I got my second surprise. The door opened and Mr. Mayhorne walked right in, all upset. He didn't even seem to notice us.

"Adeline-where's my lucky brush?! I can't leave without it." He stopped short and stared at her covered in sequins.

"Lucky brush?" She looked puzzled, then brightened, reaching up to her hair, pulling the bun loose. "I meant to give it to you-but you were too busy this morning."

Marten chose that moment to ask another question. "You know Adie?"

Mr. Mayhorne stared at him strangely as if seeing us for the first time, as Adie tucked the brush into his shirt pocket. "Of course I know her, she's my wife."

I winced.

'Father? Did you have to be so obvious? I didn't mean to judge him.'

Sara Harricharan is a young Christian woman with a passion for writing for the Lord through faith-filled Science Fiction/Fantasy stories and pure words.

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