Beautiful people always get what they want. Thin people always get what they want. I am neither thin nor beautiful. My only advantage is my sex, but even my sex is invisible, because when people see me, when they do notice me, however briefly, they only see fat – a fat woman. She is a fat woman, an obese woman. She is a disgusting woman, a lazy woman. She is unattractive, and in the way. Whatever adjectives they use, the words are always the same, and possess the same intent – to make me invisible. But I am here, you see, I am in the classroom with your children, in a small office with your children. I spend time with them, alone, likely more time than you – their parents – spend with them. I listen to them, document their lies, their becoming. The older children, the eleven and twelve year olds, are lying animals, sexual animals brutally navigating the outer perimeters of the adult world – the cruel jokes, the obscene gestures. I watch them twitch in their seats, their bodies already hard and muscular, ungiving, their breasts small blossoms opening to unseen hands.
I catalog their desires, their fears. Who hovers over them at night? Who touches this boy, whispers lies to this girl? I gently place my hands on either side of their scalp and split their heads open, like a melon, to see what is inside. I am trusted, a paid professional, I possess the correct pieces of paper, the documents that proclaim I belong, and yet still I walk through the world as if there were not another soul in it, as if I alone survived a great cataclysm. I am here, and because I am invisible, because the world has decided I am invisible, I am free to document its lies, its iniquities. I do this with the carefully scribbled notebooks of the cartographer, the human heart a map I have underscored many times yet still do not understand. Those who claim to understand it are liars, as are most men, men with hearts beating in their chests. The only man who isn’t a liar is a dead man. I smooth my dress, tamp my collar, put on a human face, an obese face, and open the door. You do not see me but I am here, with your children. Continue reading “‘The Teacher’ by James Nulick”