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Not the Money

The first day of school always made Lance nervous, but he thought all that was behind him when he graduated from college.

Now here he was, walking his son to the first day of school fifteen years later, and his stomach roiled like a teenager on a first date.

Sure, he was nervous for Lane — kindergarten was a big step, after all. But most of Lance’s jitters were his own.

Ever since Lance and Grace moved back to Milltown late the year before, he had heard whispers that Mrs. Smith was still teaching at the elementary school. Mrs. Smith!

She had been old twenty-five years before, and Lance just assumed she had passed away, or at least retired, but he heard her boisterous laugh echoing down the hallways the moment he and Lane stepped into the building. She had been Lance’s favorite teacher, and she made Indiana history his favorite subject.

It would be amazing, though strange to see her again, but first, he had to attend to his son.

Lance found Lane’s kindergarten room and got the boy settled, then stepped back into the hallway. Mrs. Smith was still talking and laughing, and Lance retraced the hallways of his youth until he was standing outside the fifth-grade classroom.

Mrs. Smith stood by the door, watching students and parents mill past, looking for their rooms. The smile never left her face.

Lance took a deep breath and walked up the woman he had thought about so many times over the years.

“Mrs. Smith, you probably don’t remember me.” He extended his hand, feeling foolish. “My name is Lance Gregory.”

The old lady’s eyes popped open like sprung window blinds. “Remember you!” she exclaimed. “Why, I’m always telling my classes about the beautiful drawing you made of me when you were in my class.” She stepped aside and motioned to a crude pencil sketch on the front of her desk.

Lance had forgotten all about that.

“But, how do you remember me?” He was flabbergasted.

Mrs. Smith touch his shoulder.

“I didn’t become a teacher for the money, young man.” She grinned. “It’s all about my students.” She nudged him down the hallway. “Now, off you go! I have a whole new class full of memories to whip up!”

Published inFlash Fiction

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