Weekly Anamnesis is a cyber writing project hosted by Natalie.
I stared at the 60%, written in red, in horror. I had never, ever failed an essay before. What happened? I didn’t shrug off the assignment, I really had tried. There was no instruction, no guidelines in redoing the paper, just the failing grade.
Last year she wouldn’t have failed me. But if I did do poorly she would have helped me.
The previous year I had been golden. But everything deteriorated the following year. I don’t know if I changed in the way I treated her (I never did so intentionally -I liked her), but halfway through the semester I suddenly realized I was in serious trouble.
One night on the road I finally broke down and told my mother. Crying and driving, I did my best to see the road, through the foggy window, through the ice on the windshield, through the November ice-fog of Whitehorse. “She hates me. I don’t know why, but she hates me.”
How could I be so sure it was a personal attack? After all, we had a good relationship prior to this term.
“I don’t know, she’s a completely different person.”
Mum did her best to be calm and collected, or to appear so to me. I know we weren’t the only ones in the car and I know she knew my driving was seriously compromised. She must have been white-knuckling the whole drive, but angel that she is, she didn’t let on to me. She sat in (petrified?) silence allowing me to sort through the issue.
Finally, “she must be going through menopause.” I concluded. It wasn’t improbable. Her only daughter was my age.
“How long does that last?”
“About seven years,” was Mum’s reply.
“Oh great,” I moaned, “I’m going to spend the next seven years trying to pass English!”
While I didn’t get the stellar marks I desired, I did pass that class on my first try. The lesson I learned that night was a hard lesson to learn, but it proved very useful in the years to follow. Menopause was not the conclusion with each subsequent teacher who proved unreasonable (especially Mr. Mathies!), but if I could find a reason to excuse the behaviour, then I could get on with my own education and pity the unhappy instructor.