Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Imperfect Love, Chapter 1, Part 3

Lauren sat at one of the staff lunch tables looking forward to some quiet time while she considered different ways she could tell Paul the amazing news. She could write a poem or send him on a treasure hunt or give him a box with baby formula inside. She needed something creative.

"Mind if I sit with you?" JoAnn, one of the math teachers, asked.

Lauren mentally rolled her eyes. Everyone knew that JoAnn was a talker and shared intimate details of people’s personal lives. The last person Lauren wanted to sit with was JoAnn, but she didn’t want to be rude. Lauren motioned with her hand, convinced she’d regret it. "Sure."

JoAnn flopped onto the chair, making a loud creak. "I’m on a diet. Doctor said I need to lose 90 pounds. I don’t agree, but my husband made me promise to eat this rabbit food." She started poking her small salad. "You’re lucky to be so tiny. I bet you’ve never worried about having to lose weight."

"Running helps me stay in shape." She probably wouldn’t be able to do much running in the coming months, though. The corners of her mouth lifted.

"Exercise? Yeah, the doctor said I needed to do that, too. I think he’s trying to kill me instead of make me healthy. Besides, it’s common knowledge that menopause makes you gain weight." She looked at Lauren.

"But you’ve got years before you have to worry about that. Are you going to start having your family soon? I mean, it’s none of my business, you see, but time keeps marching on. I had my babies back in my twenties. Course, they’re all grown now. I keep hoping they’ll make me a grandma soon. Kids these days don’t like to get married or have kids ‘til they’re older." JoAnn finally stopped talking and took a bite of her salad.
Lauren hoped they could enjoy the rest of the lunch period in silence.

Several minutes later, JoAnn began again. "Did you hear about Mr. Thompson?" JoAnn leaned in closer. "His classroom computer was loaded with porn." JoAnn nodded. "Yep. He had all sorts of disgusting things on it. I hear he’s going to be fired. And that new secretary in the front office—she has a stalker who keeps coming by the school. I heard he’s left her flowers and candy and notes even after she told him to get lost."

Lauren didn’t know Mr. Thompson well, but she was uncomfortable being involved in a conversation with such serious accusations. Besides, she didn’t want to be associated with any disparaging remarks about her coworkers. She preferred to mind her own business and didn’t want to be pulled into anyone else’s. "How were your classes today?"

"The same as they always are."

Before JoAnn could launch into any other gossip, Lauren said, "We’re beginning our study of the Holocaust."

"Oh. I’m glad I only have to teach numbers. I’d never be able to teach kids about why a madman killed so many people. Numbers I understand. People? Not so much."

"And numbers make my head implode." Lauren smiled.

"You know what else I heard about—"

"I’d love to stay and chat, but I need to prepare for my next class." Lauren stood. "It was good talking to you, JoAnn."

"You too. We should do it more often." JoAnn had a spot of ranch salad dressing on her chin, but Lauren was too embarrassed to tell her.

"Have a good day," Lauren said as she left.

Since the lunch period was almost over, Lauren would have to wait until after school to think of a special way to tell Paul.

Thank you for reading the first chapter of Imperfect Love. I hope you enjoyed it. You can purchase Imperfect Love here.

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