The La-Iin Series
The morning was beginning again.
A man sat up in bed, rheum caking his eyes closed. He started to try and pick it from his eyes. He was still exhausted, and was tempted to lay back down in bed and go back to sleep. But he continued to pick at the rheum.
Once he got up, he head for the bathroom. ‘Ugh, I look more dumpy than before…’ He sighed as he looked at himself in the mirror. He started to brush his teeth, then, he took a shower.
‘I brushed my teeth before having breakfast….guess that won’t be happening today.’
He looked around his house. It was fairly tidy, but there were papers and school supplies scattered about. He sat down on the couch and rest his head in his hands.
Normally, he ignored all these things about himself and his life that made him feel as though, if his students knew about his home life, they would call him a loser and laugh at him until his class was over. But today it weighed on his mind, and he wasn’t exactly sure why. He felt worse today than he normally did, and it brought his mood down before his day could even officially start.
‘I don’t even know how I got to this point.’
He could remember earlier times in his life, as a fresh-faced child who enjoyed life to the fullest, even as things in the world were in repair. As he grew up, he still remained happy and cheerful, optimistic about his future. As a teen, he was nowhere near as popular as some of his peers, and he was the type who was the subject of many jokes, but he still enjoyed life. His fellow students meant nothing to him; he was more interested in whatever his teacher was doing. He loved to study history even back then, and always liked to take out books on what had happened before he was born–that, and things that had happened before he could remember anything.
So, as the time came to think on his future, he had a plan. He wanted to become a history teacher, because he had learned so much over his adolescent years. He would do that, and perhaps eventually meet a woman who would become his wife, have a nice family and a nice life and continue to spread his knowledge of history onwards to his children, who he would daydream about and he hoped would share his interest in history.
After he graduated college, he had been feeling good. The stress he imposed on himself and that was imposed on him was starting to lessen. At first he had to take other jobs, for most schools already had enough history teachers. But when Malicerie Public School was first opening, in the nearby city of Bledger, he opted to move closer to it and try to teach there. He was accepted quickly, and was thrilled he had gotten the job.
He had worked as Class D’s history teacher for several years and was not appreciated by many of his students. He did not let it get him down. He still had his plans, and each time he gained a new crush he felt hopeful that she would be the one; each time, however, he was not successful, whether she was married or dating, or simply just wasn’t interested in him. He could recall one case where the woman said she would have accepted him if only he was a girl.
These sorts of happenings continued on for his many years at Malicerie. He made friends there, but almost never gained the appreciation of his students, even those who were interested in history. And all that time, he simply watched what went on at the school he worked for. He watched as Class A went from a curious class to the disaster it was now. He watched several students enroll and graduate from Malicerie. He watched some of his fellow teachers come and go. He watched students grow up, have children of their own, and their children attend Malicerie. And all that time, he never achieved some of his goals.
He went through decades of his life never achieving his goal of having a family; and though he achieved his dream of becoming a history teacher, hardly any of his students respected him–even his fellow teachers would often make fun of him, just as he had been made fun of when he was a teenager.
He realized that it affected his home life as well. He tried to appear cheery on the outside, happy about his job despite frustrated, but at home he treated himself poorly. He wasn’t completely happy with his appearance, yet he was scared to change it, fearing that his students may react in ways he wouldn’t want to see. Somedays he felt as though he only shaved because his students would laugh if he showed up with stubble, while he didn’t dare try to lose weight for fear of his students screeching at a skinnier version of their teacher.
And his new loves were as unfulfilled as his earlier ones. At times he felt downright miserable. On the rare occasions he contemplated ending that misery, he became horrified with himself, and felt another fear–fear that he would hardly be missed by his students.
“Good riddance,” he could imagine San-Kyung say. And he was certain that some of them would be shocked, perhaps even horrified, but not that any of them would miss him.
All except one.
His life was still miserable, and he didn’t take as much care of himself as he would like. He was a hopeless romantic at times and had a tendency to not behave in a professional manner–the memories of the Principal’s reaction to his ‘Shipping Day’ sent shivers down his spine. But if there was one student who made him feel as though he was worth even a little bit, it was Shaejaein Rini-Futo.
He was grateful the girl was one of his students. Somedays he wished he could go back in time and tell his child self the future wasn’t worth it, Rini-Futo made him think otherwise. And if he could have one student who admired him, perhaps he could have others. And if he had a student who admired him, perhaps he could achieve other dreams as well.
He wasn’t sure if people would consider him too old to be a father at this point, but he didn’t care. If he could have even the slightest bit of hope that things could improve, that things could become better even at his age, then he could keep going on.
It wouldn’t be an overnight change, he knew. But he had to try. He would have never become a history teacher if he hadn’t studied so much and put in the effort. Now, if he wanted to try and turn his life around, he knew he had to take those first steps himself.
That day, he decided he would go for a run.
Rini-Futo was having a day where she couldn’t stop thinking of her history teacher. She stared out at the sky that day, wondering if he too was looking up at it.
She wondered what sort of day he might be having, and hoped it was a good one.