“Open your books to page 651. We will be starting-” he looks over at a girl in front of the class wearing a Harvard sweater. “Stop eating in my class.” He says briefly and then continues flipping pages to find the William Blake poems we are supposed to read.
The girl keeps munching on her gummy worms. Her mouth moves slowly with lips pursed. Disgusting, I think, but I don’t say anything. She keeps the worms in her sweater’s front pocket, sort of hidden.
The teacher glances over at her; she’s in the first row. “Stop eating in my class.” He insists.
She doesn’t care. I wonder if she has ever cared about anything in her life, and then again I remember that she bluntly states that she hasn’t, that is, of course, with the exception of her beloved Diego. She pulls the gummy worms out of her sweater. That’s not part of the uniform, I realize. Again, I stay quiet.
She keeps munching, louder this time. The whole class is looking at her. The teacher doesn’t do anything about it but argue. “Stop. You’ll attract bugs. Those have sugar, don’t they?” she nods, “Well, sugar attracts small insects and those attract bigger insects. And do you know what- ” Another girl asks her for one. She gives it to her even though the other girl is in the last row. I roll my eyes. The teacher simply takes a couple of points off. A point here, a point there, who cares anyway? They couldn’t care less. He continues, “Bigger insects attract vermin!”
“What is vermin?” Another student asks.
“Like, rats and rodents.” The teacher explains.
And she keeps eating and eating. How much time have we lost already? I ask myself. It really doesn’t matter.
“That is why we eat in different places. Before, if you ate in your living room, you would have all kinds of vermin. That’s why we eat in a kitchen or in a dinning room.” He explains to a few feigning interest on what he is saying. The rest is speaking loudly among themselves. I decide to zone out for a little bit. The next thing I hear is his voice, still trying to convince the girl to stop eating in his class.
“It’s inconsiderate to the cleaning staff. All of you have maids to clean up after you, so you never consider the mess you are creating.” He says.
“I don’t have a mess.” She replies, but I see sugar covering her desk and notebook even from where I’m sitting. Her fingers are covered in this same substance, probably slowly melting in her fingers.
She takes out about five gummy worms out of the bag and places them in her hand. She stands up as the teacher tries to further prove his point, and throws the bag away in the trashcan outside of the classroom.
“See, she didn’t even clean up.” He complains to us as she walks back towards her desk.
She continues swallowing her gummy worms, lips covered in sugar. Sugar, sugar, everywhere, and but a crystal here. Sugar, sugar, everywhere and all the students see, I grin at my amateur attempt at making a parallelism to The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The grin quickly fades as I realize that we have spent almost fifteen minutes discussing this eating-in-class “problem”. She finishes her last gummy worms, and sick of the teacher’s complaining, stands up.
“I’m going to the bathroom,” sha says, and doesn’t come back for a while.
The teacher continues ranting on and on about our privileged lives and how we don’t care about cleanliness. I don’t have a maid. I think about making a mess all the time because my mother cleans up, and I don’t want to make more work for her. I zone out again, bored, staring into nothingness and thinking about how much I would like to be reading New Philosopher the article my friend send me.
She comes back, without anything to clean up. She just sits down, and the teacher by now has forgotten about her cleaning.
We finally open our books to page 651.