21 min readApr 11, 2022

After a lifetime of disappointment Julianne resigns herself to loneliness and despair. Blessed by neither talent nor love she has to watch as students pass through her classroom on a road to a brighter future than she could ever hope for.

However, out of the blue one day her most promising student, Jason, returns to town after leaving for a prestigious writing school in New York. She insists that she read his play, and when he tells her that one of the characters was based on her the realization of a deep, lingering passion is brought to her attention, a passion of which she could previously only dream.

Written by Odette Haynes
Published by

My life has not turned out the way I thought it would, or the way I wanted it too. I sit here at my desk in the empty classroom, gazing out of the window as the sunlight bathes the world. The tips of my fingers lightly grip a cigarette. Wisps of smoke spiral up from it. My red nail varnish is cracked and chipped, showing signs of the uncovered nail underneath. I imagine my lipstick is the same. Everything feels different now, like the façade of my existence has finally been revealed and I am finally exposed to the world for the profoundly lonely woman that I am.

Around me are unoccupied chairs. When I cast my eyes upon them I see ghosts of my students staring back at me intently. Some of them are working hard, scribbling in their notebooks while others are simply waiting for the hands of the clock to move around until they can be free again. I’ve seen so many lives pass through this classroom and for the last twenty years mine has been the one constant that holds it all together. This school, this room, is my entire world and I am caught inexorably in its orbit with no chance of escape.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

I first got into teaching because I wanted to open students’ minds and teach them about the things I was passionate about; poetry, plays, novels and the great writers that had blessed the world with their presence throughout the years, from Homer to Shakespeare to Byron. From Dickens to Conan Doyle to Maugham and onwards to the more modern writers like King, Martin, Rothfuss and more. Through their writing they left an indelible mark on the world that ensured they would be remembered for…

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