• Mathura Hawley

education

Updated: Aug 1, 2021


One day, I heard his voice as I was about to open the freedom door. "Hawley!" The monster yelled, and I almost fainted. "Come into my office, I want to talk to you." "

Sometimes, the night before the days when I would have high school gym class, I would jump out of my sleepless bed and vomit from fear. My jealous and insecure jock brother had spent years paralyzing me with reassurance of my inabilities, which I later found out were mostly untrue. I craved to be physical during the school year like I was each summer between, when I played softball, tennis, and biked with neighborhood friends. We had no actual physical education "teachers" in our schools, just coaches pretending to "teach," with old fashioned drill sergeant techniques and competitiveness wrapped in their inflated small town egos. One coach in particular singled me out as everything he hated, and would call me names and humiliate me, sometimes placing me into the shirtless "skins" ball team to make his "boys" laugh. I finally discovered a way to sneak out along the wall of the gym, about half-way through each of his classes, after he would tire of yelling obscenities and sit back in his chair. I got away with it for months, crouching down under bleachers, and shimmying my 300 pounds quietly around lockers and even under stalls, escaping to the outer doors like a beaten prisoner. One day, I heard his voice as I was about to open the freedom door. "Hawley!" The monster yelled, and I almost fainted. "Come into my office, I want to talk to you." Pale and sweating, I opened his door and sat down across from him, awaiting my punishment. "How are you?" he asked. "Um..." I said. "I want to talk to you about your weight," he said, in an oddly caring voice. "Um..." I said. "Listen, I can help you," he purred , reaching over and putting his big hand awkwardly on my quivering shoulder. "Um..." I said. He smiled, showing teeth I had never seen before, and pulled a big plastic canister from the bottom drawer of his desk. "I can sell you this weight loss powder...but it will have to be our little secret!"


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