The Unexpected Green
When class ended, I approached my teacher at his desk while everyone else gathered up their books and headed off to lunch. I put my religious textbook down on his desk and waited for him to realize that I was standing there, as he himself packed up his leather briefcase and shrugged on his tweed coat. When he finally noticed me standing there, a look of pure defiance in my eyes, he sighed and sat back down, picking up my book and flipping through it halfheartedly. “This looks like a perfectly acceptable book,” I remember him saying. “See? You’re getting the education that you should. Isn’t that good enough?” I wanted to tell him about the faded swastikas in my other book, erased from the pages but not from my memories. I wanted to tell him about how the kids in class weren’t interested in hearing about the diplomatic relations that prevented the U.S. from entering the war. I wanted him to show us how important it was to learn about this tragedy in the ways it had been presented to me, through firsthand accounts and through books that helped young learners relate. When I opened my mouth to tell him these things, however, he stopped me once more. “You should go to lunch now-it’s a beautiful day, I bet everyone will be eating outside.”With that, he stood back up and sidestepped me on his way out the door.