A TEACHER

He taught math at high school. When he retired he still kept going to school. He would sit in the staff room reading through the curriculum, syllabi, courses programs and the teachers’ worksheets and trying to start up conversations with his former colleagues during breaks. The colleagues were busy and the conversations turned out to be short. At monthly staff meetings he usually took the floor and spoke to the heedless audience about the improvement of the academic process until he was stopped by the chairperson. He thought he was “useful”, but they thought he was just a pain-in-the-neck.

With time his visits to school grew rarer and rarer, and, finally, he ceased going there. A couple of times I saw him in the streets of the town. Each time he pulled a trolley with some food from the market and his shirt in the back was wet. He lived with his wife. She was paralyzed and bed-ridden.

I saw the last of him one day at the university research library. He shuffled his way noisily into the reading hall with a stack of books in algebra, arithmetic, geometry in his arms… Graduate students raised their heads from their papers and stole curious looks at him. He didn’t notice anyone…  An old man with happy eyes…

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