“Chad Parker, may I speak with you?” Mrs. Watt spoke low but harshly. She beckoned me with a finger.
I hesitantly walked to the front of the classroom, unfamiliar with her taking this severe tone. She led me to the classroom door, opened it, and ushered me through. “Outside please!” I couldn’t imagine what this was about. Mrs. Watt was always so amiable, but something had her visibly disturbed.
My family was often misunderstood. We were the only Mormons in town. I had heard that Mrs. Watt had been married to a Mormon once, though he was not a practicing member. From what I was told he was unfaithful and they had divorced. That could make anyone jaded, but I knew Mrs. Watt felt no animosity toward me or my family. In truth, Mrs. Watt probably knew how a Mormon was expected to act, better than anyone else would understand in that little town, and she vocally respected it. What I did not realize, however, is that Mrs. Watt may not have known how fully I espoused the doctrines of my church as being the way of life for me; it was not just an imposition of supposed strict parents like many often postured. Seems strange that I should have to remind someone that I know I am in no way perfect, but I certainly had not done what she was accusing me of either.
“Do you know why I called you out here?”
“I have no idea.” I quickly shook my head, concern spreading across my face.
“Your paper is exceptionally good. Too good!” My expression changed to confusion. Upon seeing this she explained herself. “I don’t think you wrote this paper.” She watched my countenance closely.
I stood aghast. My mouth opened but nothing came out.
“Did you cheat? Did your mom write this? This isn’t your work!”
I told the truth. I stayed up all night rewriting it over and over to get a good grade. She didn’t believe me, but with no proof to say I was lying she gave me the A+ the paper deserved.
Editor’s Note: “I feel to provide a disclaimer of sorts. My view is just one perspective that may or may not be shared by others. The portrayal is not intended to be the definitive source of said events, nor is one instance meant to define the characters of anyone portrayed here, as if it were a microcosm of anyone’s life. It is a simple memory, but it also can’t easily be safeguarded by simply changing names, as though those who knew me would not know I attended Covington High School, not know the story referenced or the players involved, and not have formed their own opinions about who each of us were then and even who we have become now. I take full credit for my telling as given above.” -Chad Parker