Flash in the Pan
A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights
Mr. Parker 1972
by Andrea Marcusa
Mom okayed staying at Jonathan's ski condo, if Mr. Parker chaperoned, since he'd won our high school Teacher of the Year award in '71. Our group of seven schussed the mountain by day and played Whales Tales at night. Mr. Parker sang every word of "How Can I Be Sure," and laughed when Tommy downed a bottle of Nyquil. He was cool about Emma and Patrick sleeping together. Lisa, Christine, Emmy and I thought Mr. Parker was cute. Sometimes it was hard to believe he taught boring high school biology. He flew down the slopes with us, his blond ponytail flapping out of his ski cap and shared his fries with us in the lodge cafeteria.
I didn't worry about what Mr. Parker would think that first night when I said goodnight to my steady boyfriend, Mark, with a long make out session. He wanted more but I'd have to face Mom back home and was a bad liar. (Only a few high school girls back then were doing it.)
The second night we all crashed early from a long day on the slopes, except for Chris who stayed up to finish the last beer, while Lisa, his girlfriend, snoozed upstairs. "That's when Parker came on to me," he said in a whisper to us early the next morning as we crowded in the kitchen over mugs of coffee. Parker slept in.
A few months later, Emma's Dad left her Mom, grew his hair to his shoulders, then danced way too close with me at our parties. But it was cool. Everyone knew I was with Mark. People said Emma's Dad was just finding himself. If that was so, why did his hips pressing into mine feel so sick?
At my prom, I chugged some rum and disappeared behind the school for a smoke with Tommy. We made out there, standing between the cars, while Mark looked all over the gym for me. That ski trip with Parker marked the beginning of it all. Or maybe just the end.
Andrea Marcusa lives in New York City with her husband and two sons. Her work has appeared in Newsday, The Christian Science Monitor, New York Woman among others. Her essay, "Gliding Away," won first prize in the 13th annual Tiny Lights personal essay contest.
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