CHAPTER NINETEEN: THE ANNOUNCEMENT
It was with burning shame that he summoned the courage to softly knock on the door of the Principal Joseph Davis.
“Come in” came his thick, deep voice.
He went and stood inside in a reverential disposition.
“Mr. Wright, right?” he said, laughing at his own joke.
“Do sit down sir. How have you found the college so far?”
“Thank you. Sir, I need to talk to you about an important matter”.
“I am resigning and I have stated the cause in this letter. I also want to tell that I am very thankful to you for giving me the job and to answer your previous question, I have found the college very fascinating but recent circumstances make this decision inevitable”.
The principal was shocked by this statement and looked alternatively from the teacher to the envelope.
“Have you found a better job, sir?” he asked as politely as he could.
“No, sir. I am not leaving this job for a better one” Charles answered.
“Mr. Wright, do you know that employees have to give a notice three months prior their resignation”.
“Yes, yes, I do but if you read the letter, you will understand. I do not leave by choice but because I have to and after you read the contents, you yourself may dismiss me as unworthy of service” he told him, with his head bent down, each word rending a searing pain of shame in his heart.
The mysterious letter was far too intriguing to await ceremony so the principal tore it open and started to read with an intense look on his face. As his reading progressed, his face changed expressions, now to surprise, now shock, then confusion again.
“You have had a love affair with one of your students and wish to marry her?” he asked him incredulously.
“Though I do not say this in my defence, and only to explain to you that I did not wish to disappoint you, I am saying this, it was completely unplanned. I never had any intentions for such a thing to happen”.
“Mr. Wright. I cannot believe it so easily. I know what sort of a person you are and have had high regard for you. I have also heard the opinions of your colleagues about you. You seemed a very respectable person, too respectable to be capable of developments like this. Now, be truthful to me. You are a learned person with highly intellectual interests and would never approach any of your students with romantic sentiments. Wasn’t this all the doings of a certain very impressionable student, one Ms. Jennifer Brett?” he said, looking down at the envelope.
“Whatever the reasons or cause for this whole problem may be, the dire truth is that it has happened and it is no fanciful phase of a student. It may well be that, but even so, it seems too sincere and earnest to be so”.
“And no doubt she tried emotional blackmail on you, appealing to your honour and compassion. My dear sir, college students, especially young women, at this age, are full of passion. They would do anything to make their conquest successful. It is not the prospect of heartbreak that grieves them so much as their lack of attractiveness; this may all be to prove that a silly whim of her could come true because she has exceptional charming skills. She may not even love you fully. Now, sir, I am a very broad minded person. This is no reason for you to leave our college. You are an exceptional scholar with brilliant teaching skills and it would be a shame to lose you all owing to the drama of a wayward student. Tut, tut, you needn’t intercede on her behalf, I hold her to no blame, as Shakespeare once said, “I will not to the marriage of true minds, admit impediments”. It does not bother me or anyone else among the staff except a few conservative people that you have fallen in love with a student. Love is such an uncertain yet impelling sentiment, I view you as the victim rather than the assailant. I find it amusing that you should be so affected over such developments. There is just one thing I want to ask you. Do you truly love her or are you accepting her for her sake and for sympathy’s sake?”
He paused as if he found this question very hard to answer.
“I am fond of her in a way, she is special and unique and she truly loves me but I have reached this decision solely on my own” he answered gravely.
“Do you feel you will be happy with her? Would you have a meaningful and pleasant married life with her?” he pressed on.
“I hope I can, she is still very childish and given to fancies and mood changes. But all this, I cannot help and what I can change, I will. The bare truth is that she loves or thinks she loves me so much that she cannot be without me and I may unconsciously have entertained her romantic ideas and it shall weigh heavily on my conscience if I desert her after all this. I have tried explaining to her, rationalising with her, and being compassionate and patient with her but she will not and cannot accept this and over time, her character has also made me regard her more affectionately than all my other students. If she is at fault, I am as much to blame. She made these advances in very early stages, if I could have been more sensible, I would immediately have left the place so that it would stop at that but with continued contact with her, she finds it harder and harder to wean away from her love for me”.
“Well then, my dear sir, I heartily congratulate you and hope you have a wonderful married life together. And what’s more, If I remember correctly, your former teacher, Mr. Christian Shannon, our choir conductor faced the same situation a few years ago, you know, and ended up marrying one of our students. I am touched by your honour and hope neither of you regret this decision. And my regards to the young woman too” he said cordially and shook Charles’ hand.