I didn't begin the first grade as one of Mr. Chapel's students. The original teacher I was assigned to was Mrs. Christiansen (that's Chris-tchee-AAn-sen), who, in short, terrified me. I don't remember exactly why, but I do remember that her classroom had no windows and I went home crying every single day.
Naturally, my mother had me transferred to this new dreamboat of a teacher. He was so very kind. Always making a point to say hello to me and giving me gummy bears. He also didn't mind when I decided to just hang out at the back of the line when the class had times table flashcard competitions. I could NOT handle that kind of pressure. (Not much has changed in that area. To this day, if you show me even one of those flash cards, I will collapse on the floor and my tongue will go numb. I hate times tables. Hate.)
Eventually, my first day in his class came to an end. I had my pink back pack on, all zipped up and prepped for the long walk to my mom's car on the other side of the street. I was lined up at the back door, ready to leap into freedom and spend the rest of the afternoon playing in dirt. Mr. Chapel, the angel that he was, knelt on a knee in front of me and put his hand on my shoulder.
Six-year-old Megan wasn't sure how to react, and so I stood there, wide-eyed and paralyzed. It was all that I could manage.
He smiled at me in all of his perfection and said, "G'bye Meg!"
He was just being a friendly, totally normal teacher, making sure that I felt extra welcome on my first day in a new class. But I, of course, interpreted this gesture as something exponentially more awkward than that.
At this moment, I fully expected him to lean forward and give me a goodbye kiss.
Because that's what all nice teachers do
I closed my eyes and puckered my lips in anticipation. A few seconds passed, and I vaguely remember losing my balance. This resulted in me somehow tripping while standing, which, up to this point, I wasn't even aware was possible. My eyes opened, and I saw Mr. Chapel's puzzled expression staring back at me.
I can only imagine what he must have thought at this point. What is this, a seizure?
He tried again, with the normal-ness, "...Goodbye, Meg!"
I was mortified. I don't even remember if I said anything back, I just know that I made my way out of that school as quickly as my little legs would take me.
This was sixteen years ago, over a full decade, and it still dominates in my mind as one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. And I guess my point is that I seem to have an infinite amount of space in my brain for storing memories like this one.
Also, any time that a relationship ended with me being dumped. Which was approximately 3 out of 11. But that's not bad, is it?