I was on my way to the canteen to grab lunch, when she stopped me near the corridor. My head of department has always been an interesting character. Despite being twenty years my senior, with greying hair and wrinkled temples, she insisted that everyone call her ‘Miss Tan’. Partly because she was not yet married, according to her. Some of us wondered if she would ever, judging from the way that she treated others.
She was a character that almost everyone in our school hated. From both students and teachers alike.
My hungry stomach growled in protest, but left without much of a choice, I followed her willingly to her office. I wondered what did I do wrong again this time to deserve her wrath. I let my eyes wander around I walked behind her, filling the silence that hung awkwardly between us.
Visiting Miss Tan’s office, or Old Hag Tan, as how some of us call her, has always been a peculiar experience. For reasons that we cannot comprehend, Old Hag Tan has this strange fascination with cactus. Her whole office was filled with pots and pots of cacti, in every shape, size and species that you could imagine. Her desk was lined with rows of them, while one shelf in her office was dedicated solely to books on cactus and gardening. Walking into her office was like walking into a cactus minefield. One wrong step and you could end up covered in cactus thorns.
I pulled out the chair in front of her table, and sat on it. Like the rest of the room, the table had several potted cactus were neatly in a row on it. There was once when other teachers raised concerns about Miss Tan’s peculiar hobby but due to her seniority, the principal was powerless to do anything. My eyes studied the shape of the cactuses. not wanting to make eye contact with my head of department.
As she took her seat opposite me, I found myself in the uncomfortable situation of having to endure Miss Tan’s fixed gaze on me. Straight, unblinking gaze, which reminded me of a snake I once saw in a cartoon. I shifted uncomfortably in my seat. The few seconds felt like an eternity.
Satisfied with the effect she was having on me, Miss Tan raised both of her hands up and placed her elbows on the table. She crossed her fingers to form an archway, and rested her chin on her top. Her gaze never left me. “I’ve heard from the students sharing that you have been starting this new thing in class, called the Lord of the Class. What is this exactly?” Her voice was cold, emotionless, and business like. The inside of me went a little dead when I heard her mention that. It was something that I had hoped to keep as a secret a little longer.
P/s: Sorry this was one day late! Not that anyone is waiting, I guess