Trapped With My Teacher

By: Penny Wylder


The Storm

As I toss my bag into the trunk of my Mazda—the cute but impractical little rolling suitcase I bought because it’s perfect for weekend getaways like this—I take in a deep breath of crisp autumn air. Finally, I’m getting the escape I deserve.

Yes, it’s only two months into my senior year. Yes, I shouldn’t be feeling so burnt-out already. Normally I don’t feel this dead-in-the-brain until the end of the year, around finals time when I’m cramming my head full of every last date and detail I can possibly fit in there. But this year is an exception. I don’t know if the school sent out a memo saying “make sure every senior suffers a mental breakdown at least five times before graduation,” or if it’s just me who’s special, but something about this year is kicking my ass. And normally I’m one doing the ass kicking—at least when it comes to my education.

It’s not my fault. I’ve been stuck with the simultaneously most distracting and infuriating professor on the planet.

I sigh and slam the trunk shut on my suitcase, which contains all the essentials I’ll need this weekend. No books. No computer. I’m totally offline as of now. All I’m bringing are my cellphone—which I’ve vowed to only turn on in case of emergencies—and the warm and cozy thermal outfit selection I’ve set aside for this ski trip. That, and my ski mask, gloves, and custom pair of boots I had made because the rental boots never quite fit my ankles right.

As for the actual skis, I’ll pick those up on site. Daddy called ahead and had them set aside for me, so I know they’ll be waiting when I arrive.

As I climb into the driver’s seat of the car, I tap on the dashboard to call him.

“Just checking in,” I say cheerily as I punch the gas and maneuver out of the parking spot where my poor car has spent the last week idling, because I’ve been too busy holed up in the library to take it for a drive anywhere.

“Be safe, Corina,” Daddy replies, his voice like static over the car radio link.

“I always am,” I point out. I take a turn onto the main campus drive and resist the urge to flash my middle finger toward Thompson, the main building where I’ve spent most of my time so far this semester—and pretty much all of it focused on one class. One nightmare class. The main reason I need this dramatic getaway in the first place.

“And make sure you’re back before Monday,” Daddy continues, his voice going stern. “I already don’t like the idea of you taking time off this early.”

“It’s senior year, Daddy.” I try to keep my voice lighthearted. I didn’t let him know exactly why I wanted to use my once-a-school-year getaway card so early this year. I pretended it was because I was impatient to hit the slopes.

“I just don’t want you losing your focus.”

That, at least, makes me grin, if only sarcastically. “Daddy,” I say, “I’m a Driver. I’ve never lost my focus in the twenty years since the day I was born.”

He laughs, if reluctantly. “I gotta give you that one, Corina. Well, fine. But be careful out there. There’s a storm headed in later tonight—make sure you beat that to the resort.”

I roll my eyes. He’s always been overprotective. I was born and raised here in Colorado Springs—it’s not like this would be my first snowstorm. “I know, Daddy.” I hit end call and allow myself a small smile of amusement. Hard as he may be on me at times, I really can’t fault my father for anything he does. I understand why he wants me to be successful. He didn’t find his focus in life until the day my mother passed away, when I was still too young to remember her, and my older brothers were both off at college already. In that moment, he says, he realized all the mistakes he’d made. Now he wants me to succeed where he failed; to push myself to work harder, the way he does now.

“It’s the only way I can be sure you won’t fall down the hole that nearly trapped me,” he always says. And I believe him.

I just wish certain other people would believe his advice, too.

Other people like Professor Tony Lakewood.

I tighten my grip on the wheel and lay into the gas pedal ever so slightly harder at the thought of him.

Top Books