Standing on the subway platform, I felt someone tap me on the shoulder.
I turned around to find a skinny teenager standing there. She was grinning at me through a mouthful of braces.
"Do you remember me, Miss Sally?"
It took me a minute, but thank goodness, I did remember her. She was a former student from "my" school in Franklin. I even managed to come up with her name. "Irene*!" The grin got wider.
I asked where she was going. She told me that she had been waiting on the other platform because she was going in the opposite direction. When she saw me, she ran upstairs, crossed over, and came down on my side to greet me.
We had a short conversation in English before my train pulled in. Her English was quite good and she seemed to understand me perfectly.
A few years ago, when I was teaching English in New York, I had a Korean student. I always had trouble pronouncing Korean names, but this young woman, like many of them, had adopted an "American" name.
She had chosen "Eunice." I have no idea why she had decided to call herself Eunice, but she was indeed a budding actress and reminded me of Carol Burnett.
On the final day of Eunice's class, I took them on a field trip to Brooklyn. We walked over the Brooklyn Bridge to begin our adventure and we explored DUMBO before standing in line for 45 minutes in sweltering heat to eat pizza at Grimaldi's.
Exhausted, we took the train back into the city. As we pulled up to Grand Central where the students were disembarking, Eunice turned, gave me an enormous bear hug, and gushed, "I will never forget you."
And I will never forget you, Eunice. Nor you, Irene. And that makes putting up with all the politics and most of the drama absolutely worth it.
*not her real name