“Wow hey Liz! How are you? It’s been so long and you still look good. I see that you’re not on Facebook a lot so here’s my number. Give me a call or text.“
The ‘you still look good’ and ‘here’s my number’ should have been red flags. But I was just so excited to hear from Quincy, my old seventh grade student from 20 years ago through Facebook message. I remembered him as a quiet, good-natured kid. He struggled sometimes due to his mild hearing loss and learning challenges but he worked hard. He was a friend to all, as I recall.
“Quincy! Omg! It’s so good to hear from you! Such a long time. I remember you were so funny. You had that dry sense of humor. How long has it been? Where did you go to high school?” I thought these were typical questions that a long-ago teacher would ask a long-ago student. But Quincy, age 32 or 33 now, seemed disinterested in this type of chit chat. Instead..
“You look the same, Liz,” followed by a wink emoji. He did share that he has a son, Taz, which again I tried to gush over.
“Taz. Such a strong, beautiful name. Update me. This year has been such a challenge. Were you able to keep working?”
“Yes. It has been a tough year for me. I’ve been through a lot so right now I’m not working. I do live alone. LOL you was the best Liz. I remember you like it was yesterday.”
Then I recounted a story to him about him looking down on my head while I was on the computer. I had a hair appointment after school so yeah, roots were showing… “and then you said, ‘Miss Henry, you old shoes. Look at them gray roots. You old shoes.’ I didn’t know whether to laugh or kill you Quincy.”
“LOL. Wow that’s crazy because now I love women with gray roots. LOL ain’t that something?”
And then it started to get weird. I shared that we live in Connecticut now and I was a grandmother of 3.
“My husband and I.”
“Oh wow you are married? I thought he passed away or something. I have to stop being so kind to you then.”
Wtf? went through my mind. What does that mean he has to stop being so kind to me?
“How old are you now?” was his next question.
“I’m in my 60’s, Quincy. Old shoes.”
I was trying to keep this light but I was starting to feel the slightest bit uncomfortable.
“Gotta go babysit Quincy. Good to hear from you. Keep in touch.” And I thought that was the end of it. Until the next morning.
“Good morning. I don’t want to scare you Ms. Henry (now I was Ms. Henry?) but one thing I do remember is looking at your big butt everyday and when you wore a certain type of pants I used to see your panty line omg you had me feeling a certain type of way. SMH”
Okay now this had officially gone off the rails but I tried to salvage some semblance of boundaries. “Inappropriate” was my one word response. I guess it wasn’t sufficient.
“Yeah, I thought it would be but I have one question and I’ll stop. Do you still have a big butt?” And with that I had to block Quincy and in spite of his completely out of bounds comments and questions I felt bad.
Quincy, Why? Why did you think it was okay to say these things to your teacher? You’re 33 now, you know better. Instead you chose to taint my memories of you, my lovely, fond memories of you by violating boundaries you never should have. I’m not angry. I’m sad. I wish you’d stayed the sweet, quiet 13 year-old laughing at your ‘old shoes’ teacher’s gray hair.