When I first started teaching, when students asked the usual “how old are you?”, and when I replied with the usual “Guess?”,
The answers I got mainly ranged around 20 – 23, which was quite close to the truth. Some even guessed me to be 18 or 19, which was not necessarily a good thing, because when secondary school kids perceive you as only a few years older than them, things may not always go smoothly.
Then, around the beginning of this year, (only) my 4th year in service, I began to notice things about myself. Things that weren’t so obvious in earlier years.
The tiredness. The fatigue. The eyebags. The lines. Small, but lines, all the same. And the tiredness. The overall tiredness.
I also began to notice that the new batch of students who asked me the same question of me and got the same reply from me would proceed to give me figures that ranged a little higher. Some guessed 25-30. Some said “30+?” hesitantly (sigh). Some said “You can’t be more than 25”, which of course made me relatively happy.
Today, a group of girls in the Sec 2 class expressed such shock and surprise when I told them no, of course I’m not married.
(At the same time I was thinking… Do I need to explain to them what the salutation “MISS” means???)
“But… Cher! Surely you’re engaged?!”
Inside I was sighing, thinking that the years of work must have worn me down so much that I now look like I’m of confirm-marriageable age, and no longer the age of the young and carefree.
“But Cher, you’re so pretty! And nice! Surely you must at least have a boyfriend?!”
“No. But…” a smile crept across my face.
“Thank you for the compliment.”
I know, I am such a vainpot >.<