I got to my school safely, surprisingly. A bit late, but in the classes I’m taking it wouldn’t have mattered if I hadn’t shown up at all until the very end of class to turn in my work and then walked right back out again. For that same reason, even though I know I make people terribly uncomfortable, my teachers love me…or rather my intellect.
I stopped the car, parking it while doing so. I took a moment to compose myself then got out and hurried quickly to my first period class, History of History, basically. I walked in and noted that everyone seemed a great bit disappointed that I had come to class and then I hear, “Miss. De Marco…nice to see you have come to your last class in my History class…it is both an honor and a shame that you only had to stay here a short while to learn all that I could teach you, but please if you wish to visit make sure you’re on time instead of how you are as a student in my class,” a very wispy and frail looking old man stated in a strong and a bit of a scratchy voice.
Mr. Marcuzo looked intimidating if you couldn’t read right through his act…he is a sweet tempered old “gentleman” with a heart of gold, even with the look of disapproval showing on his face now, as he was looking at me. But, his kindly eyes were laughing at this whole situation. This was the first and only time I had ever been late to his class and he knew it, though the other students may not have thought so. I just grinned before I hid it and nodded solemnly then went quietly to my regular seat trying desperately not to laugh.
By the time class was out I had taxed myself control to the max and my sides ached with something beyond pain from trying not to laugh the whole time. I walked over to Mr. Marcuzo’s desk after the other students had left so that I could say my final good-bye to him in my own way. When Mr. Marcuzo turned his expressive eyes upon me I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t meet his eyes all the way they were too intense, they held something in them like they were all knowing. I cleared my throat, more as something to distill some of the intensity in the room than anything else.
Mr. Marcuzo smiled then, eyes sparkling once again, and all in the world seemed to be right once more. Those all knowing eyes gone, banished as though a terrible nightmare by the light of the sun. Maybe I had hallucinated the whole thing because of my nerves being so twisted and frayed by this morning’s events with Susan coupled with the fact that I was going to miss school…well, at least this class.
“Catrine, I know that…I have pushed you this semester, and for that I thought I might give you something for it and your graduating so to speak with your Doctorates,” Mr. Marcuzo spoke softly as he placed a small jewelry box in my hands then said, “now, if you don’t mind I have to scamper off to do some things before my next class, I hope to see you again next year every now and again for a quick hello, you hear me?”
I smiled up at him and noticed for the first time that he had some fear in his eyes. I knew it wasn’t from me, for some reason I didn’t affect him like it did others, in fact he treated me like the daughter he had never got to have. So, you could imagine how bewildered I was to see fear in his eyes. I wanted to ask what was wrong but something in the way he held himself said without saying that that was not a subject he could nor would talk about. So, I nodded and with an unsure voice sort of said and questioned, “I understand, Mr. Marcuzo. I’ll see you and your wife later on this week though, for diner at my new home, right?”
He gave me a small smile after glancing at his watch and said, “Of course, but I think it’s time that both of us left don’t you?”
“Yes, I think so too, see you later,” I said febblely and followed him out of his classroom. While waiting for my next class I opened the small jewelry box. I found a small but very lovely pendant, a silver cross carefully crafted with a rose twined around it, on a silver chain and a folded piece of paper inside. After securing the necklace around my neck, I took out and unfolded the piece of paper to find a rather long note scrawled in Mr. Marcuzo’s beautiful handwriting. The note read:
I’m sorry for the hasty departures from you, but I must see to some things…some for your protection and others for my wife’s and my protection. No, I really didn’t know that I’ve have to depart from you so quickly, I don’t even know if that question was going through your mind. I hadn’t realized that what…and more to the point who I was involved with would fall upon you, the daughter… I have always wanted and never had… I’m so sorry to get you into this, I’ve tried to keep you out of this but all I’ve tried, I’ve tried in vain. Catrine, I don’t know if you’ll heed my warnings or if you’ll even believe this old fool who has gotten you into a very sordid mess…but Catrine beware of any new face that tries to get to know you, watch even those whom you have seen. I truly hope that you heed my warnings…
…From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were-I have not seen
As others saw-I could not bring
My passions form a common spring-
… And all I lov’d-I lov’d alone-
Then-in my childhood-in the dawn
Of a most stormy life-was drawn-
From ev’ry depth of good and ill
The mystery that binds me still-
Form the torrent, or the fountain-
…From the sun that round me roll’d
In its autumn tint of gold-
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass’d me flying by-
From the thunder, and the storm-
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
-Of the demon in my view.
~Edger Allen Poe~
I hope that you will have cause later on to think me the crackpot that I sound, but for now please, heed my warnings.
I pray to see you later this week for dinner,
And with that the note ended, it startled me though that Mr. Marcuzo would think I was in danger and that anyone would want to get to know me. After reading it a second time, I glanced at my watch hastily put the note and jewelry box into my bag and walked to my next class. For the rest of the afternoon until about the time I had arranged my classes for a brake I had not thought about What Mr. Marcuzo had said in the letter. But, when my brake came a series of very strange events came with it to remind me of very quickly of what it had said.