(post originally written in March 2011)
Junior year of high school, I had an English teacher who was one of those people I really connected with although we had very little interaction outside or inside of class. There was no banter like I had with my Pre-Calc teacher. We didn't say 'hello' to each other in the halls. I never raised my hand in class and I knew very little about him except that he grew up in The Middle of Nowhere, Vermont. We both had a mutual respect for one another and that was enough.
Every time I see a Soren Kierkegaard quote I first think of my elusive teacher and then my father. After reading The Stranger in AP English, Dad introduced me to Kierkegaard. He wanted me to know that existential thought and a belief in a higher power were not necessarily isolated instances; You could have both. I'm not quite sure why I think of my Junior year teacher because I read Camus' book Sophomore year (something I just realized about 4 minutes ago). I guess we can't always trust our memories. This is proof.
In my head, I always thought he was the one who introduced me to a greater trust in myself but in actuality it was one of the most dry, cynical women I had ever known. I guess what Junior year English did was give me the confidence to use my mind or better yet, how to trust it.
I never expressed my gratitude to Mr. Ross. It was too uncomfortable for me. Silly, right? Part of me believes he would have been uncomfortable too but maybe not. Maybe I just tell myself that to make me feel better. He only stayed at West Morris Central for a couple of years. The last time I talked to anyone who knew him, she said he had received an offer somewhere else but not quite sure where. That was 5 years ago.
Sometimes when I think of that class, I wonder what he's up to but those thoughts quickly fade. It doesn't matter. If I have only learned one thing from Kierkegaard it is understanding the importance of the present. Mr. Ross served a purpose in my life but that was years ago. I'm not saying I wouldn't love to run into the man but I'm not out searching. I have other things to look for.