Chapter Eighteen

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Three Years Earlier

Despite the long hours spent wandering the Exhibition GO station, where Scott had seen his dead father walking around as live and as real as anyone else, he never spotted him again.

“Of course not,” Scott mumbled to himself on the third day that he had found himself scouring the area of the platform where he had spotted his father and walking, dejected, back down the platform and towards the parking lot adjacent to the ticket booth area under the elevated section of the Gardiner Expressway. “The man knew how to keep secrets from us his whole life. Of course he wouldn’t be stupid enough to go back to the place I had spotted him.”

It had most certainly been his father. Scott had been as sure of that as of anything he saw that he’d known for sure.

Confused and unsure where to turn, who to turn to – Scott didn’t, after all, really have any friends – he looked up somebody whom he hadn’t spoken with in several years. Mr. Prescott. His computer science teacher from high school.

He knew that Prescott lived in Toronto and had moved down there after he’d retired from teaching in order to be closer to his daughter and their family. Scott had seen his computer mentor briefly at his father’s funeral and learned that Prescott had made the long haul from Toronto up to Sudbury to offer his condolences to Scott and his mother.

So, confused and frustrated and needing someone to talk to, Scott looked up Mr. Prescott’s address and phone number. Even if they weren’t listed it wouldn’t have been hard for Scott to find them. And when he found the listing he grinned at the listing of the man’s name.

J. T. Prescott.

He knew that stood for James Timothy Prescott.

He also knew that the man went by “Tim” rather than by his first name. This was because it was a family tradition for every male in the Prescott family to be given the name of James. Thus, to eliminate confusion, those men went by their middle names.

Scott knew quite a bit about Mr. Prescott, because they’d spent so much time together. Prescott became more than just a good teacher, more than just the person who existed as a figurehead at the front of the classroom. Prescott had, unlike most of the other teachers Scott had, transcended that odd barrier in place between most students and most teachers.

Scott recalled that odd feeling, when he had first learned of Mr. Prescott’s first name. It was odd for students, even in high school, back in Scott’s day, at least, to think about their teachers as real people with full names.

For years, the education system had drilled into them that their teachers were Mr. This and Mrs. or Ms. or Madame That.

They never had full names.

They never had lives outside of the classrooms.

To the younger students, the teachers lived only for the classroom and couldn’t possibly have a life outside of that calling. The thought of a teacher being just another human, a person like one of your own parents was almost unthinkable.

Every once in a while, of course, there would be a teacher whose child was in the same class. And that threw the myth for a bit of a loop, because suddenly you’d find yourself imagining the teacher with a  life, with a family, getting up in the morning, fixing breakfast, making sure everyone was ready for school.

The same mystique was busted whenever Scott might see a teacher out in “the wild” – out in public in the grocery store or at the mall. It would be an awkward moment, seeing the teacher, not in a position of authority, but rather as a normal adult, wandering about the world just like anybody else.

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