The Story of Ms. Cinderella
WIth Ms. Shang Tsung’s departure, the School of Peace was left short one English teacher. To replace the young first year girl who couldn’t handle the pressure, they hired as a mid-year replacement…another young first year girl. It doesn’t make sense at first, I know, but in retrospect I’m sure this was less for the students, and more for the teachers – to give the old women someone to boss around, and the middle-aged guys someone to flirt with and dream of cheating on their wives on.
I found this situation especially bad because, unlike the previous teacher who at least seemed experienced, this new girl was actually quite timid. The best I can describe her is – take the most timid, introverted girl you know…then imagine locking her in a closet for five years, only feeding her Slim Jim’s and rice krispie treats. …That was this new girl. However, despite having a personality that had all the ferocity of a lab mouse, she did have one major thing going for her – she was really, really cute. And in Japan, if you are female and cute, you can do any and everything up to (and maybe including) getting away with axe murder.
Aside from her cuteness, this new girl was strong at least, because she managed to do the job that Ms. Shang Tsung abandoned. She also revealed to me the true reason behind Ms. Shang Tsung’s mental breakdown. The “official” reason was that she wasn’t getting along with her students. However, watching the new girl, it became clear that the problem lied in the teachers room. She got ordered around all the time, especially by one old lady in particular. It was a lot like watching Cinderella get bossed around by her wicked step-mother. Sometimes, we’d be in the middle of planning a lesson, and the Wicked Obasan would come over and order Ms. Cinderella to do something, and despite the fact that she doing her own work, she’d have to drop everything and abide by Obasan’s wishes. Once, we were on our way to class and Ms. Cinderella casually said she had five out of six classes today. I told her that seemed pretty rough, but she shook her head and said “No…..class is the one place where I get to relax.”
Ms. Cinderella seemed to have a thing for me.
Whenever talking to me, she was always really nervous and figetdy (well…more so than usual). Sometimes I’d catch her staring at me from the top of her books on her desk. And she’d always make these little excuses to talk to me, at first asking some innocent question about classes and then diving into personal matters. Now, I didn’t come to Japan just to hook up with my cute female coworkers. …If I wanted to do that, I would have worked at an English conversation school where women *pay* to get seated in front of Mr. Foreign English Teacher and then drop heavy hints that if he were to give her some “additional” schooling, she’d be *very* thankful for it. I’m strongly against dating co-workers, especially in Japan where gossipping is the national pastime (what, you thought it was sumo?) and ESPECIALLY in my case where I can’t pick my teeth without five different people knowing exactly what I’d eaten for dinner. And if the students were ever to get word that two of their teachers were dating, it would lead to pure and absolute chaos.
There were times when I was sorely tempted though.
One such time, she came by my desk in the afternoon and told me she wanted to do a lesson plan. “But, I think maybe we can’t work well with this small space” she says. I take a look at my desk – my extra wide office desk, upon which the only contents are my small cup of apple tea and a small puddle of drool from where I’d fallen asleep somewhere around 4th period. …Okay. Since my desk is so “small”, she suggests we go work in the Multi-Purpose Room. …The Multi-Purpose Room is a large enclosed space that, unless being specifically used for something, no one would think to go to. Especially in the middle of the afternoon when everyone is in class. …Multi-Purpose indeed.
We got to the Multi-Purpose Room, and Ms. Cinderella wasted no time in closing the curtains, not only effectively making whatever was going on inside of the room completely hidden, but lowering the overall light level as well. …I began to look around for cameras, a director who failed out of art school, and the dude wailing away on the cheesy synthesizer set, because surely I’d walked into the Porno Universe or something. A young male teacher and a very cute young, timid female teacher, all alone in the darkened “Multi-Purpose Room”…..it had hot, forbidden work sex written all over it. …Unfortunately though, all we did was, actually, do lesson plans.
And yes, I said unfortunately. I know it’s a bad idea to screw around with co-workers, ESPECIALLY on the grounds of a public school while the students are actually in class. I know all this, but you have to realize that in these terribly crucial moments the brain just fails. Utterly, completely, totally, fails. I know for the girls out there this is a bit difficult to understand, but you have to trust me on this one. It goes a little something like…
Penis: …Hold on, my Wiener-Sense™ is tingling…I feel the possibility of a sexual encounter.
Brain: C’mon, this is such a bad idea, I mean, she’s a co-worker, this is a school…
Penis: Blood, blood, blood! I need me some blood! Where can I get some blood!
Brain: Hey, are you listening to me? You’re only asking for trouble.
Penis: Hey, you’ve got blood don’tcha?
Brain: Now hold on, I object, I –
Penis: Quiet you, you’re no longer necessary *takes Brain’s blood*
Brain: …Mmmmm, boobies.
So, while I did think she was cute and there was perhaps a mild attraction between us, nothing came of it. I flirted with her occasionally, but only out of fun. I sometimes wondered though if the students picked up on it, as they often hit me with rather cryptic messages. I’d joke around with a group of girls about wanting to marry some famous Japanese celebrity, and the girls would say something like “Oh, you better not say that in front of Ms. Cinderella though.” After all the nonsense happened with my ex-girlfriend, I was talking to the student I’d nicknamed Glenda one day, and she said something to the effect of “but you know, you really have to be careful, because girls lie a lot, especially us Japanese girls. …By the way, what do you think of Ms. Cinderella?” On Ms. Cinderella’s chalk case, she had a purikura of a couple of guys. I was always curious as to who they were, but never curious enough to ask. One day after a class, some girl students came up to talk to us, and one of them pointed out the chalk case. “Do you know who that is?” The student asked me. I confessed ignorance, and just as I thought to look at the chalk case again Ms. Cinderella had snatched it away like a biscuit in front of a starving Ethopian. “Oh, just some friends from university” she said. “I haven’t seen them in ages. This is really an old chalk case.” “Friend, huh? I feel bad for your ‘friend'”, the girl says, and gives both me and Ms. Cinderella a sly look before dashing away.
After only a year and a half at the School of Peace, Ms. Cinderella was transferred to another school. I was surprised to go in one day and April and find her no longer there. She’d never said anything that even hinted at the possibility that she might be transferred. I sent her a cell phone email wishing her luck on her next assignment and what not, but I never got a response.
A few months later, I was talking to the head English teacher, and somehow Ms. Cinderella came up. The teacher said she wished she had Ms. Cinderella’s contact info, because she’d become quite fond of her and wanted to see how she was doing. I casually mentioned that I had her cell email, but I wondered if she’d changed addresses because I tried emailing her and never got a response. The English teacher then said something that actually, genuinely shocked me. “Hmm, but maybe it would be hard for her to answer your email, since she has a boyfriend.”
Say what now?
In all the time I’d known her, she’d never, ever even remotely let on that she had a boyfriend. Teachers, young teachers in particular, usually try to keep their personal lives a secret from the students (which is a wonderful idea), but I’d gotten the impression from her that she didn’t even know what men were. Like, you could slap her in the face with your cock and her response would be “hey, why do you have a finger down there?” Come to think of it, I can actually remember her saying, specifically to me and with no students even remotely present, that she didn’t have a boyfriend and was pretty lonely.
Interestingly enough, the English teacher seems just as shocked that I was unaware of Ms. Cinderella’s boyfriend. “How could you not know?” She asks me. “I mean, he was all she ever talked about. Just about everyday, I think. One day, they had a big fight and the next day, she came to school in tears.” …I remember that day, actually. I’d asked Ms. Cinderella what was wrong…and she’d told me that a family member died and she didn’t want to talk about it! I told the teacher that not only had Ms. Cinderella never mentioned a boyfriend to me, but it always seemed as though she was single. The teacher digs around in her memory a bit. “That’s quite odd, I mean she always talked about him. …But come to think about it, she never talked about him during the weeks that you came to our school. That’s quite odd, isn’t it?”
…Yes. One might say that’s “quite odd” indeed.