VTMAS No. 60: I’m Not Cleaning This Classroom
Picture courtesy of Pixabay.com by Werner22brigitte: https://pixabay.com/en/steinbach-mennonite-heritage-village-56641/
If you hang around me long enough, I am pretty sure you may know this story. It was one of those moments you suspect happens, but never think you would be able to catch people in the act. At this time in my life I was my mother’s janitorial assistant. There are no words to express how awkward it was being a high schooler and being the “janitor” to a rival school at 13 and 14 years old. Not exactly a teen girl’s dream, but I got paid and avoided flack from my mother thanks to it.
My responsibilities consisted of the private school sections of this particular Orlando-based school. I cleaned both top and bottom floors and the bathrooms for most of the place. Sweeping, mopping, trash duty, vacuuming are only a few of the main things I did in every room. I had a ring of keys, bandana on my head and kept my head low in hopes no one took notice of this unusually young janitor.
Like most jobs, I had started to recognize what classroom taught which subject as well as ran into the teachers on occasion. Many would mistake me for a student, but the speed in which I became the cleaning phantom after realizing I was there to work was frightening. It was starting to emerge on many days the two teachers I would run into was the Mrs. English teacher downstairs and the Mr. Geography teacher upstairs. Mind you, it was very clear they weren’t married to one another, but they had a tendency to be there long after even the rest of the staff had locked up and left.
In fact, I think there had only been two other teachers I had met in person, the music and art teacher who had stayed late for projects or prep for performances. After a while, it was starting to seem strange that an English and Geography teacher would need to be there so late and soon I would discover why.
I remember it so well, the day this discovered moment unfolded. Down to the last bit of the day, I had finished mopping the art room, on the second floor, and all I had left was to vacuum and clean out the ESOL room. By this point in my janitor career, I had memorized which key went to which door and moved with speed and accuracy through the routine. Unlocking the doors I walked in, unaware of what I would see.
Mrs. English was bent over the desk, her skirt lifted across the top of her hip and Mr. Geography was pressed up behind her with his pants around his ankles. I removed my headphones thinking, Maybe I shouldn’t listen to music anymore… I may have avoided this if I heard her grunting.
They paled as I glanced around the room, my only focus was my job not what they did behind locked doors. The room was exceptionally trashed today, so this was rather annoying for me. Looking back to the interlocked affair, and yes, they were married but not to each other, with a distasteful expression. Crossing my arms, I was trying to make a decision on the matter.
At this point she was covering her face and he was moving his mouth, but no words were coming out. I imagine it added insult to injury with me being the same age as some of their students, ha! With a great big sigh, I decided I would make a demand and what they did or didn’t do would be left in their hands.
“I’m not cleaning this classroom.” I declared, unmoved by the half naked teachers at the desk across from me. “You better clean this place up when you’re done.”
I turned and walked out, slamming the door behind me. When I returned to the janitor closet down the elementary school wing, my mother and her boss were chatting.
“Val, are you done yet? I’m ready to leave.” I sighed at the complaint from her lips.
“Yes and no.” I replied.
“Which is it?” Her boss lifted an eyebrow at me.
“I can’t clean the ESOL room.” I was rinsing out the mop bucket at this point, also ready to go home.
“Why not?” They had said it in unison.
With a nonchalant tone, I answered. “The English and Geography teacher are busy having an affair in there.”
“How do you know?” He laughed, thinking I was being a dramatic teen.
“Well, they don’t have the same last name and they have wedding rings.” Turning the water off and sliding the bucket in place, I looked him in the eye with a sheepish grin. “But he definitely had her bent over the desk banging away.”
I swear they took off running down the hall, wanting to “accidentally” discover this, but they had left at this point. As for the trash in the room, it was spotless.
“No fair…” Whine my mother on the drive home. “I’ve been doing this for years and YOU get to walk in on that!”
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