The Kiss

And then he kissed me. He was my grade five teacher, Mr. Woodward. It was not a peck on the cheek, but smack-dab wet on my lips. I was ten years old. I never told anyone.

I had stayed after school to help him clean up. Perhaps he asked me to, I don’t remember. I wiped the chalkboard and placed fresh white chalk on the ledge so it would be ready for the next morning. The air was redolent with fine particles of chalk dust.

My teacher had also taught my older brother a few years earlier. My mother invited Mr. Woodward to dinner, he became a friend of the family. After we moved to Canada from New York, he came to visit and stayed with us for a few days. I remember him sitting at one of the swivel chairs in our avocado-coloured kitchen.

I didn’t tell my parents because it didn’t seem so strange for a teacher to thank me by giving me a kiss. Even though it felt kind of funny, I think it was an innocent kiss. But when I told my daughter and step-daughters about it fifty years later, they thought it constituted sexual assault. Times have changed.

Published by medelson64

Miriam Edelson is a neurodivergent social activist, settler, writer and mother living in Toronto, Canada. Her literary non-fiction, personal essays and commentaries have appeared in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, various literary journals including Dreamers Magazine, Collective Unrest, Writing Disorder, Palabras, Wilderness House Literary Review and on CBC Radio. She was a finalist in the Pen 2 Paper nonfiction contest, the Women on Writing contest, the Fiction Literary Review and Writers Digest contest. Her first book, “My Journey with Jake: A Memoir of Parenting and Disability” was published in April 2000. “Battle Cries: Justice for Kids with Special Needs” appeared in late 2005. She completed a doctorate in 2016 at University of Toronto focused upon Mental Health in the Workplace. “The Swirl in my Burl”, her collection of essays, is forthcoming in April 2022.

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