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The Math Teacher
“I’ll tell him when it’s time.”
By Yoga Arif Posted in Short Story on October 5, 2021 0 Comments 4 min read
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“His math is getting better,” Finn pointed out, “you taught him well.”

Vinka pours more wine into her glass, “Least I can do.”

“Pfft, yeah right.”

“C’mon, Finn. We’re not talking about this again.”

“I wasn’t going to, I was just telling you I noticed his math is getting better. But you’re drinking my hard-earned wine while I’m washing dishes near midnight and you bullshit me with that ‘least I can do’. Vee, the ‘least’ you can do can be a lot more than that.”

“Okay, I’ll stop drinking your wine and help you with the dishes, that’s what you want?”

“No. I want you to be his mom. The kid’s eight now and he’s yours, dammit. You’re here, he likes you, why not tell him?”

Vinka sighed, “You know damn well why I can’t.”

“I understand why you don’t want people to find out…but I don’t get why you won’t tell him. That’s all.”

Vinka wants to tell Sean. Every time she comes for his math lessons. Every time she looks into his wide eyes. Hell, every time she draws her breath she wants him to know she’s his mom. But she can’t. Not when telling him will risk everyone finding out.

This society is fond of single moms, but not if the kid is born out of wedlock. Finn is kind enough to claim Sean to be his son from his deceased wife back in his hometown since no one knows and cares enough to fact-check about Finn’s past.

Sean’s biological father is out of the picture, despite Vinka seeing him every day and Sean must’ve seen him in the movies or TVs. He’s too afraid of scandal, Vinka knows this. She also knows a scandal will hit her and Sean harder than it will hit that man.

For now, Vinka still holds on to her logic. Her instinct to care for Sean will have to settle for bi-weekly math lessons. That will have to suffice.

“I’ll tell him when it’s time.”

Finn didn’t reply. He just sighed, but that alone is enough to let both of them know that he meant to say ‘I can’t keep asking when.’

Honestly, Vinka knows someday she will tell Sean, but someday is still so far away. She hopes so. Maybe it’ll be the day when the math she has to teach becoming more complex than her truth. Trigonometry, maybe?

Someday it is. Vinka looks softly at Finn’s broad back. She is lucky enough Finn is willing to adopt and raise Sean. What would she do without Finn?

Midnight came about. Vinka doesn’t have the heart to drink all the wine, so she bids goodbye to Finn and tells him she will come back Thursday. Finn nods with a smile. Vinka lives three blocks away from Finn’s, but this part of the city is safe even after midnight. Finn doesn’t have to worry.

A cold, familiar hug of midnight welcomes Vinka as she steps out of the store and closes the door behind her. Finn keeps washing the dishes until he’s sure Vinka isn’t going to walk back in.

“I guess you still have to pretend, kid,” Finn said, without taking his eyes off his dishes. He knows Sean is there sitting on the stairs the whole time, “And I have to say, your acting is as good as your father.”

Sean scoffed, swallowed his disappointment the best he could because he thought tonight could be the night his mother tell the truth other than math. He stood up, “It’s not from him, Uncle Finn. It’s from her.”

Vinka acts really good whenever she’s with Sean. Like she’s strong enough to deal with this. All for her son and Sean knows this. So, he chooses to act like he knows nothing about his math teacher.

She’ll tell me when it’s time.

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