It was beginning to be a daily ritual for Jaz and me to stand at my locker outside Tad’s room talking. Well, it was mostly her talking and me trying to not poke my own eyes out. She talked about the latest gossip, which I never really had much interest in, and then she talked about whatever Tad had decided to put on for the day. I admired him as much as she did, but I did it in my head. Today Tad stood outside his classroom with a smirk on his face as he watched Jaz and me talking. He could tell I was annoyed and was drawing a lot of amusement out of it. I was trying my hardest not to break out into a wild smile and stick my tongue out at him. When the bell rang he turned on his heel and began to go into his classroom.
“Ugh…I seriously hated that Shakespeare crap Knightley made us read. I don’t even want to know what he’s going to torture us with next. I would never have taken this class had I known it would be like this,” Lily remarked as she walked past, and I knew Tad had heard because he had stopped, his muscles stiff in agitation.
“Yeah, Lil, but come on—eye candy!” her friend retorted.
“You know Mr. Knightley has ears, right?” I shot at them as I tried to put on my best mean girl face.
Lily blushed, and I watched as Tad’s shoulders relaxed with silent laughter. I knew however, that Tad would not just ignore what Lily had said. When the class had filled, he clapped his hands and held them together with pause before speaking. “I’d like to thank Lily and her friend for the comment on my good looks, but apparently my teaching isn’t as interesting. Yet, somehow I think you might want to pay attention in class today,” he said, and the class burst into laughter but grew silent at his serious face as he continued, “So we did that fun music assignment at the beginning of the school year.” Tad pointed towards me. “Vera, what were you listening to this morning when you drove in? I could hear it from here.”
I smiled. “August Burns Red.”
“I believe the song was Existence?”
“You’d be right.”
“Seriously, hot,” the kid in the front row commented, and Tad kicked his desk.
“Do you have the song on you right now?” Tad asked.
“Would you mind playing it? And writing the lyrics along with it?” Tad pulled the speakers from his desk drawer, and I stood to go to the front of the room. I knew what he was doing and wrote a quote on the board before I handed Tad my cell phone. As our hands touched butterflies erupted in my stomach. “How many of you actually understood the songs that some chose that were metal? And did you instantly decide it was angry and tune it out?” he asked as he hit play and some of the girls in the room tried not to cringe. I turned my back to them and began to write the words of the song. When the song finished Tad let the words sink in. “’In our prejudice may we find understanding that dissuades hate and forms love.’ Vera, you could not have put it better. Do the rest of you now understand? Do you feel the same as you did at first, or do you see what Vera meant by her quote?” he continued to question as he handed me my phone and nodded for me to go sit back down. “This kind of music resembles what we just finished studying—with the fact that if you don’t understand Shakespeare you will hate it.” His eyes found Lily, who sunk further in her chair. “This hate also predisposes some to not trying to understand. But if you only try, you will finally hear the words for what they are.”