Tanya Paranoia 3 May 2011
by Mrs Monk
From her tone she might have said, "You murdered my Mother".
I was checked in at a checkout in Tescos. She was a chubby-faced girl with bleached blonde ironed hair looking at me intently.
She said, "You taught me English!"
I said looking for her name tag , "Oh,.... you are.....”
"Tanya!", she filled in the gap.
I stared into her face wondering why she had accused me of teaching her English.
She said, "I used to be a hairdresser before I started here, but they didn't pay me enough. They kept most of the money."
When she said this it turned over in my mind whether I had liked teaching this girl or not; had I thrown her out of the classroom? Had she thrown a pencil at me? Had I exchanged major blows with her mother on parent's night? Search, remember, fuck! I had no recollection of her.
"Oh that's right, it's you, Tanya. My, you've turned into a pretty girl, so tall, so ....... mature".
She put my stuff through the beeper.
"Are you going to ask my age? I am buying wine", I said failing to lighten the mood.
She said, "Are you still teaching? You must be retired by now."
I told her it was safe, I was no longer teaching, and passed the wine from belt to shopping bag.
"If you really want some cheap wine, go to ASDAs. They've got some really good Spanish Rioja".
“The best kind”, I said, "So you're a connoisseur?"
"I've had a few" she sniffed.
Finally bagged up, and paid up, I said goodbye.
Normally at this point when I come upon ex students of mine, they say something like, “You were such a great teacher,” and then laugh or giggle, but Tanya was different.
Tanya looked at me and said menacingly, “I know your name. It’s Monk.”
I began to wonder if Tanya could abuse my debit card details and if I would lose any Tesco loyalty points due to this encounter.