Dinner Means Goodbye to All
by Richard Brown
David was an
English teacher at a High School in the west. He
had such a good mastery of English that he had
won a great reputation for his teaching. He was
also ready to do anything for both the school and
the headmaster. For example, whenever the
headmasters bosses asked for an English
teacher to help the children with their English,
the headmaster would come to him for help. Even
if other teachers sometimes joked that David only
helped the headmaster to get promoted, David knew
deep inside that he didnt do it for himself.
One evening at
half past five whilst David was on his way home
from work, his mobile phone rang. He glimpsed at
the number. It was Peter, one of his colleagues.
David, we have been invited to dinner at The
Redbud Hotel. the voice said. The
other guests are already there, waiting for you!
David replied. But can you tell me who
parents and also Lisas parents who drove
here this morning specially to thank us.
Rose and Lisa
were cousins who had previously come to
Davids school to get better tutors.
Roses father worked as Mayor in the local
government, and so Lisa was asked to accompany
Rose even though the cousins lived very far apart.
The headmaster assigned four teachers to help
them with Maths, Chemistry, Physics and English,
so thanks to his reputation, David was in charge
of English. The two girls had stayed in the
school for almost a month but only David was told
that they would return home very soon.
good! David responded, and then a little
hesitant. I am sorry, Peter, but I am too
busy at the moment. Would you please tell them
that I cant come?
was not so busy but he would not like to be
present in public. He would rather stay quiet and
keep himself to himself.
have to come! Peter told him. Our
headmaster is waiting for you now!
David had no choice but to go. He turned and
walked back for a while and then crossed the
street, as the hotel was situated almost opposite
the school. When he entered the hall, he noticed
that there were more than ten people sitting
around the table, among whom were the three other
teachers, and beside Peter was the headmaster. At
the sight of David, Rose and Lisa rose from their
seats and so did their parents.
to meet you! The girls parents
greeted him. Please come and sit down!
all of you! David replied as he made for
this seat, wont you? the headmaster
said, pointing to the chair on his right near
Roses father. David believed Roses
father should be treated as the most revered
guest and so he kindly refused to sit next to him,
instead requesting that the headmaster move to
sit next to Roses father as a sign of
want to take my place? the headmaster said
with his face a little red, though smiling.
David said nervously. I didnt intend
to take your seat. I mistook this chair for a
normal chair as Id presumed you were moving.
fact that David looked very embarrassed, he took
the seat which the headmaster had initially
offered him. After that, the two girls
parents thanked the headmaster and the teachers
for their great help. At first the parents
toasted the headmaster and the teachers and then
the headmaster toasted the parents and the other
guests on behalf of the teachers.
Headmaster, said the Mayor, you must
feel very proud to have such excellent teachers.
true, I am, the headmaster replied.
truly proud of our excellent teachers, he
added. David is the best English teacher I
father nodded with a smile.
Now David felt
slightly uneasy. He lowered his head thinking
that the other teachers were also excellent. He
gave his thanks to the headmaster. Then they all
continued eating and drinking. It seemed that
everyone enjoyed the meal.
would like to make something known to you all,
slurred the headmaster after he had drunk a lot.
Somebody, I dont know who, has spread
the rumour that I have not visited the
teachers lessons. I am disgusted at this
accusation! They should shut their mouths unless
they wish to be severely disciplined.
His words were
unexpected and greatly shocked everyone present
at the meeting. A tremendous silence ensued in
which the only sound to be heard was the heaving
of the headmasters breath.
around the table was painfully uncomfortable.
Who said that about the Headmaster?
David asked himself. ...actually, come to
think of it, it is the headmasters duty to
visit the teachers in their classrooms.
the headmaster shouted suddenly, turning his face,
during the three days when the school
restaurant offered free food, you enjoyed all the
free meals and ate to your full, but now, when it
is to be paid for, you seldom go there.
embarrassed than before, David didnt know
what to do. He wondered why the headmaster would
make such a remark. He was sure that something
even more uncomfortable would soon happen or be
said, therefore, in order to avoid it, he
responded by saying that he had been to the
restaurant as often as possible.
sorry Headmaster, if my actions have angered you.
It seems you have lost your understanding of me.
I do not mean to offend. I simply work and live
the best I can.
As he spoke,
an idea formed in Davids mind. Why
has this happened? He has changed a lot.
Apparently, he no longer appreciates my work. I
must be careful not to get myself into trouble.
said about the Headmasters outburst and so
the eating and drinking continued. Once all food
and drink was consumed the headmaster took up his
cup unsteadily. I say, our beloved Mr.
Mayor, he said, completely drunk,
thanks very much for being so generous. I
hope that, Rose and Lisa will come to our school
again. You are always welcome to our school.
David put in, now you have become students
of our school too! Wherever you go, please
remember your time here!
will. replied the two girls simultaneously
almost in one voice, which made the whole table
It is a
little late. said the headmaster.
Lets stop here. Thanks for the feast!
One by one
they left the dining room, the headmaster at the
front and David at the very back. The girls
parents and the other guests said goodbye to the
headmaster and then made their way home. However,
the headmaster and the four teachers were about
to walk across the road when two students passed
unbelievable news! one shouted out.
it? the other asked.
headmaster has been appointed to be head of
another high school.
its true. I couldnt believe it at
the headmaster want to leave his job here?
to go because it is said that in the past few
years he has spent all his time and money on the
school building and surroundings, and drastically
neglected the quality of the students
education. The dissatisfaction of the school
leaders and the public has finally become too
much for his reputation to stand.
I didnt know.
drunk very little during the banquet and so
caught every word clearly. He was astonished and
paused for a moment. Soon it all dawned on him.
What the headmaster had said, how he had treated
David, all of it was because he had been removed
from his job and was taking his anger out on
bye. the headmaster said brokenly.
It is high time we went back home. Goodbye.
David knew the
time had come for them all to depart and for him
to head home. He said goodbye to everyone, shook
the headmasters hand for the last time and
walked through the school gate, relieved and
excited at the prospect of a new Headmaster