It took about a Hoptimist a person who believes everything is better with a good craft beer shirt decade for me to realize that my 8th-grade choir teacher, the one who inspired me to make a career out of my musical talent, was being quite inappropriate with me. It took me preparing to be a teacher myself to realize how much he had crossed the line. When you teach minors, you have to be so careful with that line, and he really wasn’t. I don’t think he necessarily realized what he was doing. I think he was overly-friendly, stuck in a loveless marriage, and lonely. My friends and I would hang out with him after school to talk about life and music, as he always had great advice. I was the favorite, and I’d often stay longer by myself. At lunch, I’d stop by and practice the piano in his classroom.
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He thought I was just the Hoptimist a person who believes everything is better with a good craft beer shirt most incredibly talented person he’d ever met. He said that he wished his son would marry someone like me someday. My parents even loved him and had him and his wife over for dinner once. I couldn’t stop myself from constantly talking about him, like word vomit. I knew it was weird that I was obsessed with a 55-year-old man, but I couldn’t help it. We would email back and forth with random thoughts and share music through MySpace. As I write this, I feel more and more uneasy as I realize how wrong this was… He knew everything about me and we’d attend each other’s performances. Where he really crossed the line was when the recession hit and his job got cut. I ran to his office, crying. He hugged me (he hugged a lot) and sat me down, going into another monologue about how incredibly special I was. Then he said something along the lines of “I wish my wife were more like you. If I were younger, or you were older, I-” and then someone interrupted walked in to say hello. I was fourteen. Granted, it was never anything dramatic, but enough to get him fired a few years later when a parent complained about him hugging their kid. I always wondered why they fired him over something “so small,” as I thought he was the best teacher ever for so long. Now that I’m 26 and much more aware of how one must act around children, I’m disgusted. Again though, I don’t think he was a bad person. I believe he really needed/needs help.