Finally, the last day of the exams has arrived and, for the first time this week, I’m not late for school – in fact, I’m at school by 8:45am – so I’m feeling rather relaxed as I head to my teachers’ room confident that I’ll have a few minutes to start up my computer, check messages and figure out which exams I’m invigilating. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
As I move to open the office door, it suddenly swings open from the inside and I find myself face-to-face with a very startled Six-pack. Expecting him to ignore me as usual, I step aside to let him pass only to find him doing the same thing for me. We have an awkward few seconds before I step through the door and greet him as I pass while another teacher behind him checks the roster for my name. I’ve barely made it to my desk when she tells me to please follow Six-pack who is currently standing and grinning at me broadly in the doorway. There’s still another 10 minutes before we need to be in our venues but sure, I don’t mind following Six-pack. As we start walking up the stairs, he says something to me in Korean while staring at me. All I can understand is “English” and I’m feeling somewhat bashful looking directly at him – this is the first time we’ve actually had to speak to each other so I feel rather awkward. Whatever his comment is, it makes the teacher behind us laugh and I’m a bit relieved when he ignores me for the rest of the stairs to the fourth floor.
When we arrive at the classroom, he holds the door open for me before entering the classroom through the second door. Once inside, he ignores me which is what I’m accustomed to in these sessions. With the exam underway, I stand at the back of the classroom where I’ve been told to stand and try not to stare at Six-pack who is one of the most attractive men at school.
An Intense Hour
The next 50 minutes are the most peculiar by far. While I now have nearly an hour of nothing to do but admire his beauty, I also feel extremely awkward and don’t quite know where to look. I find myself looking out the window and fiddling with my necklace while sneaking glances at him and averting my eyes each time he looks up. About 20 minutes into the exam, I become aware of the fact that he seems to be doing the same thing that I’m doing. We’re both clearly feeling a little awkward and I can’t help laughing at the absurdity of the situation – which prompts him to laugh too.
He then starts walking around the room which is what I’m used to doing in
but not here. I also can’t really move from my spot since I’m wearing heels and they make too much noise when I walk so I stand rooted to my spot. As Six-pack inches closer and closer to me, I find myself holding my breath uncertain of what to expect – if anything. We have several moments where we happen to catch each other’s eye before looking away and laughing. As Six-pack passes me, I notice him pause in front of the mirror to fiddle with his hair. I am suddenly aware that I’m fiddling with my own hair and quickly look for something to occupy my hands. South Africa
When he reaches the front of the classroom again, I make a quick assessment of his body language: His chest is facing me, his hands are hanging from the belt loops on his jeans, his feet are both pointing in my direction and he’s standing upright – all really good signs if Western non-verbal flirting clues apply to Korean men too. He’s definitely showing himself to his best and we seem to make eye contact more and more regularly. The tension in the room seems to increase as time slows…
Two For the Price of One
Halfway through the exam, the Oh-so-gorgeous Maths teacher appears to ask if the students have any questions about the paper. He enters the room, bows in greeting to Six-pack, turns automatically to the back of the room to greet the second teacher, sees me and grins broadly (as he’s been doing ever since my students were kind enough to relay to him that I think he’s gorgeous!) while bowing. I notice Six-pack watching this and can’t be certain if I’m imagining that he seems somewhat deflated by Mr Maths’ appearance. I don’t understand much Korean but I do know that 7 is “chill” which I find really funny so when I hear Mr Maths say “chill”, I can’t help but smile with joy at recognising a Korean word and laughing at the fact that it’s one of the more humorous words too. The reaction from the two men is polar opposites: Mr Maths laughs at me while Six-pack retreats further into a corner for reasons I’ll probably never know.
When Mr Maths leaves, the peacocking resumes as Six-pack returns to the status of alpha male. He and Mr Maths are in the same teachers’ room so he’s probably heard about the comment I mistakenly made about Mr Maths in front of some of my students. Who knows? The atmosphere in the classroom is crackling with tension and not only from the students who seem to be writing an awful exam paper if the number of times Mr Maths returns to announce changes is any indication. By the end of the exam, I’m not sure who is more relieved: the students or teachers. As I leave the classroom, a student talks to me: “That was intense!” is all she says to which I cunningly reply, “Yeah, that looked like a tough paper…” and swiftly walk away before she can clarify her statement.
The rest of the day passes with far less excitement. Six-pack is constantly in and out of my teachers’ room but doesn’t say a word to me. My only other conversation for the day is with Mr Jeong who tells me that I’ve done a great job with the journal comments and the students will be very grateful for the amount of detail I’ve provided. An early afternoon is my reward after a very long and tiring two weeks. If only I weren’t feeling so ill…