An Encounter


Last Thursday, I ran into my college professor, Kent Murray, at Publix.  It was an odd thing, to meet Mr. Murray in the frozen foods section.  He wasn’t supposed to be there… in fact, I had it set perfectly in my mind that I would never see Mr. Murray ever again in my entire life.

Mr. Murray was the know it all type… college professors should know most, but Mr. Murray really thought he knew it all.  This man was teaching in the rapidly changing world of video production but was totally stuck in the 70’s and 80’s.  He was known for asking his students questions where he could point out the wrong in their answer no matter what was they said.  This man was bad… bad news for students… bad news for me.

Running into Mr. Murray in the grocery store a solid year after graduation was also bad news for me.  We briefly made eye contact.  He was staring me down, practically asking me to say hello.  I walked over to the frozen pizzas.  He was now just feet away.  Side to side now, he stood at the glass door, peering at the hot pockets, keeping me in sight in the corner of his eye.

I opened the refrigerated door, pretending to decide on which DiGiorno pizza I wanted.  Then I heard his voice…

“Mr. Burns.”

I kept staring at the pizzas… Trying quickly to decide on the right words to say.

“Mr. Murray.  I thought that was you.  How are you?”

He seemed different.  Something about the way he was carrying himself and relaxation on his face.

“I’m doing well.” He said.  “You find yourself a job?”

“Oh yes sir.” I answered.  “Found a great job working full time as a video editor.”

He seemed pleased.

“Very good.” He said with a genuine quality that seemed foreign coming from him.  “I hope you continue to learn.”

He casually took a hot pocket box out of the freezer, let the door close itself and turned and walked away.  I stood there, with a frozen pizza in my hand, bewildered at what just happened.  He turned the corner at the end of the aisle disappearing from sight once again in my life.


Just in case it’s not obvious, this did not really happen. I’m starting to feel a need to start writing creatively again and forcing myself to write based on prompts.  The prompt asked me to write about what would happen if you ran into one of your old teachers.


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