Labels

I stand in front of my first ever class. They chatter and push, pens are knocked on the floor, bags slam on the tables, then they sit down, and slowly go silent, wondering who I am. I say, “Hello, I’m Mr Cleary, I’ll be your Economics teacher, and I’m really looking forward introducing you to the fascinating world of…”

I carried on speaking, but I forget what else I said then, because I noticed the pupils starting to whisper, nudge, and point – towards me.

I had studied for years to get here, but now something had gone wrong.

“Aren’t you meant to take that off?”
“I think you cut those off…”

They were pointing at my new suit jacket. I had bought it a few days before, and I felt like a character from Reservoir Dogs in it. Not now though.

They’d seen the little sewn-on label on my left cuff: “Ciro Citterio” it said. I thought that was a label to be proud of, like on a pair of jeans… I realised now that you were meant to take it off.

Will I ever know all these things!?

That night I sit in my flat, and with shaking hands I try to sew the sleeve of my jacket back on, my suit, and my career in tatters.

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