The next day was my last day with Laura and Michael. I said good-bye to Laura and packed my stuff into Michael's jeep. Laura gave me a big hug. I already missed her. It was Monday so Michael had work. But I would be going with him to work. I was dressed up with a tie and everything. I haven't mentioned this before, but Michael is a highschool teacher. He teaches in Springfield. I got to see his school and I also got to see him teach. He is an excellent teacher. He introduced me to the students as "Mr. Paliath - who is originally from South India, grew up in the Middle East, is a Computer Scientist and Engineer and also a member of the United States Army". This elicited a lot of "oohs" from the students. They were impressed I had done so much... it's nothing really... 😉 Anyway, Michael was teaching a "Geometry Support" class, which is extra help for students having trouble with Geometry. He was going over surface area. Michael's school was established in the early 1900's.
During lunch hour, I got to meet some of his co-workers. I think Michael is the youngest teacher in the school. Everyone seems to hold him in high regard, and I can see why. I didn't doubt they would either. He really is a good teacher. He shares an excellent rapport with his students and they give him a lot of respect. He had "hall monitor" duty, so we walked and talked a lot. He showed me around the school and we just talked in general about children, and teenagers and how we were when we were teenagers... and essentially how fast time had passed and how old we were becoming.
After school, we left for the airport. We first went to a one of the very few Mexican restaurants in Massachusetts. It was alright. As Michael told me, there is very little Mexican influence that far up north and east. After lunch, we went to a car wash where I met a very friendly Welsh Corgi who also got his fur all over my clothes. Finally, we made our way to the airport. I was two hours early for my flight. My good-bye with Michael was no production. It never is. "We should do this again!" I shouted out as I walked to the terminal. "Definitely! I'll try to make my way down to Phoenix soon!", Michael replied.
The flight back was uneventful. I used the free drink coupons to get myself a beer. I finished a Greg Bear novel in about two and a half hours. I slept the rest of the time. The captain announced our imminent arrival at Phoenix. Outside, I saw a familiar grid pattern of twinkling lights. Phoenix, Arizona. I was home.