This high school teacher learns a valuable lesson in not getting involved with a co-worker- especially those who are their bosses.

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The Stoney Island High School of Science bustled with the energy of eager students and dedicated teachers alike. Emi navigated the crowded halls with a heavy heart, her footsteps echoing against the linoleum floor as she made her way to her classroom.

“Morning, Miss Emi,” a passing student greeted her with a smile.

“Good morning, Jamal,” Emi replied, forcing a smile onto her lips as she continued on her path.

Emi loved working at SHS, the kids loved learning and every day she never knew what she’d get. Sometimes it was an interesting take on the latest Beyonce album while other times a debate on the war in Gaza to the regular drama of teenage relationships.

Entering her classroom, Emi took a moment to compose herself before facing her students. She couldn’t let them see the turmoil raging within her, the guilt and shame that threatened to consume her from the inside out. Honestly, she didn’t know how she was at work this morning. Just the night before, she and her husband, Michael, had spent discussing splitting up their belongings and who would occupy their rent-controlled apartment.

“Alright, class, settle down,” Emi announced, her voice betraying none of the turmoil swirling within her. “Let’s begin today’s lesson on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.”

As Emi launched into the lesson on citing evidence, her mind drifted back to the illicit affair that had torn her life apart. It had all started innocently enough, with a shared passion for exposing students to opportunities and a friendly smile from Mr. Thompson, the charming principal of the school.

But what had begun as a harmless flirtation had quickly escalated into something forbidden and dangerous. Emi couldn’t deny the chemistry between them, the magnetic pull that drew her towards him like a moth to a flame.

Everything came to head when

“Miss Emi, are you okay?” one of her students interrupted, snapping her back to the present.

Emi forced a smile onto her lips, her mind racing as she struggled to maintain her composure. “Yes, yes, I’m fine. Let’s continue with the lesson, shall we?”

But try as she might, Emi couldn’t shake the memories of the forbidden relationship that haunted her every waking moment. The stolen kisses, the whispered promises, the overwhelming guilt that gnawed at her conscience like a relentless beast.

As the final bell rang, signaling the end of the school day, Emi gathered her belongings and headed to her car. She knew what she had to do, the decision that had been weighing on her mind for far too long.

“Emi, wait,” a familiar voice called out as she reached her car.

Turning around, Emi’s heart skipped a beat as she came face to face with Michael, her estranged husband. His eyes bore into hers, filled with a mixture of hurt and betrayal.

“Michael, I…” Emi began, her voice faltering as she struggled to find the right words.

But before she could speak, Michael held up a piece of paper, a look of resignation on his face. “I found this,” he said quietly, handing her the crumpled note that had been hidden in her desk drawer. He knew there was someone else, but he didn’t know who- now he did.

Emi’s heart sank as she read the words scrawled across the page, the damning evidence of her relationship with Mr. Thompson laid bare for all to see. Tears welled in her eyes as she looked up at Michael, knowing that there was no turning back now.

“I’m sorry, Michael,” Emi whispered, her voice barely above a whisper as she watched him walk away, leaving her alone with her regrets.

As she drove away from the school, Emi couldn’t shake the feeling of emptiness that engulfed her, the weight of her mistakes pressing down on her like a suffocating blanket. She had lost everything she held dear, all because of a love that was never meant to be. To make matters worse, she knew how inappropriate the relationship with Thompson was, and she’d likely have to leave her school- or be forced with ridicule once the word got out to her colleagues.

And as she prepared to drive home, the echoes of her regrets lingered in the air, a haunting reminder of the choices she could never take back. If she could retake her actions for the last year, she’d give one piece of advice to herself. Keep work relationships professional!

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