Mr Brownside was a lover. His passion was almost insatiable as Mrs Brownside would readily confirm. Night after night he would satisfy his lust with one classic or another. The wonder and beauty of the English language was the only mistress he required. Mrs Brownside had become used to being the other woman in his life.
The teenagers of Gainsfield High rarely shared Mr Brownside’s thirst for their mother tongue. As hard as he tried to relay the wonders of Shakespeare, Bronte and Wells the vacant looks from the assembled gum chewers told him he was onto a loser. Most who left his care at the end of the school year would sadly do so with a crude notion of how to use their own language. All except one. One face looked back with interest.
Cam Saunders seemed half the age of his classmates. However, from reading his first assignment Mr Brownside knew he had stumbled upon something special. Someone special. With his teacher’s encouragement Cam quickly became Mr Brownside’s star pupil. Local and national writing competitions were entered and won. Even outside of the school people were getting to know the name of Cam Saunders.
Why then? Why can children be so cruel? Why is it a crime to some young, twisted minds to want to be different? Why is it wrong to want to make the most of your talents? Why?
Mr Brownside had tortured himself with these questions in the years since. The heartbreaking note Cam left behind forever haunts him. Tears still fall when Cam’s desperate but beautiful final words drift through his mind. He would never truly get over it.
Each autumn the falling leaves bring with them a new class. Sometimes he thinks he sees Cam walking through his door again. He knows that won’t happen. However, one day there will be another who wants to learn. Another someone special. There has to be. Mr Brownside will never give up hope. Never give up on his children.