Courting Miss George by Garnett Cohen

My favorite grade school teacher was Miss George (the title Ms did not yet exist) in fourth grade. I had a crush on her, though I would not have thought of it that way—I had many crushes on boys. She was of Greek descent with mounds of black hair and beautiful copper-colored skin. I tried to strike up a friendship by following her around on the playground softly talking to myself, thinking that might provoke her to ask me what I was talking about. When that didn’t work, I went to her apartment on a Saturday morning, thinking she might invite me in for coffee, which I had yet to taste. She lived in a building near the shopping center. She answered the door in her robe, clearly startled to see me. I don’t remember what we said but I do remember that she wore gold slipper-sandals; her gleaming red toenails stuck out. She did not ask me in. Years later, when I mentioned her to my mother, she said, Oh, that woman!  I did not like her at all! She was a bit of a nut, tried to tell me you had serious problems and walked around talking to yourself.


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Garnett Cohen published three collections of short stories, most recently Swarm to Glory. Her fiction and essays have appeared in American Fiction, The New Yorker online, TriQuarterly, The Rumpus, The Gettysburg Review, The Antioch Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Pinch, Black Warrior Review, Brevity, and others. She was awarded two Notable Essay citations from Best American Essays, the Crazyhorse National Fiction Prize; the Lawrence Foundation Prize from Michigan Quarterly Review; and four awards from the Illinois Council of the Arts. She is a professor at Columbia College Chicago.

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