I had no clue how she would go about concentrating on three more presentations, but we all went back and sat down in our seats to try to re-engage. I couldn’t. I just sat there.
I began to pray fervently: Oh, Holy Spirit, please give me wisdom. Should I approach our professor after class? What can I do? Please make me safe so that she’ll open up to me. Give me the opportunity to talk to her alone after class. Oh, Holy Spirit, I need wisdom. Help me to know what to do and say. Please, Holy Spirit, open her heart to talk to me. Please.
I just prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed.
Kaitlyn, a girl on our team, gave the last presentation. She spoke about women who have influenced politics in this country over the years. They each had three characteristics in common: They were strong, they persevered and they were persecuted. That was the only part of her presentation I heard. I wrote those words down in my notes and kept praying.
At the end of class, our professor apologized for her behavior with the other student. She said she didn’t want to end on that note, so she’d like to have the class over for a party in a few days. Then she picked up her things and started to head out of the classroom. It was the most intense, crazy day we had in class all summer.
The day wasn’t over yet. When Professor Mohammad walked out, I felt this pull on my heart. I knew that I needed to follow her. The worst she could do was keep walking and tell me to “get the f—- away” again. So, I followed her.
She looked back, saw me and slowed down. I walked faster. Down the hallway was a pillar. She walked over to it and stood behind it, seeming to be waiting for me.
As I reached her side, she immediately broke down into heaving sobs and said with fear and trembling, “I’m losing my baby! I’m losing my baby! I was so mean to that kid! I should never have been that mean! I’m losing my baby! I can’t do this alone! Why was I so mean? I should lose my job!”
Back and forth, she was trying to process all that happened in the last hour. It was all too overwhelming for her. I suggested I help walk her back to her classroom. Instead, she looked up at me and said, “Will you come home with me? My driver can take you home afterward. I can’t do this alone. I can’t let my husband know. He doesn’t even know that I am pregnant. Please come home with me. Please. I can’t do this. I just can’t.”
All of me wanted to help her, but what was going through my mind was, We aren’t allowed to go places alone. It’s not safe. I can’t go with her. I don’t even have a way to talk to my co-leader to make this decision. I said I’d walk her to her car.
On the way to the parking lot, she fell against the wall, clearly in a lot of pain. She looked at me and said, “Why do I trust you? Why do I feel like you need to be with me right now? You are just a student.”
I must admit, with my Sesame Street T-shirt, cargo capris and flip-flops, I did look like a younger student.
At this point, I had a strong feeling that I should call her by her first name. All of my cultural training went out the window, because technically, it is more honoring to call her “Professor” since she worked so hard to gain that title. Yet, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was to call her by her first name, Mable.