Thank God it’s Friday!

I wrote this piece as a magazine filler, the second of two on a similar theme, but it went unpublished, so here it is. I still sort of like this one too.


Managed to get to school without a smoke on the way. Next challenge, make it to break-time. I spot Simon – veteran smoker par excellence. He’s bound to come over for a smoke. As he heads my way, I grab some papers and pretend I have to see the Head about something urgent, though I can’t think what. Oddly I feel like I am letting Simon down.


I have break duty today, so no chance for a smoke. With a bit of luck, the year 11 girls will be fagging it behind the gym, and I’ll be able to do a bit of secondary smoking through the window. When I arrive there is no-one in sight. Either they have quit too, or they managed to sneak a smoke during their PE lesson. Feel a bit disappointed, but it’s probably for the best.


Have to teach a lesson on the dangers of smoking to my tutor group. Feel quite smug that I have quit. The lesson goes well until a packet of Marlboro’s fall out of Stacy’s pocket. Two boys scramble for the packet in an effort to secure their habit for the rest of the day, but I get there first. Only one cigarette left – so tempting.


Arrived at school and reached for my cigarettes, before I remembered that I had quit. A wave of disappointment, as it will take a real effort of will to get through the day without them. Then I remember the cigarette that I confiscated from Stacy yesterday. Should I?


Feeling light headed today and my eyes feel like they are popping out of my head. Withdrawal symptoms are really kicking in. I grope for Stacy’s last cigarette in my draw and then Simon walks in to announce that he has quit. I smile and tell him that I have too.


About Steve Gooch

Steve Gooch was born in March 1962 in Rugby, Warwickshire in England and grew up there with his two brothers and sister. He moved to Corsham in Wiltshire and attended Bath Academy of Art, where he studied sculpture and printmaking, before going on to work on projects for the artists Joe Tilson and Nick Pope. He also helped with the publication of a limited edition folio of Paul Eluard’s poetry. Steve moved to London to study for a postgraduate teaching certificate and then worked as a teacher of art in the UK. He gained his MA in Education with the Open University and also studied the discipline of Reiki with his Reiki teachers in Newcastle upon Tyne. His daughter Marianne was born in 1994. For a period of time, Steve devoted himself to teaching Reiki in his hometown of Rugby, before moving to Egypt, where he resumed his career as an art teacher, becoming the Head of Art in a prestigious British International School in Cairo. He continued to teach Reiki, introducing the discipline for the first time to Egypt. He also wrote extensively on the subject for various Egyptian English-language magazines. Returning to the UK, Steve’s son Sam was born in 2004. Not wanting to go back into the teaching profession, Steve took a job as a chef in a vegetarian restaurant and wrote his first book ‘Reiki Jin Kei Do: The Way of Compassion & Wisdom’. It was the world’s first book on that particular tradition of Reiki and is still considered to be the standard reference work on the subject. Steve them moved to Sudan, where he was again Head of Art at the prestigious Unity High School, and built an online living history for the school, called 'The Unity High School Archive'. It was in the process of building this archive that Steve uncovered a major scandal involving senior members of the Anglican Church, local dignitaries, and members of the faith communities. As a consequence, he got to know the head of the Secret Police in Khartoum quite well and then promptly left the country. Steve moved back to Egypt and took up a post as Head of Art in a school in Alexandria. Very much involved in the Reiki community in the UK, however, he founded the national organisation ‘Reiki Jin Kei Do UK’ and became the editor of ‘Focus: The Journal of Reiki Jin Kei Do UK’, and then set up the global ‘Reiki Jin Kei Do International’. He also set up the global video-arts project '12seconds for Peace'. The concept grabbed the attention of a number of big names in the peace movement, including Nobel Peace Prize nominees, and threatened to go viral. Circumstances (revolutions and social unrest) put it on the back-burner. Likewise, a major peace initiative called the 'Global Concert for Peace', scheduled for the summer of 2013, which would have been the world's biggest musical event, also went on the back-burner. Steve moved to Saudi Arabia for a little over a year in 2014, before returning to Egypt to take up a senior management position in another British International School in Cairo. Finally, after a year of professional purgatory in which he realised that there is no such thing as a good British International School in Egypt, he decided ‘enough is enough’ and quit the teaching profession for good to focus on his writing, art and Reiki classes. He is currently living in Cairo and writing ‘The Temple of the Djinn’, which is loosely based on the events that he uncovered during his time in Sudan. He is also teaching Reiki and working freelance for a variety of Egyptian magazines. He misses the UK and is looking forward to spending more time in his home country with his children. He'd also like to find time to paint and make sculpture.
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