I watched the millionth, skit rendition of the same story, glassy-eyed and tired from a long week of sleeplessness and toxic work environment. I glanced to my left and noticed a serious looking child cradling the classroom broom in his arms while stroking its dirty bristles, eyes locked on the skit.
I walked through the school at 6:30 in the morning, already almost late to meet the Housing Authority kids for their monthly walk to school instead of ride the bus day. I saw a co-worker chatting with Miss Alice. I can't believe anyone actually comes to work at that hour. They probably thought they saw a ghost when I walked by, as it wasn't ten minutes past when I was supposed to be at work.
We walked through the neighborhoods and over the railroad tracks, as the sky slowly lightened and the day began. Later that morning, an escaped emu would disrupt the parent drop-off lane, standing still and then darting between cars and up sidewalks as startled parents and children stared at it and tried not to run it over.
I sat with my back to everyone, hunched over my laptop, hoping to be left alone.
"LONDON — A British bakery chain has apologized after creating a Nativity scene in which the baby Jesus, surrounded by three wise men, was replaced by a sausage roll.
And not just any sausage roll, but one that had been bitten into."
I snickered, probably for the only time all day.
"Scary movies don't scare me...." Maryan responded, "I just think of things over and over and they won't go away.....".
"I have that problem, too." I answered, looking back at her piercing stare.
She widened her eyes and grabbed my phone, resetting the stop watch for her one minute fluency read.
We sat under the fluorescent lights, nine hours after we had walked to school together, getting ready to start tutoring.
"Well, my high of the day is that Mr. Jackson walked with us to school today!" Muslimo announced with a little purr and side eye. We burst out laughing while the girls started outing each other's crushes.
"My low was.....my low was," Maryan started again, her voice quiet, "I saw a pile of feathers in the drop off lane....."
"Oh yeah, the emu!" I interjected.
"They had blood on them."