Friday, May 29, 2015

The One in My Heart

Oliver nashed his teeth and grabbed his head.  His eyes were tearing up.   The front of his pants were wet.  I had never seen him like this before.  The wild schedule of the last week of school made most of the kids happy.  Not Oliver.  But I had never seen him this way.  This upset.  No eye contact.  Pulling at his mouth, grinding his teeth, hands and arms covering his head.  A fragmented shell of the child that I looked forward to seeing all year.

There is a tradition at the school where I work.  On the last day, the faculty lines up outside of the buses and waves goodbye.  I couldn't wait.  Kids ran up and hugged me and said their final goodbyes.  When our principal gave the buses the okay to go, all of the project kids ran through the crosswalk in front of the buses, wild.  They go on foot.  The bus drivers started rolling and honking, arms in the air as they rolled forward, our students hanging out of the windows, yelling and waving to us.  I could not wave hard enough.  My Mexican student locked eyes with me and waved furiously, the one that made me give him self addressed envelopes so that he could write me letters over the summer. 

I was worried that I hadn't seen Bailey in the bus line.  His teacher sighted him and I walked over to   say goodbye.
"I'll be back" he told me.
"My little brother is still here, I'll come to Open House".
I made him hug me.  I know that he will be okay.  It doesn't matter that he is biologically female.  He is sound and firm in his mind and he will be what he wants.
I was surprised when glass-eyed Fulton approached me.  He had presented the Spanish poem in an assembly, which shocked everyone.  I liked him, liked him alot, but couldn't always click with him like I did with Oliver.  I wanted to, but I couldn't make it happen.
"When will I see you again?" he asked.
"I don't know, Fulton....I don't know..."
"Will you be here a while?" he asked.
"Yes.  Yes, I will be here for a while.....for a long time".
"I will see you in two years.  That is when my brother comes here". 

I saw Oliver and I chased him.  I had to.
"Oliver, I will miss you".
"Yes" he responded, without eye contact.  He didn't know who I was.
"Can I hug you?"
I grabbed him and hugged him hard, pressing my cheek to his.

He let me, and then walked away, eyes to the ground, as if he had never known me at all.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The End of Days

"Fuck!" I hissed at myself, fumbling with my phone near the lobby of the elementary school where I work.
How did the music button get activated and begin playing "Holiday in Cambodia" loudly at seven o'clock in the morning?

I walked the students through the test prep for their latest standardized test.
"Ass click" the automated voice said loudly.
Ass click?  What the fuck? I stared back at the screen.  It was trying to say 'haz click', in Spanish.
"Why is it swearing at us?" one of the students asked.

The fifth graders were beginning their big, year end presentations.  One of them started an interactive game.  I pulled out my phone, thinking it would be cute to play as I monitored the presentation.  As I clicked on the Safari button, my latest internet search came up. 'Goatse' appeared boldly, as I tried to shield my phone from the parents that surrounded me.  

"Hey, you know my dad!" one of my students exclaimed.
"He saw your picture in the yearbook and said you used to work together at....."
"Really?" I responded, still unsure who whe was talking about.
"Kyle Davis" she announced proudly.
Aw shit, the guy I made out with that time after getting completely wasted?
"Oh....neat...." I responded, at a loss for words.
"That was, uh, a really long time ago....".
She stared at me, naive and smiling.
"Do you know my dad?!" a bunch of other girls started asking me.
Um, I sure hope not. 

I stood in the copy room, making, uh, copies.  I saw some of my students in line outside of the door, stuck in a hallway traffic jam.  We started making faces at each other through the window and I shoved my nose up like a pig on the glass.

Another teacher's face suddenly appeared.
I jumped back and opened the door.
"Are you trapped in there?"  she asked, concerned.

"Um, no, I'm good". 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Hot Fun in the Summertime

"You were in my dream last night" a newcomer to my morning duty, coffee clutch corner announced.  I have been teaching her all year, but this was this first time that she had hung out to talk.
"Really?  That's funny.  You guys wind up in my dreams all the time." I responded.
"You lived in this hut in my backyard and you would call me on your cell phone when it was time for Spanish," she responded.
"you remember the fortune tellers hut in the Harry Potter movies?" she asked all of us.
"It was like that... you had all kinds of cool nick knacks in there and pet birds were flying around in the hut....".

Oliver presented himself before me, almost touching his belly to mine.
"You're back!"  I exclaimed.
"YES!" he responded and smiled and spun around.

"Last night, you were flying a kite, you were at the park across from my house...."
"I love kites"
"You kept smiling at me and waving and asking me if I wanted to fly the kite....."

I folded the red piece of paper with the rudimentary drawing of a penis on it and put it in my bag.  "Act right, Jerry, act right...." I warned.
"or else I will laminate this, cut it in the shape of a heart and give it to your mother."

Oliver walked past me again, giddy.
I high fived him.
He grabbed my hand and wouldn't let go.

I drove in the broad daylight to school, in a bit of a haze.  I grabbed my stuff and got out of the car, walking around the front.

Clouds of smoke rose from under the hood.  It looked like it might catch on fire.

I glanced at it and walked toward the school doorway.

I would just deal with that later.