Wednesday, June 8, 2016

When Doves Cry

I sat at my kitchen table, glasses off, cocktail sword in my hand.  I had emptied the contents of the gel capsule into a ramekin and carefully counted each little micro bead, one by one, moving each to the other side of the ramekin with the sword as I counted.  Three hundred, seventy-seven.  I was going to figure out how to taper off this happy pill.

One of the K-3 kids jumped off of the school bus and skipped toward me.  They change buses at our school, we are sort of like the Grand Central Station of my district, younger kids come and switch buses to ride with some slightly older kids to reduce the mileage and time that the buses have to endure.  She was cute and blond.
"I love your hair!" she exclaimed.
"Oh thank you!"
"Do you know Mark?"
"Mark who?"
"Mark Stewart".
"Yes!  I am his Spanish teacher!"
"I am his sister!" 
She hugged me.
"You are fun!" she continued.
"Here, wait with me, we will wait for Mark to come out..." I said, smiling.  She grabbed my hand and gazed up at me, smiling.
"Mark says you are the worst Spanish teacher ever.....".

"I cannot take it.  The children cannot take it.  It is too much!".
Suddenly, the hands started flying, the voice started rising and the tears began flowing.  He was on his feet, lips sputtering, weird gesturing.  My co-worker was going Jersey again.  I slowly turned toward my computer.  I wasn't going to ride the crazy train today over something so minor. 

After the end of year hall monitor party, I was flattered to find plates full of cookies and brownies with my name on them in our office.  I didn't want to eat them, but was flattered that so many students had wanted to share them with me.  

Mark ran out of the school and saw his little sister standing with me. 
"Come on," he instructed with a quick nod and smile in my direction.
"But I like her!" she screamed.
"I like her!".

I piled the cookies and brownies on a plate far from the edge of the counter so that Lola could not get to them.   I returned to the kitchen a few minutes later to see the empty plate laying on the floor.  CHOCOLATE. Lola had eaten CHOCOLATE. 

"Holly!" I pleaded into the phone.
"Lola ate some brownies with cocoa in them and chocolate chip cookies.  What should I do?  Should I take her to the vet?  She is acting okay....".
"Don't worry," she advised me.
"Lola is big enough to handle a little chocolate."
"Are you sure.....?"
"Yes, I'm sure."
"I am thinking of getting off the happy pills, but I can't figure out how to do it, they are gel caps, you can't split them in half."
"Have you looked online?".
"Yeah...." I answered, my voice dropping to a whisper.
"But those people are CRAZY."
"I think I am going to do it halfie halfie, you know, open the capsule and divide the little pills between the two sides, halfie halfie."

Alec and I entered the vet's office with Lola. She needed her annual check up and shots, just because, and to go to Mexico.
"Do you have a stool sample?" the habitually bitchy receptionist asked.
"No wait, she is just here for her annual shots..." I answered, thinking she was confused with some sick dog.
"YES.  Do you have a stool sample?"
"I don't get it, what are you talking about?  I have never been asked to bring one for something like this....".
"It is just less intrusive, is all I am saying.  Take her for a walk, see if you can get one" she responded, as if I didn't give a shit about my dog. 
"Fucking cunt," I sputtered, as Alec and I walked Lola around the block. 
"I am so sick of this shit, sick of her fucking attitude.....my dog has been coming here for four years and I have never brought a piece of shit in with her for her shots....cock sucking bitch....."
We returned.  Without shit.  Crazy receptionist was bitching out Lola's main man with the pick, her favorite vet tech. 
"I can't take anymore!  We already have one emergency back there and a room full of appointments!  I can't do this!  Lifeline always does this.  Tell them no.   Tell them we cannot take the cat!  They always leave them wide open!".
"The man is on his way" the tech responded calmly.
I looked at the other woman in the waiting room, her cat in a crate and hands over her daughter's ears. 
I walked over to Richie. 
"We can reschedule.  I do not want some open cat out in the world."
I noticed the other woman from the waiting room behind me.
"We feel the same way."
"It's okay..." he muttered.
"We got this."
I sat back down.  A man burst through the door with a cat in a carrier.
"I need help." he said to me.
Cunt face spoke up.
"We can't take her!  Take her to St. Francis hospital on the highway, we can't help!"
I was furious.   There is an emergency vet less than fifteen minutes away.  She was sending him forty-five and the cat's spay incisions were open. 
"It's serious!" she called after him.
"Nothing to play with!  You better go now!"
I scratched my palms until I thought blood would come out.  

My niece graduated from high school.  It was strangely touching and a long, stressful, emotional night for a million events and reasons that cannot be written.  A few days after the graduation, the school hosted a funeral for a student that graduated a year ago.   He overdosed a day before Emma's graduation.  A sad waste.  Though I taught at Emma's school, I didn't know that student.  The ripeness of summer had begun and he had expired.  It made me think of how flowers smell near the end of the hot season, overly fragrant and slightly rotten. 

"That's the guy that nearly made me cry" my sister mentioned as we decompressed a day or so after the graduation.
It was the guy who rides his bike and whistles really loud and in perfect tune.  I can hear him from inside my house.
"He was whistling 'When Doves Cry' the day after Prince died."

"I am going to miss you, Miss Wagner." Janie announced randomly in the hallway.
"I mean, you've been my teacher for two years.  I have never had a teacher like you.   You make me want to ask questions, you don't just tell us what to do.  My class complains about everything.  They complain about Social Studies, they complain about Math.  But they never complain about Spanish....you just make it so fun."

I looked into her clear blue eyes and thanked her.  I really needed that.