Some children come into the school building dancing, singing, hopping, bursting with uninhibited glee.
They exchange giddy, happy stories about their day at the mall, dropping name brand names,
Showing off their glittery light-up shoes, and light up back packs. They tell about their doting grandparents who allowed them to fill their cart up. Money is not a consideration in their world. They are unaware of paying for utilities, or groceries, or gas for cars. No one yells at them when their hamburger costs a dollar. For all they know, the loot they got at the mall was free. They do not
Have any idea the card they saw slide through a machine means someone is paying real money later. They live in an adult-free zone. They are not burdened with who is sleeping with whom, who did someone wrong, who stole the car from their ex. They have been allowed to be children, uninhibited by things like that.
Other children come into the building ready to kill someone. They have had a sleepless night, listening to their adults screaming and fighting, wishing the unusually loud violent music will eventually drowned them out, but it does not. They lie awake, hypervigilant, thinking of the loaded revolver on top of the refrigerator, wondering who will be the first to pull it out, wondering if they will have time to get out, not thinking about saving a little brother or sister, still angry about them being there in the first place, taking food out of their mouth.
This child is angry, defensive, on guard, completely enraged by the time his parent has gotten up, gotten dressed, gotten someone to give them a ride, and gotten him to school the first day an hour late. He has been reminded all the way to school that the teachers are the enemy, not to be trusted, that they will look for the worst in him, and they will find it. He is completely stirred up by the time they arrive.
As they walk toward the building the mother is reminding him not to share the family business, not to tell the school people his address, not to mention they do not have running water, and certainly not to mention how many people they have living with them. If he does, the punishment will be severe, maybe even worse than last time.
He does not have a uniform, but the school personnel rally and get him one. He does not have school supplies either. They give him a back pack filled with notebooks, pencils, erasers, everything they will need. The mother glares at the lady and tells her they wanted a brand name back pack. He is amazed, surprised that his mother cares. His mother tries to bully the school into giving him something better, so he can see how he is expected to treat these people. He watches, silently, understanding.
An unappreciative thank you is muttered under the breath of the mother, in an exasperated way, as if the shoddy brand new backpack was not quite good enough, but it will do. The child is in the bathroom now, putting on the uniform, away from the prying eyes of the enemies. He is glad no one can see the scars. What he does not realize is, school teachers have been trained, they all see these scares, and they semi-understand why he is so angry with the singing, hopping, bursting with glee students, one of whom he hurts almost immediately.
Still, it is not allowed or tolerated, and if he could tell the enemy things, they might be able to help. But of course he cannot, and the school enemy people understand that too. They have met his mother.
Copyright © Caren Krutsinger | Year Posted 2018