‘Energy may be likened to the bending of a crossbow…’ (Sun Tzu)
Thursday 27 August, 2009:
Today seems a little touched by yesterday’s super-intense energy. Things are still going on.
The first person I see is Tau, with Mischa in tow. Mischa! He was excluded weeks ago for that stock-standard felony: ‘continual disobedience’. Yet here he is, in school uniform – but wearing a snapback and non-regulation white Chucks, which make him visible even to the untrained eye.
He just laughs when I say, “You may as well just have a big sign on your forehead saying, ‘I’m Mischa, and I’m not supposed to be here.’”
“I’ll be careful,” he says.
I shrug: “Oh well – your call.”
He roams freely for a while; I see him as I go back and forth. But later someone sends out an email to ‘All Staff’ – and eventually he’s escorted off the premises by the police.
I also see Morris today.
“Are you ok?” he says kindly, alluding to yesterday’s incident.
“I’m ok,” I tell him. “But I feel bad – I guess I did things the wrong way.”
“It’s alright,’ he says. “It’s all sorted – and nobody died,” and we laugh.
He’s really a nice guy, Morris. Very kind; and the kids like him. Maybe I should talk to him about Tau, but not yet. Let everything just settle down a bit – I don’t want things to be made worse, and not better.
Friday 28th August
Kind of a strange day.
10 Social – with the addition of Tau (absent from Hospitality, in which he has recently been placed after being kicked out of his Spanish option). Noses out of joint: Levi and Riley. Because Tau is choosing songs and they want to too.
Levi says resentfully, “And who’s choosing all the music? Cluzo…”
I say, “Yeah well, you can – when you’ve done your work.”
“So if we do our work, me and Riley can choose a song?” he checks to confirm.
“Yup,” I say.
Riley works, with apparent patience – but Levi sits up near Tau, at one of the front desks, and tries to jump in on the track selections. I tell Tau to turn the speakers off for a while, and Levi glowers. I say, “Just until you’ve finished, Levi – then you can choose the songs.”
He sits mutinously and draws a gang tag, attaches sellotape to it, and goes round the corner to put it on my wall.
I say, “No – you can’t put that up.”
“Fuck…” he mutters.
A minute later he’s turned on the speakers again, and I say, “Levi! Just finish your work, man. I don’t want to spend lunchtime with you today!”
“Aw fuck, get fucked…” and he just gets up and takes off, out the door, up the stairs.
I go out, saying to Tau, “Keep an eye on my bag,” and the first person I see is George.
“Hey Miss,” he says.
“Hi George. Have you seen a boy called Levi?”
George points out the door at the top of the block, saying, “He just went out there.”
“Oh well,” I say, half to myself, “Let him cool down…”
“What did he do?” asks George.
“Told me to fuck off.”
“Why?” says George, disbelievingly.
“Oh, mostly cos I wouldn’t let him get a song off Youtube…”
“Want me to smash him?’ asks George, in a hopeful way.
“Nah, you’re ok,” I say.
Then Tau comes out with my bag and keys. He greets George, and waits near the door, saying, “What’s up with Levi?”
“Got all mad with me.”
“He’s just a angis dude, Miss,” says Tau.
“I know – I know,” I agree. “But honestly Tau, this class; they feel like you’re getting special treatment…” I sigh, and add, “And they’re kind of right.”
Tau says, “Let them come discuss it with me then,” and at that very moment, Levi comes down the stairs, and Tau draws himself with rapid efficiency to my side, where his head and shoulders hover literally one inch from mine. It’s as direct and protective as a chess move, and I feel something like… resonance; a sudden, auric sensation that actually kind of alarms me so that I don’t move – just let him stay there – and Levi quietly walks by, and goes into class.
When I go back in, I say to Levi, who’s now sitting calmly at a desk: “Let’s just sort this out at lunch, ok?”
“Ok,” he says.
But Tau just shepherds me around the room, half a step away when I’m talking to Levi, Riley, Simeon, the new boy Lewis… and I feel conscious of him the whole time, standing close and protective. It’s all unspoken, yet the class go quiet. Riley says, “It’s quiet in here – even I’m quiet today!”
And body language, body language… I’m aware that I’m allowing Tau to stay right in my personal space. I’m acting like nothing’s happening, just checking books; but Tau’s shoulder is shielding mine – like he’s letting them know he’s looking out for me – and again I get this visceral sensation from it. I feel scared cos Tau is giving out the message that he’s tight with me… and I’m basically confirming it.
When the bell goes, Levi waits behind, as calm as calm can be. He says, sincerely, “I’ve just got an anger problem.”
I tell him, “Honestly Levi – if you got your work finished, you’d be able to choose the music too.”
“I know,” he nods.
I say, “Don’t get upset aye… let’s just try to sort it out for next time.”
“Yes,” he tells me. “I’m really gonna try.”
“All good,” I say.
But this Tau business, ohh man. I feel like I’m ruled by signs, by the silent signs that those in the know pick up… and I don’t even know exactly what is signified; not really. I just know that Tau trusts me and I trust him. But that bothers me too; it disturbs my peace of mind. Because I also feel like I need to protect him, as if I’ve got a fuckin’ clue; as if I know, for God’s sake, what I’m letting myself in for.