Thousands of questions

I’d almost lost the sentimentality that used to make me cry. Things were too immediate for that. I lurched from one small deed to another: one action, one word, one choice – without caution, really.

But to cry for a principle or a belief that would make things seem whole and knit together; well, that would be crazy. I couldn’t expect one ‘answer’ to my thousands of questions.


Tuesday 15 September, 2009:

This morning I discover some tagging in my room, on the cupboard; a desk; the leg of a desk – and to my half-trained eye it looks like GS and PAYBAK. So I go find Levi.

“No, not me Miss,” he says innocently. “I wasn’t even sitting there.’

“Who, then?”

“I dunno, so I’ll take the blame for whoever it was,” he tells me, rather disdainfully.

“Well it looks like yours,” I say, uncertain of whether to press further, as Levi’s eyes are narrowing.

He examines it again. “That’ s not me.”

“Well, it looks like Payback,” I say.

“Can you read it, Miss?” my class ask with interest

“I think…” I say, without certainty. It’s kind of rough.

Someone says, “Payback, that’s you oi – admit it.”

Levi ignores this, stating, “And I’m not in GS, Miss – I’m KS.”

“Not as far as I’ve heard,” I reply

“Well I am,” he argues.

“Well I don’t think you are.”

The kids look at us, eager to see the outcome of all this.

I sigh, saying, “Come on Levi, let’s go outside aye.”


He follows me out to the stairs where he stands looking down towards me, his expression dismissive. He says, blankly, “It was me then – I’ve owned up now, ok?”

I say, “Whatever,” and he looks at me curiously. “Look, the situation’s like this. I’m supposed to report it to Mr Roberts, and the caretaker will come and take photos… and it all becomes a big deal.”

“So, I’ll just clean it off?” he asks, hopefully.

“Well, I’ve got nothing to clean it off with,” I tell him. “And if I ask for something, then the caretaker will definitely come over and look at it, and take a photo.”

Levi waits, his expression changing to straightforward curiosity.

I say, truthfully, “Levi, I don’t mind that much about the tagging. I mind that it’s a hassle now.”

And he nods. He says, “I’m sorry, Miss. I did it this morning,” – without arrogance. “I was stoned,” he adds.

“Oh that’s no excuse!” I exclaim. “That’s what they all say.”

And he smiles just a little, saying, “When you get something to clean it with, can I clean it Miss?”

“Sure; we’ll sort it out later.”

“Miss? Can you get stood down for this?”

“You can,” I say. “Do you see why it’s a hassle now?’

He nods.

I say, “That’s enough now aye,” and he goes back to class.


When I get back to my room, the kids are intrigued.

“How do you know he’s not KS?’

“Cos I just do,” I say.

“Do you know who’s in KS?”

“Some,” I reply.

“Do you know what it means?”

I nod. “Yes; I know what it means.”


I say, “Oh, who cares. I don’t have to prove that I know what it means.”

“So… do you know more than one thing it means?’

I’m tiring of all this. I say, wearily, “Yes, I know more than one thing that it means,” And there I leave it.


Later I say to Nio, “Levi’s not in KS, aye Nio?”

“Nah Miss – his balls aren’t big enough,” is the reply, which makes me laugh.

“Have to drop first,” adds Nio, conversationally.


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