Thursday 4 March, 2010:
I remember Riley, last year, voicing the unimaginable: “If you had to choose one, out of Cluzo or Axis – one to stay and the other to go – who would you choose?”
And I said to her, then: “Riley, you can’t ask me that, it’s too hard/”
Yet today, they’re both gone. On the same day: Nio – excluded; Tau – 20 days expired yesterday, and today they take him off the roll.
Nio – it’s not official news yet (it’s a long story… but later, later). Tau – I’ve predicted it all along; I knew school wouldn’t try to keep him – but it still hits me like a quiet missile. I keep it inside me and behave perfectly all day, while my heart is crushed to scrap metal. Tau and Nio… yin and yang… cub one and cub two… my besties, allies, colleagues and friends. Both gone on the same day.
Marjorie personally comes over to tell me about Tau. It’s a kind act – I’m touched by that. Morris also speaks to me at lunchtime, and I appreciate that too. They say school ‘did what it had to do’, and I say the right things; I tell them I understand. I remain very professional with both Marjorie and Morris. But my heart aches so much all day, every time I think of Nio’s beautiful, sharp face; and Tau’s eyes, and his quiet breathing when he feels safe and calm.
I don’t know what else to say. Except that I knew a long time ago that the very things I love could bring me pain, and this I accepted; to prepare myself.
And now, I have to do some work: just get done what has to be done. One day I’ll need all of it – I don’t know where or why, but I’ll need all the patience and sangfroid I can muster. I really believe I need to get it stored and stockpiled up – and so each little thing counts.
Friday 5 March:
Today pretty much sucks. I get pissed off with my 12 History class again, and especially for the fact that Dimario and Jack should see it like this – when I have to growl at other kids and keep kind of losing the battle. It’s a little bit shaming, you know, in front of those two. They’re used to 11 Social, and to seeing things go well.
There’s not a lot I want from school right now. I don’t want to win the crowd. I just want my allies to have something. They go right on trusting me, and I know that I have to pull it off. I have to shift that vibe.
So I intend to get this class sorted – and my interventions are not a moment too soon. Divide and rule: that’s the way I’m heading. I’ve split the class into ‘independent learners’, who can have a group ticket to freedom (the library and the block) if they so choose and the ‘non-independent’, who will work entirely in class with me for the present time. These groups are, of course, subject to alteration, and I’m not actually calling them IL and NIL – it’s just a reference in my mind.
Layton today – a ‘non-independent learner’ for sure, but he’s a nice boy. He tells me, “Miss – I’m not very brainy you know. I’m kind of like George.”
I say, “Oh, Layton, George was cool.”
“Yeah, but still dumb,” remarks Jack, fondly.
And Layton says, “I’m dumb like George. I’m not brainy.”
I say, “Well – there are different ways of being smart, you know.”
Layton just grins at me. I say, “I had faith in George, and I’ve got faith in you too, Layton.”
“You’ve got faith in some funny people, Miss,” says Dimario.
Jack nods, and they all look at me and smile, and I say, “You’re right – I do.”
All my colleagues; and it’s like I’m just holding on, but I have to hold on. Cos you never know; you never know who’s gonna turn up, or why… or when.
I bring home a folder that Tau gave me a while back. He asked me to look after it, and then one day when I tried to give it back to him, he said, “You can have it, Miss.”
So I do have it. I look at his beautiful, flowing writing – and my heart twists up all over again. The only thing that really gives me a little bit of consolation just now, is knowing that every single time I was with him – he knew I was on his side. And I still am.