Tuesday 29 June, 2010:
Leroi slips in and tells me, “Taurangi has gone course every day. Except yesterday – cos it was our cousin’s birthday.”
“Did he go today?” I ask.
“Yes,” he says. “He went on time.
We give each other exultant looks.
“He quite likes it, aye,” I say, feeling a bit amazed.
Leroi agrees. “He does – I think they’re going paint-balling today. And he’s got a mate there too, he said.”
We exchange smiles, cos we get how big a deal this all is; I mean for Tau to actually be going. I’m very proud of him, and also I miss him at school – both so much that it squeezes my heart almost more than I can bear.
At lunch, some of the 9 Social girls come calling.
“Hello Miss,” they say. “Could we… come in here?”
“Sure,” I say.
They do, and sit at the front table with squeals of joy, cos:
“It’s someone’s table,“ they tell me.
“Someone we like.”
“In your class?” I ask.
They nod and giggle.
“Don’t tell anyone – but it’s Andre,” they admit.
“We like Andre.”
“He’s so strong… when he pushes us.”
I laugh at this. “He pushes you – and you like him?”
They nod. “He’s so strong.”
“He’s funny, and he’s so-ooo hot.”
“We tried to sit with him, last week, but he didn’t know we wanted him to sit with us.”
“We left a chair for him – but he didn’t sit,” they complain.
“Well, he didn’t know,” I say. “You should have told him to come sit down.”
“We tried to… but we didn’t wanna say.” They giggle and lean on the beloved table and sigh.
“Oh, and we like Cody – he’s hot too,” they add.
I’m lonely today, despite all the little moments. After school, I can’t think of anything else to soothe me but driving around in the nice warm car with the sounds turned up.
Friday 2 July:
At interval there’s a great hue and cry over the boys toilets – a very strong smell of weed prevails. The smokers have gone, with their usual expert timing, and now the duty staff are all standing round, relaying the alarm and locking doors.
By the time Shanice arrives at my door for 12 History, the scent has permeated right into the block. “Phew!” she says, holding her nose. “This whole place smells like buds and B.O.” She laughs. “Who was smoking buds, Miss?”
“I don’t know – it happened at interval.”
We go in, and the first person I see is Layton; applying a firm-handed FIX8 to one of the graff boards.
“Layton, nah… don’t do that,” I say, with some bemusement.
“No Miss, it’s alright, Hazard said I could,” he replies, unworried.
“I’m gonna do one as well,” Jack informs me, vivid at the ready.
“I don’t care if Dimario said it was alright – I don’t want you to hit up the boards.”
“Why not, Miss?” asks Layton, amiably desisting before standing up to engage in conversation with me.
“Cos it doesn’t look good if I let you guys do that – the school will just think that I’m promoting tagging.”
Layton grins at me, but Jack – oblivious to my instructions – has bent down over the board and is poised to begin his work.
“No, Jack!” I say, exasperated. “Man – you haven’t even been listening to a word I’m saying.” I look at his happy little face, and his slightly wonky expression of focus… and light dawns on me. “Oh, no wonder,” I say, matter-of-factly. “I bet you were the one having a blaze in the toilets at interval.”
This causes Jack to actually stand up and give me a surprised smile. And Layton says, “Ohhh Jack… Miss knows,” and Jack goes and sits down at his table, with an air of concession and goodwill.
Lunch break, and the year 9 girls make themselves at home again.
“Can I write on your whiteboard?” asks Serena
I give her two markers and she slips around the panels, hitting them up.
“Miss – you could have a part of your whiteboard that people could write on,” suggests Ana-Hela. “Like this bit -” and she points to the most under-utilized end panel on the back board.
“I could,” I agree.
Serena speeds over and inscribes the message: ‘WRITE HERE’ at the top of this space, standing on a chair to reach right up. She and Ana-Hela then began to obey this directive; each with a marker.
Meanwhile, Karlene sits beside me and tells me of her break-up. “Well, kind of,” she says. “We weren’t really going out; well we were… well, kind of. And he dumped me,” she finishes, matter-of-factly.
“So now she’s going out with Aperamo!” the others inform me. “He’ll treat her bad!”
“He’ll break her heart, don’t you think, Miss?”
I laugh. “I dunno. Aperamo’s ok – he’s just a bit of a comedian.”
“See!” says Ana-Hela to Karlene. “A comedian.”
“Well, it’s not a bad thing,“ I say, “But, you’re on the rebound, so…”
“So be careful,“ they tell their friend, sagely.
At the end of the day, they come back in.
“We just wanted to see you -” they say.
“Because we won’t see you in the holidays.”
They smile at me and linger at the door.
“Bye Miss, see ya.”