Friday 30 July, 2010:
I feel kind of sorry for myself in 12 History. I want more than what’s on offer.
“You guys are annoying me today,” I say. “You’re talking too much, and you’re not doing enough work.”
“Mm – I’ve given up,“ admits Layton.
“I haven’t,” protests Shanice. “I’m doing my work – look!” She shows me her book, saying in a plaintively earnest tone, “You don’t know, Miss, how much I do in this class, compared to my other classes.”
“I’m doing it too,” Dimario says. He flips his page (which has a little HZRD bombing), and sure enough, on the back is the work, neatly completed. He adds, slightly disgruntled, “You know I always do my work.”
‘Mm -” I say, but still feeling slightly short with them. “I wish Jack was here – he’d be doing all his work faster.”
“He’d be stoned -” they tell me cheerfully.
“He wouldn’t – and even if he was, he’d still be doing his work.”
And then at the end of a very long, tiring class – having grumbled at them, and coaxed and pushed them all the way to 3pm, someone says to me, “Miss – look!” and everyone’s head turns towards the door.
“Nah, you guys, I don’t care what’s going on out there – we haven’t finished yet.”
“But Miss, look – it’s – ”
“No – I don’t care what’s happening,“ I begin again, crossly.
And then Jack, or maybe Layton says, in a last-ditch attempt to make me see reason, “But Miss – it’s Nio!”
I turn around in surprise.
“Axis, Miss – Nio’s outside!”
And I go straight out, and look at him in bemused delight.
“Miss!” says Nio, “Sup, Miss.” He grins at me from under the hoodie that’s pulled over his cap, concealing his eyes. He looks undeniably shady, right down to the expression on his beautiful, sharp face.
“Oh, Nio – it’s so good to see you!” I tell him, making him smile unselfconsciously in return.
“Yeeeh!” he says, relishing this warm welcome.
“What are you doing here?”
“Just come to say hello,“ drawls Nio, adding, “I’ve hardly been doing anything. I just get stoned mostly – smoke buds every day.”
“So not that much different from school then?” I say, making him laugh like mad.
“Yeah Miss. And I’ve been doing community service – been in trouble with the cops.”
By now school’s ended for the day, and my class are dismissing themselves. People walk by and shake Nio’s hand constantly as we speak.
“Yeeh – I’m a celebrity,“ crows Nio. Then he asks, “Miss, how you been? Every time I see the boys, I always say to them – don’t forget to say sup to Miss for me.“
“I’ve been ok,“ I say. “I’ve missed you a lot…” and then, “But oh, Nio” I exclaim, “I don’t think you’re even allowed on the school grounds, are you?”
“Nah, don’t think so,” admits Nio.
“Oh well, never mind – just come in my room for a minute anyway. Come see the boards.”
“Yeah, I heard about those… ohhh!” exclaims Nio, as he sights the boards and goes over to investigate at once. Seeking, but not being given permission to tag them, he does a fast AXISONAR on the whiteboard instead.
“I wish I could come to project – just sneak in,” he says in longing tones.
“Me too,” I reply, somewhat unwisely but still very truthfully.
“Seen that cunt Cluzo? He’s hitting up everywhere – little fag’s getting out there, aye Miss,“ says Nio with begrudging admiration.
“Yeah, I know – and yeah, I’ve seen him.”
“What’s he doing?”
“Fuckin’ little fag,” says Nio, in quite a friendly way.
When I send him off (escorted by Dimario and Jack), I tell Nio to be careful, and that I’ll see him soon. And right in front of the boys, he puts his arms around me, and hugs me tight, patting my shoulder softly with his hand.
I watch him walk off towards the back gate, and my heart feels kind of filled up again.
Tuesday 3 August:
This morning, Leroi tells me: “Tau went course. His friend picked him up – they were walking there together.” He smiles, knowing this will make me happy.
“That’s great,” I say.
Though there’s still a little ache in my heart, despite even the good things – like Tau going course. Oh, of course I’m glad about it too. It’s just that I miss him, so much sometimes, here in this place.
But I know I have to be – well – I have to not fear the possibility of being unimportant. Things matter anyway. They do.
The year 9 girls come in, both interval and lunch. They draw on my whiteboard, leaving little messages for 12 History:
To the year 12’s. Be good for Miss
Listen to Miss and be good in class today
Year 12’s. Read the message on the back whiteboard
I see Noa as well. He’s sitting in the block (after lunch) with a bag of chips, and offers me some.
“Are those your year 12’s?” he enquires, peering through my window.
“They’re being good,” says Noa. “Better than my class.” (which he either hasn’t made it into yet, or else has strolled out of already)
“Yeah, they’re alright,” I sigh, thinking that yes, 12 History really are quite good, and what do I expect – perfection?
Noa says, “Miss – Inia and me are doing a draft for the wall too.”
“Oh – are you?” I reply, thinking about that with interest. I really like it that everyone’s still into this, even the ones who aren’t allowed to be in project anymore.
“Yes, is that ok?” Noa asks, earnestly.
“Yeah – it’s cool, “ I say, and he looks pleased.
After school, Simeon arrives in my room to collect his can of lak from my locked cupboard; I’ve been looking after it all day for him. To be honest, I can’t help laughing to myself when the deceptively cherubic Simeon brings it to me this morning. But I also tell him, “Come on Simeon, you’ve gotta be careful now – you’ve just come off a five day stand-down.”
And I know – he’s not gonna tag the school. But I’m certain to see that particular shade of blue all along Municipal tomorrow.