Monday 9 August, 2010:
This morning I walk out the office door and the first thing I see is CLUZO.SSC written across the bridge, in letters a mile high. A big shock of electricity bumps right through me.
But I calmly go on to the library… where La-Verne spots me and asks, “Have you seen all that tagging?”
“Um – on the bridge?” I reply vaguely, and, “No – I meant over there,” says La-Verne, pointing out the window, back towards where I’ve come from. That’s when I get a second big jolt of electricity – because right along the wall, there’s another, equally massive hit; this one reads: FAZE.CLUZO.
“I can’t believe you didn’t notice it!” she says.
“Well, I just came from there – but I had my back to it,’ I explain, trying to sound mildly interested, instead of very affected by all this.
“Ha, you’ll have to see if you can figure out who that is,” she says, with good cheer, and a bit facetiously. She’s only joking; she doesn’t expect me to know – or not right away – but seeing my face, she looks at me curiously.
“La-Verne, I do know – I knew straight away,” I say, kind of choking, and not sure why I’m even telling her this much. “Don’t say anything,” I ask, throwing myself on her mercy. “I feel kind of sick,” I add, truthfully. “I don’t… I don’t think I can, um, please don’t tell anyone that I know.”
“Of course I won’t,” says La-Verne, looking rather interested. “Is it someone in your graff class?”
“No,” I say, “But… I’ll talk to you later. I need to think about…” and my words trail off.
We go to the staff briefing, walking past the caretakers who are already out taking photos. I really feel like I’m running with electricity by now. All I can think is: God, if the others knew that I knew, and at the same time – and in a strange way – it peps me up like nothing on earth.
At the meeting, it’s the first item on the agenda. Karys says they’re ‘following a lead’, and that if anyone has information they should pass it on.
I just sit there, as teachers exclaim to one another in dismay, “Oh, isn’t it horrible? It looks so ugly.” But I can’t help thinking it’s like a blast of energy, making the walls quiver and shimmer in response.
Outside, Aperamo hails me at once: “Miss! Did you see?” (gesturing up) “He’s been a busy boy!” And we both start to laugh, right there in the middle of the whole thing.
Noa asks me most seriously: “Who do you think Faze is, Miss? We think it could be Alton, what do you think?”
Then Andre comes over: “Miss, Taurangi -” he begins.
I say, in a vaguely diplomatic way, “I have no idea about any of that stuff.”
Andre says earnestly, “But it waaas Tau – that’s what Simeon says.”
I sigh, because Andre’s so young and innocent. “I know, Andre, of course it’s Tau – I knew that the second I saw it. But what I’m saying is… that we’re not having this conversation, do you get what I mean?”
“Oh!” says Andre, grinning conspiratorially. “What conversation?”
And I think to myself – well, you gotta trust some people; that’s what it comes down to. And so after that, Andre and I speak freely.
Leroi dashes up to me at interval. “Miss!” he says, as we fall into step. “Is he gonna be in trouble?”
“Well,“ I say, considering this. “Some people know – but most of those people wouldn’t say.”
“I think Tau might be in trouble with the police though,” he goes on. “Faze snitched – gave the cops Tau’s tag, and his address.”
“What?” I say, aghast. “Why did he snitch, though?”
“He thought he might get locked up,” Leroi says.
Leroi and I talk with complete openness about all of this, from the first second of our conversation.
By now a couple of unknowns have done more little tags (just in vivid) underneath. And I’ve taken photos of the originals, too – cos I know they’ll be buffed over by interval, and I want to remember how they made the walls come alive.
Tuesday 10 August:
The day’s highlight is another visit from Nio, at lunch break – Dimario escorts him safely to me.
“Oh my God,” I say, making them laugh. “Come on, quick.”
Within moments, Nio is drawing and contented in the ROR. “Can I have a yellow felt please, Miss?” he asks. “Could I use the fine markers – the good pens?”
I get them out, and he applies himself diligently to his work, while Dimario and I discuss the possibilities for a trip for project.
“Can I come?” says Nio, longingly. “Please…”
“Ohhh, Nio… I wish. But I don’t think so.”
“Cos you’ve been expelled – you know why.”
“But – I’ll be good.”
“Course you will, I know that, but school still won’t let you.” I say. “It’s not up to me.”
He accepts this with a sigh.
Dimario says, “We had another visitor who wasn’t supposed to be here either – the other night.”
“Who?” asks Nio. “Sir C?”
“Taurangi,” says Dimario. “Tagged up the school.”
“Did you see the tags?” I ask him.
“Nah – I got to school too late,” Dimario says. “They were already buffed by then.”
I take out my phone and show them.
“Ohh!” says Nio with delight. “You took pictures…”
I can’t help laughing. Just another day under the radar; not sure if I’m going from bad to worse or from strength to strength. Nio sequestered in my room, Tau’s tags on my phone…
And later, I actually tell La-Verne about Tau – I don’t quite know why.
She says, “I think he wanted you to see it.”
I think of that line again: ‘It’s not so everyone can see it, it’s so we can see it.’
“Yeah, me – and a few other people,” I say.
“I understand why you can’t say anything,” La-Verne tells me. “And don’t worry, I won’t say anything either.”
Who would have thought I could trust her like that?
Wednesday 11 August:
Hii mis hw uw bean iits me tau.
I’ve been gd hows course going?
Korse succkz got kort taggn tha nyt ii hit tha skewl.
i thought u liked course.. I heard abt the cops hope its ok
Nah teachers ahr bitch
never mind Tau just try to stay out of trouble
It vaguely occurs to me that his untroubled admission of hitting the school might be better deleted from my inbox – but I can’t bring myself to do it (and it’s still there).
Friday 13 August:
Somehow it feels as if wishing so hard all this time has created this whole raincloud of wishes, which has suddenly burst overhead and started to rain down on me for this whole, weird week.
The big electric energy of Monday zaps that cloud and makes it rain. And then it just keeps on raining, and raining, and I stand under it; not caring if I get drenched.
And I know that things aren’t over at all; things are just coming around.