Mutual entente

Tuesday 24 August, 2010: 

A kind of sunshiny day, as it turns out. It doesn’t start off so great: the drive to work takes a whole hour; the motorway has a big section blocked off for road works and there’s a detour – and it’s raining. But by the time I get to school the sun has just started to show through the clouds, giving the world an 80’s styles art-print look of grey and pink.


At interval the usual personnel reappear in the ROR, where a kind of mutual entente appears to have now been reached.

First, the boys grumble at me, only half in jest: “But we were in here first… this is our place to go.” They look at the girls resentfully.

“No – they can come in whenever they like.”

“But girls, Miss…” they sigh, in acceptance all the same.

After a while they all start to be quite friendly.  ‘The Hair Salon’, Aperamo dubs the corner where the girls plug in their straighteners.

Sometimes the boys say, “We should have a turn.”

“Simeon’s hair needs a bit of styling…”

The girls giggle at this.


Leroi tells me, “Tau is angry – the police took his gun. They came and searched the house.”

“Why would they do that?” I wonder.

“Cos our neighbours rang them up -”

“But how did they know about the gun?”

“Cos Taurangi was playing with it – he was running around outside,” Leroi says.

I have to suppress a laugh, honestly. I can just imagine Tau running around pointing his gun and making shooting noises. I know; I know it’s totally unsafe and all the rest – but sometimes he’s still such a kid.


Wednesday 25 August

I really warm to Jesse in 11 Social today. He’s the kind of person who, even when he’s off task, will be reading the dictionary rather than talking, or texting. And he’s always asking me about stuff: Guy Fawkes, and the Tao, and Templars, and Charles Manson… (and that was just today)  I come in, and it’s, “Miss – what does ‘annexation’ mean?” or “How long ago was Alexander the Great?”

But he never finishes a single assessment. So today I tell him, “Ok Jesse, you can pick anyone you like, to research.”

His eyes light up. “Anyone?”

“Yes – I don’t care who – I just want you to do it this time.”

He chooses Rasputin – but this may change; knowing Jesse even a little.


At lunchtime, the girls get changed into their PE gear in my room. Clothes are cast off and put on again. Karlene sits resplendent in a singlet for a while, and her black mini shorts.  She’s ripped her skirt getting it off. Serena arrives layered right up to her jacket, takes it all off to put her shorts on; and then everything goes straight back over the top again. It’s like a changing room, and I say, “Did you lock the door, you guys?”

‘Oh my God!” they squeal, and Ana-Hela hurtles to snip the lock. “Oh my God – the boys could have just walked in!”

“But we hate getting changed at the gym…” they shudder. “It takes us too long – and Mr Ah Chee gets mad with us.”

Karlene leans back in her chair, half dressed, and I say, “Man – Serena’s trying to put extra clothes on, Karlene’s trying to take her clothes off…” and they giggle and giggle.


Thursday 26 August:

I’m affected by little things, today.

I go into Vikshal’s class to get something from my desk, and on the way out, Aperamo says as I go past, “Miss – what are we doing in project next week?”

He sounds a bit grumbly or something, and it puts me slightly on the defensive. I sigh, saying “You know what we’re doing, Aperamo.”

“So, will we just be drawing?” he says, in a gripey tone.

I tell him, “Look, if you don’t wanna do it, Aperamo, just don’t come, ok?” I speak sharply – more sharply than I intend to. And then I just go on by, pulling the door hard shut as I leave. I can’t be bothered pandering to Aperamo. And I think how I held his place for project – and who cares – because what difference does it make, to do anything?

How stupid for it to matter – but it does. And on the way home I think of Tau and tears splash down.


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