Wednesday 15 June, 2011:
Zion’s been suspended (not just stood down this time, but up before the Board now) for ‘continual disobedience’. Just as I predicted months ago – what a set up. And certain other developments then take place:
1) Karys mails me to tell me the news herself. This is a two-pronged strategy; partly to keep me informed, but primarily – I believe – to request that she be kept informed of my intentions and actions.
2) Marjorie: a most interesting private conversation, in which she intimates that Karys, rather than herself, is the prime ‘enforcer’ of the whole matter. Plus I learn of the machinations currently in play around project. Oh I’ll have to keep my nerve – if if I want to keep my autonomy.
3) Noa and I go on a ‘man hunt’ after school, to find Kost. And though we can’t track his whereabouts, Noa’s one hundred percent with me on everything; all of it. Totally unruffled, loyal, matter-of-fact.
Thursday 16 June
I feel like we’re in a reasonable position. I’ve put a number of cards on the table (not all) – I’m clearly willing to be involved with Zion’s suspension, and support him and his family. But I’ve also kept Karys and Marjorie in the loop. I haven’t done anything which can be construed as going behind management’s back. In fact (after much hustling, from myself and Noa) Kost is persuaded to come in for a meeting with Marjorie and Morris.
I’m half-hoping to meet with him first but the DP’s head him off at the pass, so to speak. The minute he arrives at the front entrance (with Noa) they appear, shake his hand, and usher him upstairs. Noa is left to his own devices, and comes at once to give me the low down.
At the same time, it’s a strategic move on my part to let Marjorie know that Kost is even on site this morning. For I could easily have told him and Noa to come through the back gate, and straight to my room – and I would have brought them across to Marjorie
But Marjorie is courteous and open enough with me yesterday that I want to reciprocate. I email her after my little tour of Carthill with Noa yesterday; and then again this morning to keep her updated: Noa is bringing Kost in; they’re on their way.
I know Marjorie and Morris will be on the lookout, after that. And they obviously won’t want me at their meeting – which is fair enough, I guess. So I think about it, and decide to leave them to it. Kost will tell me what’s been discussed – the main thing is that he sees them.
So all that hustling has paid off! “Far, I tried really hard for you, Miss,” Noa says.
“I know, Noa,” I tell him. “Believe me, I’m very grateful.”
Friday 17 June:
I’m real tired. But now at least I have the weekend free to concentrate on preparing for Zion’s board meeting on Monday.
Today I go see Marjorie. She’s already told me to ‘drop by’, so I mail her this morning and we make a time for just before lunch, very informally.
It goes alright. Marjorie tells me she was impressed with Kost yesterday; he’s shown a lot of maturity for a young man – he’s only 20. Then she thanks me for getting him to come in, and I say no problem (and make sure I mention Noa as the driving force behind his procurement). We go on to talk about the Board meeting; Marjorie says that Karys is ‘happy’ for me to attend, but if I want to present anything in writing, she needs to see it beforehand.
I’m ok with that (at least in principle), but I don’t comment one way or another about it. I just think: well – it works both ways. I’ll see what Karys is prepared to offer me, too.
At the end of our conversation, Marjorie says that in her opinion, the facts don’t warrant an exclusion for Zion. I get the distinct impression that Karys probably has a different view.
After school I head up to Carthill, to try follow things up with Zion. Actually, the first person I see is Inia – well, he sees me. As I get there, I hear, “Miss! Miss!” from further up the road and there he is, walking towards home with his little brother sitting on his shoulders – he’s just been to pick him up from school.
Within a few minutes Inia has taken his brother indoors, and is texting to establish Zion’s current location. “He’s at Clancy – he said to come across,” he tells me, then accompanies me without question, just naturally assuming we’ll both go.
We drive the short distance to ‘Clancy’ (Clancy Rd – the hood – evidently the place to be), where Zion is awaiting us. I look around me and say, “So, Zion lives there, (gesturing to his house); Noa’s in-laws live there; your aunty lives there… man, I should look for a place here too, obviously – cos anyone who’s anyone lives in this street!”
Inia pretends to cast his eyes around searchingly, and says, “Let’s see… how about that house, that one over there, Miss?” and we start to laugh.
“Oh, yup,” I say. “Looks perfect!”
It’s just back-and-forth, just kidding around, but again: ‘a little bit not’. I have a momentary sensation of something like floating… or descending softly. And the words of a song (or a variant of it) in my mind: I’d rather live in their world than live without them in mine. I sit with Inia and Zion, in Clancy, and I feel safe; I feel like a bird to its perch, fluttering down to its roost. Just one more knot loosened; one more step down to the valley.
We talk in the car. Zion tells me they haven’t received the ‘letter’ (the Principal’s Report) yet – and we go over the facts as I currently know them. Zion looks at me so trustingly throughout this conversation – nodding and repeating my instructions when asked to check his recall.
I drop Inia back home, and by then it’s 4 o’clock. The meeting’s on Monday. No-one’s seen the Principal’s Report. And I need to prepare, I have to see it. So I go back to school and take a deep breath – then I walk up the stairs to Karys’s office.