My turn to help you out

Tuesday 20 March, 2012 (contd):

At 9:30 am, with still no word from court, I mull over my options for the morning:

Option 1

Do the stats analysis for school.

Problem: I don’t give a fuck about the stats analysis

Option 2

Ring Elroy about his youth mentoring appointment.

Problem: Can’t take care of anyone right now

Option 3

Curl up on my bed and cry

Problem: It won’t make me feel better

Option 4

I don’t think there’s an option 4, actually.

Problem: Lack of options


And the morning goes slow. First I just kill some time by wrapping up – it’s a cold autumn day out – and going for a walk; meandering as far as Municipal for takeout coffee. I could go anywhere, I think: no-one would know. I could stay out all day and night if I wanted. I could leave home for a week – the only person who’d want to track me down would be Marjorie; in charge of relief for this term. But I just go home anyway.

By the time I get back, I’ve decided I might as well compile this term’s 11 Social resources (slideshows; links; clips), and mail them to the new kid who started yesterday – his name is Neon. He’s given me his email address for this exact purpose, and so, why not?


Actually, I like Neon from the moment he strolls in and sits down amidst my favourite group, seeming rather casual. I register that he’s either new, or else a ‘visitor’, so I just leave it for a bit, to see which one it is. Turns out he’s new, ex Bream College. Hasn’t been to school since year 10. Has never taken 11 Social, therefore – and isn’t quite sure why he’s in it. “That Dean picked it for me, I think,” he says, cheerfully.

“Which Dean?” ask the boys at his table.

“The one with the funny undercut thing at the back…” and he puts his hand to the back of his neck to aid our understanding of the hairstyle.

“Oh – Mr Roberts!” and we crack up laughing.

“Yeah… well he picked it for me… cos I had a gap, and I think this class was one that fitted. But all good,” he hastens to add. “Seems pretty solid so far.”


He actually does seem to be quite enjoying it. But being plunged into the middle of Birmingham ’63 is somewhat perplexing for him as well – and so I start him off with a map of the USA: Southern States; major cities. This task he settles to do with a will. “Churr Miss,” he says, making his table laugh like anything (and me, too). I can’t work out for a bit if he’s taking the piss, or just funny and enthused. It turns out to be the latter, definitely. By the end of the class he’s scored himself a 1B5 exercise book (the one he’s brought with him is his ‘everything book’).

Felipe is most intrigued. “So can I have a book?” he asks.

“No, you’ve already got one,” I tell him, adding, “But if you needed one, I’d give you one.”

“Can I have five dollars then? Cos I need five dollars,” he replies, making everyone laugh all over again again.


It’s a nice, funny, relaxing class – I write about it because it settles me to think there’s still a little bit of care and reciprocity left, at school.


Neon turns out also to be a graff aficionado. “Miss?” he begins. “See those pictures of the bombings… do you know all the people who did them?” and he gestures towards the wall behind my desk, where I’ve pinned up some of the artwork from graff last year.

“I sure do,” I tell him.

“Ohh… cos I know some of them too!”

“Really – who do you know?” I asked.

“Mainly the bros Rich and Statik,” he replies.

I can’t help laughing, and, “How do you know them?” I enquire.

“Cos… from Clancy and that,” he tells me, as if I’d know exactly what he meant. It amuses me to think he would even assume I might. And, obviously – I do.

So we get along like a house on fire. “Chuuurrr, Miss,” he says again as he leaves, shaking my hand.


By 5 o’clock, I realize Tau must have had his hearing. I think about texting Sheree to find out. But why? If they wanted to tell me, they got my number. I’m not running around after the news that way. No matter what happens, I ain’t gonna die.

Hour or two later, I get a text:

Hi Sheree hea, he got 50 hrs community work. Sori I meant 2 tex u earlier mis, but we jus got off da road

Then this one:

Yea dat boys being an egg 4 nt wantng u 2 kno about it all, I told hm that u need 2b told, bout fings lyk dat. specially if he resides dea. state of him. aye

It went okay then. I’m momentarily relieved – and then straight away I let myself feel angry, now that everything’s alright. I know it’s been hard for Tau, but it’s always, always and fuckin’ always all about Tau. Shay whirling and skipping around after his every whim; me waiting all day like an idiot. I didn’t have to be included – that much is true. But it rankles to be left this way.

And I feel so aghast at myself: how it’s come to this. That Tau gets all the power and no-one else gets any.


Around 11pm, I hear someone open up the shed – I’m in the kitchen and Shay comes in. She says, softly, “Hi Miss.”

I say, “Hi.”

She says, “I just came to get a…” and busies herself getting a cup off the bench.

And I say nothing. I don’t know what to say, or how to act like there’s nothing wrong. She doesn’t tell me about anything, or say what happened at court, or anything. I don’t know if she’s shy to talk to me, or just doesn’t wanna talk. But I felt injured, still, and don’t ask.

It’s probably the Lord and Master who wants the frickin’ drink, anyway. And would have sent her in to get it.


The only person I’ve told what really happened, is Kepaoa. La-Verne texts to ask how it all went, and I just say it went good. I sit there, feeling so hurt and ashamed, and then I text the only person who I don’t feel shamed to tell:

Tau just got community service.. he’s a egg though.. he needs to grow up

Kepaoa, who thinks I mean he’s an egg for getting busted, replies:

Aye!?? Juct dat far thts algudz ay, u rekn dy gne du dm randm checks?

Tbh I dnt no anything more about what happnd i only know cos his mum told me and of course im happy for hm that he got off light but if it was up to him I wudnt no anything.. and right now I feel like they’re just using me.

I still haven’t explained it very well. Kepaoa texts back:

Yeeah ay, far thts sum lucky dngz he got, aye whoz using u ms? Da parnts? Faaar tht iz lyt ay den dat gne be a cnvicshn ae? First.

No his mums been algud telling me what happend.. tau acts like its nt my biz. He took off last night and didn’t tell me anything didn’t hear from him. Tau’s back home now but I haven’t even seen him. And Shay just does what tau tells her to do.

Now Kepaoa gets it:

Yeahp, aye? Faaar wata saad inau it nuna ma bidness ay ms by dats straight cold wat dy duin ayeh. So nau wunz tawkn ta anywum at hme? Feel sorry fo u ms stwait up!! Thts lyk ultra mesd, why dy du dat fo unau? Man dats juct saaad straight cold!!

Sch and TI.. and anytime he gets into trouble ive always got his back nd I feel like an idiot now. You know what I mean.

Yeeeahp! Inau wachu mean ms! Lyk all uv dne iz gne ta waste lyk u dnt excist to dem anymoa unau, faar man feelng ua waez ay ms nau wachu mean hardst dou 

This text actually makes a spring of tears overflow from my eyes and just fall quietly. It’s so exactly how I feel, and at least someone understands, and so I don’t feel so ashamed anymore.

Im glad I told you, thanks for listening  

Anytym ms I gtchu lyk dat aye, u dne soo much fo me! I danku fo all of it, my turn ta help u owt.



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