Special is as special does

Tuesday 31 July, 2012:

My day:

1) Get to sch, have a House meeting.

2) Non-contacts – someone’s teaching in my room – I work upstairs in the office.

3) Just before interval, I go get a pie (from Municipal – the ones at the cafeteria being too expensive)La-Verne asks where I’m going, and I tell her.

“A pie?” she gasps, in a shocked way.

“Yes, what’s wrong with a pie?” I ask.

“Well… it’s just something I’d never think of getting,” replies La-Verne, laughing – but in my opinion somewhat sanctimoniously. I’m sure she thinks pies and their ilk are responsible for half the nation’s problems. With her organic this, and her sustainable that… and yes, I’m very fond of La-Verne, but honestly!

4) Eat my pie (which costs $2.20) in the carpark behind Foodworld, then go back to school and make a coffee.

5) 13 History. Karys comes in (she’s doing walkthroughs), and it’s going fine… as fine as that topic can go, I guess. 19th century politics: the ‘Liberal era’. You know, not grabbing me (or anyone else) by the heartstrings – but that’s alright.

6) After Karys leaves, I sit and talk to Riley and Marie for a bit. They understand completely about going to get a pie. “Did you go bakery?” asks Riley, with no surprise whatsoever, and a degree of envy. “What kind of pie?”

“Which bakery do you go to at Municipal,” says Marie. “I go to the one by the bus stop.”

“The one with the back shop and the front shop?” and she nods.

“Yeah, that’s the one I go to as well, mostly.”

And so on.

7) Lunchtime, with Zion and Slade. We look at some graff books, and just talk.

8) 9 Social. They’re ok. Not fantastic. I don’t care; I’m tired by then – and growl.

9) ‘Professional Development’ meeting. What crap. Kuli and I roll our eyes at one another across the room.

10) Cold and rain. Go home, have a feed. Trying to provide distraction for myself. Trying to be alright with that. Trying to have fortitude, and hope… and finding it so hard.

Once again, I give up and cry when I go to bed. To be here all alone, all the dang time. I stroke my own hair with one finger… feel my own breath against my hand… fall asleep.


Saturday 4 August:

Tau mails me this morning – I’m glad to hear he’s ok. Although he does tell me he and Misha got stopped by the police again last night. Lucky Misha was driving, this time. Cops took the car keys though. I feel… some kind of equanimity about it, I guess. I just try to accept things for whatever they are, today.

I hear from Kepaoa too. Elroy’s locked up (juvey) until next Friday. I express some sorrow at this, to which Kepaoa replies:

Hahahahaha ms he gta learn sumday ae, lil shmokey ass mafocker. Howu bin ms?

I miss Kepaoa. I miss… a lot of things.


Monday 6 August:

Zion confides to me that the reason he sometimes misses History class is because when he gets to school late, he’s ‘too shy’ to come in in front of the whole class. “So I just go walk around,” he concludes.

“You walk around? What a goose!” I exclaim, but very tenderly – and Zion snorts with laughter

“Miss,” Zion continues. “Could I give you my new phone number. If I get here late, then I could text you… and you could come out to get me.”

“Yeah, good idea,” and I take the number and put it on my phone.

Zion touches my heart so much. It’s made more poignant by the knowledge of how close he came to being excluded from school altogether. And we have a shared history; shared experiences. He’s my reminder of how to live, and even to thrive sometimes, in this place.


Tuesday 7 August:

13 History. As a class, they’re not too bad, and I mean that most kindly, which is sort of amusing. You know… we get along alright, me and 13 History.

So, at break – Preet and Demet go out, then come back in after a couple minutes.

‘Miiisss? Can we sit in here?”

“Cos it’s so cooold.”

They’ve been to the cafe and have chips in a paper bag.

“Yeah, sure you can,” I say.


They sit and eat their chips, and chat to me and one another. We’re just sitting there, passing the time, when the door opens and Slade and Carlos just come on in. Slade kind of glides in actually, like he’s coasting on some kind of rail track. Carlos follows, looking almost ‘concerned’… I can’t quite read the situation. Slade doesn’t even glance at Preet and Demet; doesn’t appear to notice them at all. He does a right hand turn and arrives at my desk, then sits down with a ‘clunk’, like he’s being bolted into a fairground ride, or a ski lift. “Miss can I jam some sounds?”  he says, urgently and under his breath.

Sensing something wired about Slade’s expression, I just pass him the sound cord straight away, and he jabs it into his phone. The beat kicks in, and he visibly exhales and says, “I almost had a fight…”

Carlos leans in towards him, kind of protectively.

I say, “Just now?”

“Yeah, just outside, right now – a boy called Aiga,” says Slade.

Carlos’s eyes meet mine, and he nods.

“Aiga’s alright… he’s got a big mouth…” I murmur, and Slade kind of leans into us, saying, “This beat’s phat…” He continues, “He thinks he’s bad. I wanted to fuck him up.” He sneers and bristles at the thought of Aiga, but I can see he’s starting to calm down just a bit.

“Glad you didn’t,” I say.

“I wanted to… I still want to.”

“Yeah; some other time. Not at school, Slade,” and he acknowledges this with a little nod.

I’m aware that Preet and Demet have gone quiet and are taking things in, gently.


“This is my track, Miss,” Slade tells me, suddenly changing the song.

“Aye?” I say with interest. Cos I remember, Slade told me a few weeks back, he writes lyrics; spits rhymes. At the time, I didn’t really take it serious… kids say that stuff as a throw-away line, heaps of times.

“Yeah, and this is me… this is where I spit,” and he starts to rap over the track.

I kind of try not to stare. Because Slade is really good. I just look to Carlos, and we regard one another with a bit of happiness.

Slade breaks off, with a grimace: “Lost it…” He starts again. This time he lets go, and right then there’s some power in it, and it makes me almost hold my breath.

He breaks off again, realising for the first time that there’s a couple of extra people in the room. “Lost it again,“ he says, but laughs this time.

“Faar…” I say. “Man, you’re good.”

He shrugs, modestly.

“You are. Should put that on Youtube.”

Slade demurs, but looks pleased all the same. He says, “Wanna hear another one Miss?”

I nod, and he changes the track. “Here you go, this is me and the bro – he’s a mutt; a mongrel – but you know,” He adds, “This was down the line.”

“Slade?” I ask. “Can you… put some of this stuff on my laptop?”

“Can Bluetooth it, Miss,” he says.

“Yeah – can you?” I shake my head, saying, “Maan… and nobody here knows you do this?”

“No, no-one,” Slade replies, with a little bit of pride, and just a touch of sorrow too.


The bell goes, and Slade’s all good to go to class, having calmed himself down successfully with the thing that does it… you know, the thing that hits the bloodstream. And I feel real glad, to have been there, and provided him the space. That’s all he needed.

And I think… weell, special is as special does. It ain’t much – to offer a bit of space and time, but it can still be honourable, in its way.

And God don’t forget about Tau. Please, please don’t forget.


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