The real stuff

Monday 26 November, 2012:

I don’t do much at school today, except teach (which I guess is more than nothing). I just mean that when I’m up in the office, I’m not really working on anything. I keep fiddling around with little things I don’t even need to do. Sending emails; cleaning up my folders on the shared drive… that kind of non-urgent stuff. When actually I should be working on those frickin report paragraphs.

And I don’t have enough to eat, today. Just a chocolate bar… lucky the Oracle isn’t there to tell me off.

I wish I could just go get drunk, actually. God knows why. I just feel like I want to stop holding myself together all the damn time. Make of that what you will!

Because I don’t know. I don’t know if I’m close to the ‘real stuff’ or if I’m a million miles away.  Don’t have a clue. Don’t even know, honestly, what I look like. I just know that I get … tired. And right now I wish someone would come round and tell me it’s going to be ok, and it’s not too late, and things will be alright.


Tuesday 27 November:

Wake up tired, get my ass to school anyway and do all the reports.

Everyone’s coming in and out, talking… and for some reason Caitlin’s babyish voice just does my head in. Going on and on about the Inquiry presentation, and how it was really good, and how the SLT were marking them, and how she likes Marjorie, and so on and so forth. Ohh, I guess she’s alright, but honestly how can anyone be such a goody two shoes at such a young age (she’s like 25 or something)?

9 Social are as sweet and lovely as I’ve ever seen them, today. AJ makes a couple of false moves (like opening the door to the adjoining classroom one time) and I growl at him, saying “Maan… need a smack in the head,” and he bends his head forward, saying, “Here you go, Miss.” Actually I feel more like stroking his head, the goof.


Wednesday 28 November:

Kendra comes to see me this morning; wants to talk to me privately. She’s the girl who lives across the back fence from Scott and Sheree’s – and something major went down there last night. She heard them all screaming at one another. Says she could hear Tau yelling, Why don’t you just kill me now then? Go on, kill me, I don’t want to be alive anyway, I got nothing to live for. Why don’t you just stab me right now? The door was smashed, glass everywhere, people falling down the steps; the cops arrived. She thinks he was taken to hospital. Heard the cops talking about blood, saying – hurry up, wrap up his arm. She could hear Sheree crying afterwards – bawling and bawling.

“The whole time, I could hardly bear it,” Kendra tells me. “Fuck, that poor guy… and that poor family, going through all that, all the frickin time.”

My mouth opens and closes, like a fish. I felt like I can hardly bear it either, can hardly breathe.

“I didn’t wanna bum you out,” says Kendra. “But I wanted you to know, because you’re close to him. I had to tell you… you should know.”

“I’m glad you told me,” I say. It’s true, but at the same time I feel like my heart is about to burst out of my body and fly away somewhere.


We decide that I’ll just text Tau, not say anything about what Kendra’s told me – just check in about the painting tomorrow

So I do:

Hey tau its ms..u stil keen to paint tomorrow? Can u make a early start is tht ok?

 Yeap hard what time ms?

 Can we leave at 8:30? Sorry its so early bt we have to be out there by 9. Il pick u up. It’s a prety cool job saw the place on Sunday. Im realy glad ur coming:)

 Hahar yup il b up ms’


So it’s kind of a good sign… at least Tau’s alright, isn’t in hospital or locked up. Then, a couple of minutes later, another text comes:

Miss r u bizy?

No i dnt have a clas atm. How come?

Oh do u thnk u could come ova

K il be there soon

It’s just before interval, and I think I can probably get back just after. Luckily there’s some kind of year 9 presentation in the library, so there’ll be other teachers there as well. I mail Chloe just as a precaution, and off I go to Fitzroy St. To be honest, my heart is pounding; I don’t know what I might find.


Get there and Tau comes down the drive, he looks… alright, I dunno. Can’t see any injuries to his hands as he strides along, hops in the car.

“Hey Miss,” he says.

“Hey Tau. We off?”

“Yes Miss, please. Could you run me to the station? Our car’s been impounded, the cops pulled mum over and took the keys.”

“When was this?” I ask.

“This morning. And they took my mum to the cells.”

“Took Sheree to the cells… why?”

“Cos she was supposed to go to court this morning – but she missed her court case and then the cops pulled us over. First they said they weren’t gonna lock her up. But then she got all mouthy to them, you know how my mum is…”

“What was she going to court for?”

“Drunk driving… but Miss, we were going to hospital. That’s where we were going; that’s why she wasn’t going to court. We were going to see Leroi. He cut his wrist last night.”

My mind kind of processes this… Leroi, not Tau.

“Is he… ok?” I ask.

“Yeah. I think so. His girlfriend’s there, he’s just kickin it at the hospital with her at the moment,” Tau says. Then, “Everyone was drinking at ours last night, and my dad and Leroi had a really big fight. My dad beat him up with a bat. Leroi was down on the ground and dad whacked him in the face, here… and here…” He shows me: forehead and temples.

My mind’s still whirling… not Tau, Leroi. I feel a little bit of ‘relief’, and then a wave of pain.

“And Leroi smashed the back door. He put his hand through the door, cut his wrist – there was blood everywhere. My dad fell on top of him and they went rolling down the steps. Leroi was yelling: Just kill me – I don’t care, just fuckin kill me. Neighbours must have called the cops, then they came and took him to hospital.

“Fuck…” is all I can say, and Tau nods.


At the station we sit in the car for a bit, talking – and then I go back to school. Tau seems actually quite excited at the prospect of painting in the morning, and so I feel a fierce quiver of hope, coupled with a stabbing sensation at the thought of Leroi’s face.

After work’s finished I text the relief coordinator and take a sickie for tomorrow. There’s no classes to cover: I’ve don’t have juniors on Thursday, and seniors are on exam leave. . And honestly, I think it’s a great use of my time, and if Karys was on board with it, I’d run it all past her. But she isn’t, so I won’t. That’s what happens when there’s no equity – you have to go under the radar, and this time I’m doing it properly. So there.




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