Tuesday 9 April, 2013:

School today. Year 9’s so babyish, sometimes. Today was one of those days. I feel just… frustrated is all.

Jackson says to me, “Miss? You’re look like you’re in a rush.”

Guess so: a rush to get it over and done with. Man, it’s like teaching primary school, some days: “I don’t get it,” they say. “I lost my mind map.”

“I don’t get writing paragraphs.”

“I need help.”

“Miss!” they bellow

And so on, and so on and on.


Thank God for Michaela, who gets it. Hallelujah.

Lauren says to me, “Miss, can I go sit with Michaela. She explains it really well, how to do the paragraphs.”

“Sure thing,” I say. Patient little Michaela, who can explain it a lot better than me today, I reckon. And the lovely Deshaun

I say to him, “Oh my gosh, Deshaun, this is the best paragraph I’ve read all day.”

“I don’t get the ‘TEXAS’ thing, Miss,” says Deshaun, ruefully (it’s an acronym we’re meant to teach them, school-wide). “I’ve just done it my way.”

“Your way’s just as good,” I tell him, honestly. “TEXAS is really just to help anyone who doesn’t already know how to write paragraphs. You’ve got all the points in there, anyway. Explanation, examples, analysis… just like TEXAS, only better.”

“Thanks, Miss,” says Deshaun, smiling in surprised happiness.


Caleb comes and insinuates himself alongside me, keeping up a running commentary on his dilemmas:

“Miss… can I go and get the key to my locker?”

“Miss… can I go and get the key to my locker, it’s at the office?”

“Miss… can you write me a note, I don’t have my diary.”

“Miss… can someone go with me, I don’t want to go to the office by myself.”

“Miss… I’m afraid to go by myself.”

“Yes, I know it’s only the next block over, but I don’t want to go all by myself.”

“Miss, I need someone to go with me…”


I say he can’t go, and tell him to write his paragraph.

“I already wrote the information, it’s on my mind map.”

“I already did that – Miss? It’s all there, on my mind map.”

“Oh, I have to write a paragraph!” (light finally dawns)

“Ohh, I need my mom to help me. Can I bring it in next class?”

“Yes yes yes,” I say, abruptly. I couldn’t give a toss about Caleb’s paragraph, or whether he brings it in at all, to be honest.


And then there’s Delaney, who arrives half an hour late, with a forged note (‘from’ her tutor teacher) in her diary. I suspect, correctly, that her tutor teacher has nothing to do with it. A few emails later, Delaney’s goose is cooked. She tries to toss her head and talk back to me, but I say, “Don’t even start!”

“Yeah, don’t start, Delayney,” echo the others.

And wisely, she drops it. “I’m not trying to argue with you Miss,” she says. Then, unable to help herself: “I’m just saying…”

“Quit while you’re ahead,” I say.

She grins at me.


And yes, my mind’s rushing and rushing. I want, I want… a lot of things. Want them now, don’t want to wait any longer for them.

The only time I don’t feel like I’m in a rush, is at break time, kicking it with Slade. Grumpy, funny, crackup boy… and he’s my friend, in that stupid place.


Wednesday 10 April:

Tau’s bought some home brew, from God alone knows where.

“This is gonna make me throw up later,” he tells me.

“Ohh Tau… that’s not a good thing,” I cry.

“If I throw up, I know I’m wasted – and that’s algood,” he replies, very straightforward.

“No it isn’t!” I say. “How can that be algood? That’s not fun.”

“At least I’ll know I got my money’s worth,” says Tau.

“Bloody hell, that’s just ridiculous,” I chastise him, and he chuckles.

But I do worry about him, of course. Because I love that boy like I raised him, honest to who. And I think, all the more so, for what we’ve been through.


I also hear from Elroy, who tells me Kepaoa’s coming back from down the line tomorrow. I say I thought court was tomorrow; perhaps I’m wrong. Elroy wouldn’t have a clue, anyway. He’s on leave from rehab for court himself, but missed his own case today.


Thursday 11 April:

Thankfully I have 11 History first up today, who soothe my tired, impatient brain. This is brought home to me even more when I manage to score a last minute booking for eight computers. “Ok, I can send eight people over to the library,” I tell my class. Usually I’d choose the group myself, trusting only certain students to be there unaccompanied. But with this class, honestly – everyone’s independent. There’s not one person I wouldn’t choose. So, “The first eight people to bring up their diaries can go,” I say.

I look at them with great regard. Every table. Every kid. And just when I think I’ve lost that connection, with school… when I think I don’t care about it at all, or anything I’m supposed to do there. Right then with 11 History I do care… and it’s enough to still my rushing mind, for a little while.



Saturday 13 April:

Today feels like a good day, for some reason. I’m not so tired anymore. I just want to go to the mall or something. Walk around, get coffee. I’d like to go right into the city, but my car payments start up next week, and I have to keep some money in reserve.

I’m alright with money though. I feel kind of buzzy about it. Joined the gym. Bought me a car. Still got food in the cupboard. I’m just remembering those years when I couldn’t even get to the end of the week; down to my last dollar. Not that long ago, either. I’m not sorry about it, now. It made me so unsentimental – it was a funny feeling – I was emptied of all pretense. I couldn’t even answer my phone, couldn’t talk to the people I used to know. Didn’t know what to say, what to do. Felt like I was falling; dropping like a stone. And then, right when I thought there was nowhere else to go, nothing left to do but hit the ground, I found myself in the middle of a battle zone.


Sometimes I wonder: why couldn’t this have happened earlier? But I guess it just couldn’t, that’s all. There’s a time; a place. Some things are just meant to be, that’s what I think.

If I’d found this place earlier, it would have been different. Different in what way, I don’t know. Just… different. But perhaps it was meant to be just like this. For better or worse – it was meant to be like this. And I was meant to be right here, with these people, in this time.

I feel very emotional, writing this stuff down. Emotional and not sentimental. I don’t mean to imply that everything is alright, or that stuff doesn’t happen. But I feel that we’re all as ‘protected’ as we can be. Because we’re brave. Because we try. Because we don’t give up. We’re always ready to take our last chance and use it. And our hearts sing for battle. I can’t explain… but this is how it is.





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