Monday 2 December, 2013:
Today’s busy from start to finish – actually it’s not finished, I have to start putting together the edits for Tuesday’s post.
And it’s project time again. There’s a kind of expo for the ‘non-choosers’, in the cafe. The teachers have to meet with Chloe and the non-choosers (there are a hundred or more) right after lunch, and tout for business.
All these kids are just standing around in the cafe, and Chloe says to them to go sign up with any of the teachers – and next minute I’m inundated with applicants. It’s that vibe of ‘doing business’, I reckon. You know, the feeling that makes you want to go into the restaurant that people are in, and not the one next door that’s empty.
Chloe comes up to me, and gives me a ‘look’. “What is it about you?” she says, kind of shaking her head and laughing. “Everyone else is standing around waiting, while all these kids are flocking to yours.”
I don’t know. But it always happens, with the non-choosers. Talk about like attracts like. It’s been that way for me at MC since the very start. I didn’t get it at all, to begin with. I used to think: Oh, why these ones? But that’s because I’d half-forgotten myself, I guess. And now it’s just obvious, to me and to anyone else with an outsider’s sensibilities.
Anyway, I take my suddenly assembled, but remarkably cohesive group over to the meeting room, and think of something to say and do – which again, is well-received by this extremely loose collective. Among them, I note Manasseh (bane of La-Verne’s life last year), and Mahoney, and a boy called Talal who I immediately like.
Projects are always fine, far as I’m concerned. I find them easy (with the odd spot of bother thrown in), and companionable, and fun. Even the usual logistical nightmares (rooming, for a start) don’t bother me like they normally would.
Wednesday 4 December:
It’s almost midnight when I hit post last night – but I do it, and I’m glad. It could be better, that’s true. But there’s something to be said for showing up, all the same.
This morning my room is still set up with exam desks. The caretakers move them out and shift my furniture in. I put a few posters back up, bring my speakers and stuff down from the office, and I’m ready for class – even have time to go make a coffee upstairs.
All day though, I feel tired and upset. At first I don’t know why. Projects are easy for me, and the kids are good, and everything goes fine. But in my heart of hearts, I feel like I’ve already started to ship out. And although I put a few of my things back in my room – I don’t unpack everything. I toy with the idea of hanging the canvases up where they’ve always been, on the wall right behind my desk. Along with a few other special things. An ‘appreciation’ certificate from Riley. One of Inia’s drawings, and one of Zion’s – and a signed tutor photo that Andre gave me (way back in the day, when tutor was cool). My Romulus and Remus photo, from the Capitoline Museum. A pencil sketch that Slade did. And in pride of place, Tau’s piece, from 2010. I still remember how he raced up the drive at Fitzroy Rd and presented it to me in the dark, saying, “It ain’t that good, but…”
But I don’t want to put these things back up. There’s no feeling of the ROR anymore. The troops have left, and I want to leave too. Might be I’m meant to be the rear guard. That’s alright with me. But I need to go while the going’s good. Everything says to me: Now.
The year 10’s seem like babies to me these days. Tau’s class, the year 10’s of 2009 – felt like my contemporaries, in some funny but real way. I remember the day I’d been crying, and how Riley and Laine just swept me up and fussed over me, like I was one of their girlfriends.
Of course I wouldn’t dream of crying in front of the year 10’s nowadays. It wouldn’t even be a possibility. There’s no need, and just no… stakes, anymore. I’m not playing for anything, at school. The battlefield has shifted. Even Karys Kirk hasn’t been my adversary for a long while. I don’t like her any better than I did before, but the incentives are too low for me to bother.
Thursday 5 December:
Day two of project. I have such big numbers that Chloe ‘loans’ me Ross for the day. It works out surprisingly well. Ross actually is quite useful (which I don’t anticipate), and better than that – he enjoys it! Well, wonders will never cease. He even asks if he can come back tomorrow (instead of to the project he’s originally been seconded to) – I check with Chloe, and she okays it.
The kids are really nice today, really sweet. I still have that cruising and slightly detached feeling about everything, but of course I do like the class, and project in general. I think that’s what Ross picks up on. He tells me the other projects are full of ‘grouchy teachers and loud kids’. Well, of course – the two go hand in hand. Yet mine is full of calm and pleasant happiness. Projects really never make me grouchy (apart from a little bit of growling if the kids don’t pack up properly). And I’m sure they sense that, right off the bat. So everything flows.
Friday 6 December:
The last day of project is enjoyable. All the same, I keep thinking to myself how something’s over, with me and school. In a way, I long for it to be different, I long for the Room of Requirement. But I can sense that that particular magic’s already left the building, so to speak. It’s like a power switch that I deliberately flicked off, the day Slade finished up at school. No more need for the ROR, or at least, not here at MC.
Mahoney and Talal are my kind of people, I can tell. But even knowing that – I stay a little bit detached from that feeling. At break, Talal asks me if he can stay in, and I reply (not unkindly, just matter of factly) that ‘we’ (Ross and I) have to take our break now. Then I go upstairs and make my noodles, and sit and chat to the teachers.
Saturday 7 December:
Post on the blog last night… blog’s probably not the right word for it, or not yet. At the moment, it’s like a retrospective, or a ‘prequel’ maybe. I don’t really have a clue what it is. I just know, in every fiber of my being, that I have to go right ahead and do it.
There’s something else that I’m noticing about myself – it surprises me. I’m becoming more… what’s the right word? I’m getting more immune to those ‘bad moments’; those moments when you just want to rip the whole place down and shred it to pieces, even if you’re included in the collateral damage. I still have them, it’s not that I don’t have them anymore. Sometimes I even want them. I want the luxury of bawling my eyes out, believing that everything’s all over.
Because I’m definitely on my own right now. Got not a single one of my campaninos with me, and I don’t know when, even if they’ll be back.
All the same, I’m working on the edits and the blog – almost like it’s no big deal. Sometimes I stop and look at myself and think: Huh? Cos the old me would have just cried my eyes out and then gone back to the start of the same circuit. Trying to whip myself out of that loop, and not being able to do it. Letting shame crush me, so that I just keep on limping around and around, tethered to one spot.
Ohh, I still have lots of bad moments. Moments where I think I’m stupid for even trying. When I believe I’m brittle, and hollow and ugly. But somehow I just don’t ‘believe’ it in the same way I used to. I know I’m warm and alive – I can feel it. And I guess feeling it is the secret. It gets you out of that bad place. It gets you moving, and eating, and writing, and a whole lot of other things. It gets you on the march – even if you don’t know quite where you’re going yet.