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the empty

The fat girl as they call her, came to school with a hypodermic needle in her backpack. It may have been to defend herself, it may have been to instigate something. She comes from a broken home and this is her second or third school. E steers clear of her, and the bullies she tangles with. It was never understood  - how things began, who threw the first insult, the first punch, the first grabbed book but the end is a chronic cycle of violence. At one point, the girl's mother got the police involved and this was seen as offensive, a step too far. The police did not resolve anything so it was all just a lot of saber rattling. That is the most common sound here. The empty threat.

Last week, there was a sobrani, sort of a cross between a parent-teacher conference and a school meeting. I was busy, so E went by herself and took notes. Five minutes in she messaged me, that I was wise not to be there. Nothing about this girl was going to be resolved.
"Boys will be boys" was all …

what we all need


The winter sun is banging through the windows, drawing greasy fingerprints and reaching into the corners of the rooms.

E is twisted like a kitten in her bed in the living room. She snores lightly, an odd collection of dolls caught in her armpits and elbows. She never sleeps without them.

I walk carefully between the legos and miniature doll furniture on the floor. The kitchen is half-clean. I will sit here and look at the empty sky for a while.  Making coffee would surely wake her. The room still smells of the Amatriciana I made last night for guests. The dishes stand, a messy tower in the sink. I smell crushed red pepper, the sweet residue of tomatoes, the white wine left open. There are three corks on the windowsill - one from New Year's Eve, one from last night, one from a few nights ago.

The year has begun and everyone is sleeping.

My skin itches with plans, wishes, daydreams. We need results, not limbo. We need to thrive, not simply tread water. This is a rare moment, when the fridge is full of food and there is no battle on the immediate horizon.

These are the moments I give thanks for the two women in my life. These are the moments I stare into the horizon, painfully aware of what we all need.



Comments

Annie said…
Lovely, but painful.
Mother Theresa said…
Beautifully written. You know, I think you will get those results...and they will be good ones. It just has to be that way. But for now just enjoy the reprieve...
Omgrrrl said…
Yes. This year will be better for you. Its a promise.

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