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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 …

not all seeds grow (please tell me, some precious things)


There was a seed planted six months ago, for today's post. I cannot say more than the fact that it never happened. Not all seeds grow. It was painful, as deep a wound as any. But then I took a walk with N and V and E. I pushed my children on swings. I ate something. I answered questions, and felt useful, needed. No hurt can linger in a house crammed so full with love.

The weekend was lost in catching up on sleep, on staring at trees bending hard in a cold, wet wind. It whistled and howled at the edges of the windows, and I wrapped myself tight in warm blankets. V took a liking to one of my hats, and paraded up and down the hallway with it cocked far back on her little head, or dangling from one hand as she dragged it across the floor. After everyone went to sleep I pulled the guitar to my knee, and found something there as I often do in tough moments. 

                    Don't know if I'm good or bad, 
                    just what you tell me.
                    She had a gift for taking things away
                    so please tell me, some precious things.
                    Like when I was a boy,
                    when I was the new kid.

I walk home with E on Sunday. It is raining and the sun is shining all at the same time, a classic stroke of irony that causes no one here to bat an eye. The news comes in, another shooting back home. The numbers grow, as the details filter in. 

We are sitting at the dinner table, a full seven hours later than Florida and New York. The story unfolds, as sad and pointless as ever. 

All pain is pain. All suffering is suffering.

How to sift through all of this? A child drops an ice cream cone and cries out. They know nothing of the news, of deaths far away, just immediate loss, and a question “why?’ or “why me?” or “why me, today?” 

There is no answer. 



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