Monday, July 20, 2015

Insomnia: Teacher Weights

Can't sleep. I'm up worrying about my student in the hospital.

It was such a good day. A summer Sunday. I slept in, finished Anne Tyler's A Spool of Blue Thread. Bisque and I walked two miles to the beach. We were sticky upon arrival, so the mighty cold lake felt refreshing. The life guard plopped his row boat three feet from us, the only swimmers, who were perpetually humming "Jaws" and splashing around. I watched the Tig Notaro doc on Netflix, curled up into my grey hoody, and napped because the sun was coming through the windows just so. And this new couch (we got a new couch!) was ever so inviting. Suddenly, I needed to be productive. I cycloned around the apartment for two hours cleaning the closets, recycling old documents, organizing my lip glosses hurled under the bathroom sink. Bisque went for a run, and we agreed to meet up at sunset on the rooftop pool at our gym. Humidity retired for the day, I laid contently in a sun chair watching the orange sky melt. I walked to CVS to use my coupon, and chocolate dusted almonds were on sale for six measly dollars, would you believe it?

Finally, in the deep dark of night, we turn off all the lights, dunk ginger snaps in milk, and watch MTV's Scream. Bisque reads aloud to me from a young adult book. Before bed I notice I have a work email. It's from this kid's mother.

This kid, this sweet, cheery (one would assume) kid is struggling again. Severe depression. Things were unsafe. What does that mean? Are they certainly safe now? I'm worried this good student is going to fail. This is the last week of the term. I'm worried this good person is going to die. I can't stop thinking about it and wondering what else I could have done. Did this kid know I cherish all of my students? That the essays this kid writes are excellent, and that's not something I write on every paper? Please keep this kid alive, I keep repeating. Repeat One, like the button on a Discman. Keep this kid alive.

And now I'm worried for them all. Tomorrow is the final exam. I want them all to pass so badly it bunches my guts. They won't. That one missed, like, 6 classes and two essays. He doesn't have the practice hours in. This one can't implement verb agreement. And this person doesn't understand "logic" "proof" these things are nothing to him. "Meet me before the exam! Anytime. Email me. Send me practice paragraphs, grammar questions. I'm here from you." I checked my email devoutly all weekend. Nothing. And some of them really needed it. Nothing. Until now. Now I have one new email from the mother of the special kid. Please keep alive.

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