Monday, August 10, 2015

Glass half full

I'm not a pessimist. I'm a realist.

The words all pessimist find themselves saying when confronted by those damned, delusional optimists. All systems eventually turn to chaos. The slightest deviation and then ...

I kept going back to work. The door to my classroom got smaller and smaller. Sometimes it was boarded up, planks nailed across the door frame. The threshold taunting me through a peephole. I could not get in even when I tried to crawl, squeezing into a space no bigger than a doggie door.

There were more teachers in my classroom every day. I would get there and there would be three or four teaching my class. I tried to get some one's attention from the hall. Hey, I gestured, I'm supposed to be in there. My plea was met with shrugged shoulders and words mouthed. "There's nothing I can do. Look around."

"Come out and let me explain," I pleaded.

She finally acquiesced. I didn't even know her name. She started with "I never even know when you are coming in." We sat down and I tried to explain.

I was a good teacher. Really good, I think. I loved the kids. I knew the material inside and out. I could anticipate problems before they happened. I could hear three kids talking at the same time... while I was on the phone.

"But what did you do?" she asked.

Everything. Art. We drew cartoons. We painted watercolors. We wrote newspapers. We rapped. We did skits. We made videos. We wrapped objects in 1 inch square grid paper to measure surface area. We shopped. We bought stocks and balanced checking accounts. We raced through Ancient Greece. We made snowmen to measure spheres.

"That's what they did. What did you do? Wait, let me put it this way. What is your background?"

That doesn't matter. I taught Core and 2 sections of math. I ran the math club during free periods and before school. I coached the softball team after school and on days we didn't have practice, I tutored kids individually. I sewed costumes for the plays on the weekends and I baked each student a personalized cookie on Valentine's Day.

"So you basically had no life outside of school?"

No, I did. I was a single mom, devoted to my daughter. I ran at the gym. I made delicious dinners. I was in a book club. I played darts in a dart league. 
And then it slipped away. President's Day weekend I went away on a girls' trip with my friends. We drove up to Stowe to ski and snowboard. Marissa Berber, Caroline Boyle, Caryn Duffy, Maddie Franklin. They were my friends. I had friends. There was some drama, a few disagreements and tears but I wasn't involved (for a change). It was so fun until I started to get a really bad headache.

A small leak changes everything. And now it is a glass half full, a glass half full of holes.

Narrator's voice: Next week on Aly's Angioma

"Why you want to be in a place you don't even fit in?" and other tales from the subway