Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A box of rain on a Tuesday morning

It’s raining. The sky is dark and it’s supposed to thunderstorm off and on all day. I can hear the Spanish teacher talking about telling time to her young class. Thunder. My kids look up at me. They are still kids, even if they are middle schoolers. The blinds are drawn and it’s hard to know that it’s raining but there’s a darkness outside that’s different from normal.

I’m thinking about life. About how hard we try. How we hope and fear so many of the same things. How each person we encounter, each person we love, every stranger who becomes a friend, every friend who becomes a stranger, how all we can do is love them. There’s nothing that can change the past and there’s little that we can do in the short time we have to influence much of anything.

But I can love people. As best I can.

It’s all I can do. 

I listen to the rain change timbre, slow down and start to halt for a little while. It will likely come back.

Just a box of rain
I don’t know who put it there

Sun and shower
Wind and rain
In and out the window
Like a moth before a flame

My phone sits on my desk in front of me. It isn’t my desk; it belongs to the tech teacher on maternity leave. I hide behind her desktop monitor and watch my phone drift in and out of consciousness, letting me know if there’s a text or an email. I’m looking for the little quote bubble with the smiley face that shows up when there’s a text. 

What do you want me to do
To do for you
To see you through?

My coffee is back in my own classroom, and good thing because the other IT teacher just walked in to check on us. No food or drink in the lab. A student walks in late. He’s always late. Good morning sweetheart.

I hope I’m doing enough for these kids. I hope I’m doing enough for all my people, but these are only my people for the shortest time. We belong to each other for a year, maybe two or three if we’re both lucky. I might teach some math. But really I’m trying hard to teach them how to be in the world. Math is just my method. 

The air conditioning turns on, loud. A couple of students look up at me. The Spanish teacher keeps talking time across the way. The students are typing up autobiographies that they started working on yesterday while I was gone, taking a personal day with no real purpose except that it’s May and I needed time. I needed to go away from this place and be my own person for a moment so I could come back and be theirs again.

Sitting here hiding behind another teacher’s desk and pretending I’m not tearing up thinking about my people and all the interconnectedness around me. A child gives me a glance and suddenly his face reflects his mother’s. Just like how my own son’s face shows me my father’s father. 

The bell rings.

Just a box of rain
Or a ribbon for your hair
Such a long long time to be gone
And a short time to be there


  1. Lovely, shivery. "every stranger who becomes a friend, every friend who becomes a stranger..."

  2. I loved that quote too. Beautiful post.