By: Sarai Exil
Never Say Never
Her sculpted hair is flattened to her large head. Her cheekbones rest right beneath her despondent eyes. Her chubby cheeks are filled with a sweet liquid coming from Ms. Jones Coffee Creamer bottle.
“What are you doing?” I ask.
She glances at the door to where I stand. Startled at my presence she jumps, and the thick substance drips from her lips onto her chin. She quickly stares into the bottle as if it’s a colorful kaleidoscope transporting her away from this most embarrassing situation.
“What are you supposed to be doing?” I take a step into the classroom.
“I’m working on my Social Studies project.” She drops the coffee creamer, and runs towards her computer. She begins to spell out a name into the Google search engine.
“Is that your name you typed into Google?” I question.
“Yes.” She mumbles, as nothing pops up on the search engine.
“Why are you searching your name?”
“I’m trying to find a picture of me to put on my project.”
“Oh, well …” I stifle a laugh, “does anyone upload pictures of you on the internet?”
“I don’t know.”
“Do you have a Facebook?”
“Nope. I don’t have any pictures of me.”
“Alright, I see on this paper that you’re doing a project on Emperors. Maybe, you should look up pictures of that.”
I meet Ms. Jones in the hallway and relay the tale of the thirsty child who drank from the Coffee Creamers that staff, City Year, and she use every day. Ms. Jones’s face is distraught as she picks up a coffee creamer bottle – French vanilla to be exact – and slams the door.
I laugh as I journey down the hallway wincing at the angry sounds of a perturbed teacher and the whines of a contrite child.
The Cry of the Wolf
I struggle to walk up the third flight of stairs (nothing like a flight of stairs to make you feel like the most obese person in the whole world) and down the hall to Ms. Jones’s classroom. I find my newest mentee in the Hallway with her hands covering her nose, and an escort request sign above her head.
“What are you doing in the hallway again, Tiana?”
“I’m waiting for someone to take me to the nurse.” She removes her hands to speak, and I notice nothing wrong with her face.
“I can take you, if you tell me what happened.”
She nods her head, and we casually walk towards those dreaded stairs.
“I got punched in the face. It was an accident, but it hurts real bad.”
“Tiana, did this happen in school?”
“No, last night at home; I was playing with my brother’s friends, and one of them got me smack in the face.” She shoves her hands back to her face, rubbing her fingers at the bridge.
“Did you tell your mom?”
“Yeah, but she laughed and said I deserved it!” She laughs a while, “sometimes, I do deserve it.”
When I drop her at the nurse’s office, I’m quickly called right back in. The nurse’s face is pinched while arguing with this mastermind of a child. Apparently, Tiana takes frequent trips to the bathroom, nurse, and office to get out of the material she doesn’t understand. Everyone who comes to the nurse (students, teachers, administration) all believe this child is lying, and her rude attitude is doing nothing to help the escalating situation. Tiana continues to complain about the pain in her nose; the nurse calls her mother who asks the nurse to put ice on it.
After five minutes of the ice, her nose begins to shrink considerably.
She was telling the truth.
But who can ever tell?
*Names of students and teachers have all been changed.