Monday, April 07, 2008
He sat in the back of the classroom. Sometimes staring at the fluorescent lights flickering and humming above. Sometimes looking out the window toward the traffic flowing on the street beyond the playground. Sometimes following patterns invisible to others in the woodgrain of his desk or in the tiles of the floor or in the cotton of his jeans.
Beyond him he knew the teacher was usually talking. That other kids were reading or writing, passing notes or hitting each other, talking or rolling pencils off the desk so that they could bend down and pick them up. He knew that numbers and letters and words were being tossed around, but none of it could really touch his attention. He knew that he didn't need them anyway. He told his own stories as he watched his worlds, he added and divided his own sums as he let time wander, he found his own sciences as he watched the earth spin through its day. And he knew that the teacher knew that if she tried to force these things his way, he had very good ways to resist.
So there he sat. Holding an uneasy truce with his captors. Waiting for the best days, the rainy days, when water would streak across the window and the passing cars and trucks would toss spray in the air, and when he was finally paroled at the final bell he could walk slowly home, letting the water from the sky bathe him in its chill embrace.
copyright 2007 by Ira Socol