This is actually about less students than the title would suggest. It’s about two in particular students who just so happened to touch me emotionally today.
The first is Geek Stink Breath. You may know her from an earlier post of mine. Lately Geek Stink Breath has been practicing good oral hygiene or something because her breath ain’t too bad lately. Anyway, it’s not about her breath this time. I was walking out of my 1st period class to get to my 2nd period class. I saw GSB standing and looking out over the balcony. I initially thought she just had a phone call, so I just passed her and entered into the classroom. I was in a good mood today and the topic was Advertisements. I joked around about the fact that Pond’s Whitening Cream is misleading. It’s misleading because I just don’t think that I will ever get the pinkish-white glow that the cream suggests is just within my reach.
We transitioned to the group projects that were started yesterday. However, GSB still wasn’t in the room. My co-teacher inquired about her whereabouts. The students told us she felt shy, but I was thinking to myself, “I just saw this girl talking on her cellphone . . . unless, she wasn’t really”
I silently slipped out of the class and naturally, GSB was gone. I noticed that the CR was occupied. I knocked on the door pretending to need to get inside. The door was locked and I just waited like I would normally wait if I needed to use the restroom. She eventually came out with red-eyes and was about to head down the stairs until she noticed it was me.
I saw her heart and her mind working against her. She started to head down the stairs and then shifted her footing to go to the classroom and then suddenly just stopped. Standing in the liminal space that only ever exists in the physical world when one has to make a quick decision. I began to hear her thoughts. It was 1981 and Joe Strummer backs off the mic because Mike Jones is taking over for lead vocals in this song. Strummer is just gonna do some Spanish backing vocals. GSB looks at me with eyes that say, “So come on and let me know . . . should I stay or should I go?” and The Clash takes a bow as they play the last chord of their one and only single.
“What’s wrong [actual name deleted]?” I ask. She just says science class. I am told later the teacher chewed her out for being late and turning in assignments late. But as I mentioned in my first post about her. She is a good student, so this was humiliating for two reasons. 1.) She’s Filipino and being publically shamed hurts. A lot. (2.) She tries very hard in school and thus, this was a low blow for her. She just happens to share a minor character flaw with her foreign English teacher . . . not liking to wake up in the morning.
I nodded. Looked at her for a moment and say, “Just take a break for awhile. Cool off, ok?” She asks me, “But where will I go?” I tell her to just walk around and sit in the library.
I saunter back into class and tell my co-teacher not to worry about her, she’ll be fine. She just needs a moment or two.
My 2nd story is about a new student. We’ll call him . . . Colgate. Sorry, the kids just happen to not have the best dental hygiene, sometimes. He doesn’t have bad breath (that I’ve noticed), but he does always seem to have gross looking teeth.
Anyway, Colgate always likes to wait for me to come out of the English Department and then walks me back after class. He is in the Special Program for the Arts in my school and I still haven’t figured out what his specialty is (dance, writing, visual art, or drama), but I think it is writing. He has the best English of all of the kids, but he is also the most insecure. Yet, somehow, he finds me safe to talk to.
He is the most cynical child I have ever met. And I guess that’s what makes me like him. He isn’t depressed though. I don’t get that vibe. He just notices the stuff that most people overlook. Like the fact that he doesn’t really have to study, but he really does want to learn. Thus, he puts in the work anyway.
Today, he came to the department and waited for me. “Hello Sir” he says. I am so focused on getting to class without hearing “Hey Bro” or “Hey Joe” that I didn’t even notice him. “Oh! Hey Colgate!” He tells me how he hates the weather. “It sucks, but not always. Like, at home. This weather makes me sooo sleepy. It’s good to sleep like this.” It’s a rainy day and I respond with, “Totoo! Masarap na Tulog pagkatapos clase para sa akin!” (Yep, after class I’m gonna have a nice sleep)
We were walking to class when he suddenly stops and says, “Uhm . . . I should go ahead. I don’t want to be like, um . . a leech” and takes off running. I laugh at his adolescent need to not associate too much with the authority figures. He acts older than his peers, so when he suddenly has a burst of immaturity, also known as being 12yrs. old it surprises and amuses me.
I think I like him because I think that if I had a younger brother our relationship would be similar to me and this kid’s. Too bad I’m an only child, eh?
That’s all for now.
– Brandon Holly –