A joyous congregation of energetic kids.
What could be more precious?
And, at the same, what could be more… frightening…
There I was, one of about sixty, leaving one classroom, going nextdoor, going into a room already crowded with a full class. The history teacher was smiling, the others were boistrous, I, I could pretend. We filed in, not silently, as our English teacher got red in the face.
“Oh my god, guys,” she says, flustered.
I enter next to last, trying to take care of myself without looking odd. I hang back, avoiding the pushing and shoving of the general flow of the students moving from class to class. The only one behind me is obviously annoyed at my lagging, as procedure dictates she be the last to enter the English classroom.
Because if the English teacher saw what she had in her hands, before everyone else was in, what would be in the point in everyone coming?
It went perfectly. The contributions added up in the appropriate amount of time and the sale was made. The history teacher had not needed to chip in, as we dreaded he might. The package even arrived on time.
We had all signed the card, some in large letters, others, like me, with a modest “-Pruess”. Whoever had drawn the iPod on the cover of the card wasn't really skilled at all. I could have done better any day, and thus, a good number of people I know could have done better. But I'd kept quiet, because attention is not a good thing when you're me.
The other kids swarmed around, not filling the room efficiently as planned but instead jostling eachother, vying for a place near the English teacher. I stayed back, keeping my distance, but after an exasperated sigh on the part of the girl behind me I gave up on being perfectly safe and made my way inside.
The girl finally pushed her way through, the door was closed, the history teacher made his announcement. The girl handed the English teacher the brown-paper wrapped Apple brand mp3 player. I could swear I'd never seen the teacher blush more than that. Never. She ripped the paper off, slit the saranwrap, flipped open the box.
“Oh… my… god…” she broke down, crying.
Kids who care smile at eachothers. The ones happy just to get out of class talk to eachother, saying things like “it's over, let's go'.”
A few kids trickle through the door, then a river flows through, me, standing beside it, near trampled. Kids everywhere. Backpacks. Bulk. Fabric. Laughter and crying from the English teacher. Hugs from those who cared. Fabric. Rough material. Studded belt against the side. Bony limbs against the whole body. Kids. Kids. Presences. Beings. People. Swarming. Everywhere. All around. Pushing in. Like fish flying trying to get back out of a cone-shaped trap. One popping through at a time. The others pushing even more.
My mind shakes. I don't want to die. Get these people away from me.
My body hurts. I'm bruised all over. When everything is over, the kids all go their separate direction. I slip off on my own, heading down the hall with no notice, no good byes or laters or “where are you going?!'. But that's good, it's bad to receive attention if you're me.
Because of genetics.