A narrative poem on a cold day in November that changed my life.
The days have passed by quickly.
There is no surety of unrest at present.
The dew still clings to the blades of grass.
I wake up early to get to school, an hour away.
The big red doors. I never knew what they meant.
I always take notice of the checkered diamond-shaped tiles.
The morning is fresh. I think I’ll sit in silence, again waiting for class.
The morning bell rings, but by now everyone is in their classes, and we go to chapel.
The tutors stand on one side, the students on another, all facing the “room holding the body of Christ.”
The doctor reads from the book that tells him what to read, say, and pray.
There is nothing special. A few eleventh graders ranked in the top ten PSAT scores in the country, but they should not be credited, but the school… or him.
It is time for the first class of the day, math.
A rather easy test is given, consisting of just some proofs and simple algebra, rather disappointing for an Algebra 2 class.
One of the tutors rings the bell again and it is time for the second class.
I did not know we had a written assignment for this class. This, added to an algebra homework I turned in late was not good.
The bell rang again. It was time for ten-minute break. I was invited to his office. He went up the stairs to the offices. I followed. I noticed the red carpet. It needed to be
I followed the man down to the dark end of the hall, to his office. He opened the door.
The office was like he had only been there a week. Shelves, folders, a lamp, a small pile of paper, everything, but nothing.
He told me to take a seat. I did. The was a seat for him. I don’t remember if he used it yet.
He looked away for a moment.
What are you doing?
I know it was late.
Now it’s not done at all.
You can’t do this.
You can’t do this!
YOU CAN’T DO THIS!
HOW DARE YOU!
WHY ARE YOU HERE?
WHY DID YOU DO IT?
WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?
NOT A MAN
TO BE HERE
TO HAVE EDUCATION
TO HAVE A HOME
TO HAVE LIFE
TO HAVE ME
I AM YOUR HELP
THEY ARE YOUR HELP
YOU WASTE YOURSELF
YOU WASTE THEM
YOU WASTE ME
HOW DARE YOU?
HOW DARE YOU?
YOU’RE NOT A MAN
NEVER WILL BE
TO BE HATED
TO BE SCORNED
TO BE GONE
HOW DARE YOU?”
And he continued to say things about me, about other students, about his son.
I cried there as he spoke, or yelled, or screamed, at me for an hour. He kept me through science class.
At the end, he spoke very kindly. He offered to be there for me if I ever needed to talk to someone. He smiled and said light-heartedly that we all need a little kick in the rear once in a while to get back on track. His eyes burned again as I walked out.
I went downstairs. There were just a couple minutes left of science class. I decided to go to my book bag. I cried again. Who was he? No, who was I? What had I done?
* * * * *
It was time for me to go to my next class. I met my science teacher in the hall. I liked him. He could tell something was wrong with me. I lied to him.
Now was Ancient History class. I did not much care for that class.
As usual, I ate alone in the classroom. I prefer solitude. Sometimes people would try to talk to me, but I would kindly dissuade them from any desire for conversation.
Latin class was my favorite. The tutor was kind, and he knew the answer to practically any question one could think of.
I like Theology class as well for it was taught by the same tutor, but I do not agree with Catholic theology.
It was time for Drama class. At this point in the year, we were preparing for our upcoming Mulier.
We practiced some version of Ave Maria, but I was prohibited from singing the second half by my Lutheran pastor, for it was a prayer to Mary.
It was the end of the day, and we were given fifteen minutes to do our chores, such as sweeping the halls, vacuuming the large red carpet that went up the stairs, and cleaning the blackboards. We did not have to worry about cleaning windows. Those were left a punishment for the students who did not have their gym clothes.
I would usually play piano until my mother came to pick me up. It is the only relief I can get, but I could not bring myself to it that day.
What would I do? What should I do? How could I escape? What did he say to me? Yes. He was right. I don’t deserve to be here, I don’t deserve to be loved, I don’t deserve to be cared for, for people to waste their time and money on me. What do I do?
So much pain.
I couldn’t. I can’t.
I can’t bring myself to it.
How dare I?
Help me, God.
Help me, I suffer.
I cry. It hurts so much, Father. Relieve me. Strike me dead. Or…
Let me forget.
Why haven’t you
Killed that memory,
Killed the pain?
Hold me, Father.
I want to be humble, Father, but…
I want You to care about me.
I’m not perfect, but…
Waste just a little time and effort on me.