Tatyana rushed into the classroom and blew up. "Oh my God! Not again!" She yelled in the emotional way unique to middle school girls. She slammed her thin body into a chair and put her head in her hands.
(more) “It’s Miranda. I hate her. She is always mean at lunch. I didn’t do anything to her.” She wailed. Openly weeping, she continued dramatically.
“It’s always Miranda and Lacy. They are the b-word. I’m sorry, but it’s true. I hate them.”
“What did they do?” I asked in the obnoxious soothing voice unique to middle school special ed teachers.
“Miranda called me a RETARD and a LESBIAN, and Lacy agreed with her. They should be expulsioned. They should!”
“Girls can be mean.” I said. “You have to learn to ignore them. If you react to bullies, they win. You don’t want to give them that power.” I said, wise beyond her years.
“But it’s NOT TRUE! I DO, TOO, EAT MEAT!” She explained to a teacher who had not understood her, either.
That’s a lesson I had not written in my plan book, and I had so many possible responses. I began with vegetarians, and...(less)
Kevin strained his ears, waiting for the sound that would tell him someone was awake besides him. There was no creak on the loose floorboard in the hall. No sound of his father’s snoring. Even his little sister was unusually quiet in the next room over – no pleading(more) for a glass of water or complaining that she couldn’t sleep. He was the one who couldn’t sleep, but at twelve, he couldn’t exactly run to his mommy anymore. He turned over in his bed, darkness his new best friend, keeping him company when the nights got cold.
Kevin closed his eyes, trying to forget about the snow that was falling beyond his window pane. Others looked at snow and saw a blanket of white coating the earth in peace. Kevin looked at it and saw the Christmas when he was five and sat in the back of the car, his parents too angry for words. Then there was the time when he was nine and found his mom crying silently on the back porch, shivering from the cold winter air.
Now, at twelve, he had a new worry, one that was only eased by the sound of the front door and drunken footsteps on the loose floorboard in the hall. In this snow, Kevin had visions of fiery car wrecks and innocent lives lost. But after the relief that his dad had made it home safe for another night, came the silence. He wished his parents would just blow up at one another; he wished they would say what they needed to say and get it all out in the open.
For in the silence, Kevin waited. Only one sound would bring him comfort – if just for one more night.(less)