This post is my first post in the Fortnight of Flash, a guilt-free celebration of brief memoir, fiction, and whatever else you can flash. No length too short, less than 750 words, and prizes!
I don't know. Is that better than "Battery"? Yeah, by a lot, but worse than "Inappropriate language." Because I think your language is pretty bleeping inappropriate.
Sometimes I blame the district, with its rules that seem designed to send as many kids as possible toward the wrong end of "Yale or jail." Sometimes I blame the other teachers and kids, whose rush to judgment or complaint turned what could have been a miscommunication into a suspendable offense. Sometimes I blame the teacher.
I don't let my kid off the hook; the first thing we talk about is what he should have done better. I listen to his stories and stop him when he plays the victim. But I never scream or take away his stuff.
"I don't know what to tell you," you say. You're looking at me, with the in-your-eyes forwardness I rarely see from you. You mean business, you're tired. I've already heard the reading of your notes from two years ago, "a pattern," you called it, my kid objecting, writhing next to me. Now he's getting a drink of water and can't hear what you're about to say.
"You need to do something, I don't know. Set incentives, set limits! This has got to change!" You sigh, and look at me, like you're waiting for my apologia.
He's 10. This is my sixth year in the system. I quit my job, lost my agent, gave up so many quiet days, rode my bike here when you needed me, hundreds of miles in the cold and the rain and the sun and the gorgeous, lovely fall and winter and spring. Everything. I know 40 different routes from home to school. I love this kid. I want, for him, normal like I want to sleep at night, like I want to eat after a 10-mile run, like I want to have a book published, like I want you to stop sending me letters.
I know you blame me.