my second day teaching, i broke down in the office while talking to Pol, one of the staff. she’d asked how it was being back, and when the words, “it’s hard,” made their way up my throat, so too did a torrent of tears that i couldn’t stop. it was one of the situations i’d dreaded before going back, and there i was with an obstacle course of corridors and students and colleagues in between me and the privacy of a toilet stall.
but the tears turned out to be magic. instead of looking uncomfortable and turning away, Pol came around her desk and put her arms around me. she then spent the next thirty minutes letting me talk about little sun and my unrelenting grief. when i showed her pictures of my little boy, she leaned closer and really looked….even at one where he was very sick, and she asked all the right questions. very quickly, the tears became ones of gratitude, and i thanked her over and over again for kindness. those kinds of moments have been rare for me in the nearly ten months since little sun died….moments where i can cry over him and talk about him while someone sits next to me and holds my hand and just listens. i have felt so alone.
i’d told Pol that i don’t have too many friends here, and that i spend far too much time at home pacing around in my own head, and when we’d finished talking, she suggested that we meet up for drinks one night. i’m sure it felt like a small thing to her, but to me it was huge. even after i wept in front of her and went on about my dead son, she wants to spend time with me. it still surprises me that anyone would, but i am actually looking forward to sitting at a little bistro with a good glass of beer or wine and the company of someone who can look me in the eye without flinching.
i saw several other colleagues after that, and most of them gave me bisous and said how happy they were that i was back. i walked home feeling lighter and so much better about work. i’m teaching again in about three hours, and i have a knot in my stomach thinking about it, but at least i know there is comfort and that there is kindness to be found at school. there are still happy surprises, it would seem.
today in class, we start talking about one of my favorite subjects, street art. it’s sunny and warm, and i miss my little boy…..& life goes on…