By Mr. Lu
So, this is how I knew where I was.
There was this advisory, you see, where we were playing telephone by writing and drawing, and we were laughing so much, and it was so meaningless and silly, but the bond was so meaningful and tangible, and it felt safe and free, and we were just enjoying our time together, and it’s the kind of thing where you forget what you did, but you remember how you felt.
And there was that class with Pierre, Stephanie, and Kathy, and something would always happen between them, and Minecraft and buffer labs and the French would somehow be involved, and you get the sense those in jokes will still be around years later.
And there were these mornings when Wren, Miranda, Julia, and Benita and others would troop in, and we’d just talk about nothing, and it was the finest way to start the day.
And Mr. Morden and Mr. Butler are stopping by, and we’re analyzing the NFL, and every grand mistake and great play from the games on the weekend, and I’m glad I have someone I can talk sports with.
And there’s JJ, offering up the funniest and most scandalous comment of the year during, of all things, a dreidel competition.
And there’s Jack, the most polite, biggest guy around, with his mischievous clever smile, somehow embroiling Natalie in some incident, and then we’re putting Natalie on trial in front of the class and it’s just ludicrous, but in a good way.
And Matt and Lucas come early in the morning for extra help, and I wonder if they ever paid attention to anything at all in class, but at least they’re here and it’s all good.
And I’m in the hallway talking to Mr. Mac and Ben, an eight year alumnus, and we’re discussing the craft of film making, and the power of movies, and I love talking about movies.
And there’s this Emma talking philosophy and inspirations, and there’s that Emma talking about ducking the last few minutes of a class, and they’re completely different Emmas with different ways of telling stories, but the joy is the same.
And there’s Arthur, battling the curriculum all year in my class, usually asking to show some wacky video, but I’m going over AP questions, and, it’s near the end of class, and he’s saying, “Let’s do another one.”
And I see a couple kids, and they have these neato tattoos, and they’re expressing their individuality, and still wearing uniform, and, in a weird way, it works.
And here’s Betty and Georgia during first block, in the fine balanced space when you do work and talk about life, and you know the best kind of conversations happen when you’re doing something else.
And Kaitlyn gives me a snowman sock stuffed with rice, and puts it with all the other toys in front of my desk, and names the snowman Krusty.
And there’s Mr. Harding, who recognizes I’m playing Jim Croce, and he says it’s OK when I turn the music up loud.
And Mr. Barnum has lights on his mask, and he programmed it, and it’s so nerdy, but so cool.
And there’s this class, doing 10 second charades, acting out Jake’s breakup, and it’s stupid, and it’s funny, and we’re laughing in a we’re all in this together kind of way.
And there’s Cindy and Jenny working overtime after school, but sneaking in the latest gossip, who likes who, and who might be going on a date.
And Ben shows me his programming assignment, Sudoku solver, two days after I assigned it. And I do the requisite, “Uh huh, uh huh, that’s good.” But I’m thinking in my head, how the heck did this freaking teenager finish the hardest programming problem of the year in two days when it would have taken me over a week?
And I’m sitting at my desk, and it’s the end of the day, and it’s dark outside with miserable weather, and I’m thinking about the week and the year, and how the pandemic sucks and changed everything in a bad way, and it’s all dismal and depressing.
And I think about all the positive interactions, all the positive people, the tensile strength of the fabric holding this community together, about how well everyone is carrying on, carrying strong, about how we’re all being sucked down this whirlpool, but we know we’ll emerge on the other side whole and real and new even if we have to cry a lot along the way, and in that tiny, small pause, in that fraction of a moment, in that momentary quietness, this is how I knew where I was.
I was home.