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Out of Sight, Out of Mind.
It’s funny, the little things you hide away, deep inside your-self. Like if you aren’t thinking about it, it isn’t there, at least not until they force you to face them head on. Just like when you’re a kid playing hide- and – seek. You think that if you cover your eyes nobody can find you out-of-sight-out-of-mind.
Laura quietly mulled these words over and over in her mind as she carefully attempted to take a sip of her coffee, ‘out of sight out of mind. Out of sight out of mind.’ the shaking of her hands mocked her as the hot liquid sloshed over the sides of her mug and onto her fingers.
She put the mug down quickly snatched a napkin to wipe off the scaling drink, Laura attempted to take a deep breath, but her black dress seemed to confine her, it made her feel trapped. Laura bit her lip as she glanced at the clock. 15 minutes until she had to leave had to face the world. Out of sight out of mind.
Laura absentmindedly tossed the napkin on the table. After a brief moment her eyes whirled after the napkin with her head following pursuit. The napkin. The soggy disposable had landed on a sheet of paper that had been decorated with childish scribbles. Quick as lighting Laura snatched the Napkin off the page. Frantically trying to brush off the few lingering drops.
A few minutes later the first initial panic had worn off and Laura was left with only slightly dampened spots from the coffee drops. Tiered green eyes stared sadly at the drawing. It was a crayon rendering of Laura herself. The stick figure was smiling crookedly as the brown lines of hair almost hid a pink heart that had been carefully placed over the characters chest. Holding hands with cartoon Laura was a smiling smaller figure.
The blond curls where over exadurated, showing the child’s clumsy attempts at a self-portrait. Laura shivered and swallowed thickly. The blue dots that stood for eyes in the stick child’s face seemed to stare at her accusingly.
“I'm so, so sorry.” Laura whispered. Unable to take it Laura set the picture down. “Laura it’s almost time to go.” Laura turned to the familiar voice. Her brother Rob stood leaning against the kitchen doorway. “How you doing?” He asked softly. Laura’s eyes betrayed her as they flickered to the drawing resting on the table.
Rob’s eyes followed his sisters and he quietly padded over to the table. Laura pretended to stare at the calendar as Rob studied the drawing. “This from one of you students?” Laura nodded without looking at him. “Did she draw this?” Laura didn’t have to ask about whom he was referring to.
“Yeah, just a few weeks ago.” Laura felt her voice crack as she failed to keep her tone calm. Not for the first time that day, the woman felt tears trace their way down her cheeks. “I-I” Laura trailed off. Rob laid a warm calloused hand on her arm. “You what?” He asked softly. “…I should have done something.” Rob seemed to think about it. “Did you know?” Rob questioned finally.
“Yes-No, I did in some way I guess. The bruises, how quiet she was…it was all right there but…I mean…. she was only 6. It just didn’t seem possible.” Laura felt sadness overwhelm her chest. “She was only 6.”
Rob pulled her into the familiar ‘big brother’ hug. The one he had offered when she had her first break up, or when she lost her first job. Laura buried her face in her big brother chest. “I can’t do this.”
“You have to, you owe her that much.” Rob cautioned. “No, I mean life, any of it. How am I supposed to be a teacher when I couldn’t even save one little girl? Never mind all the other kids out there.” Rob sighed. “What if there are more kids like Anna?” Laura felt her heart freeze. “More like Anna?”
Rob pulled away from Laura and looked at her seriously. “Laura honey, I know it hard but you’ve already lost one, can you really let anymore go?” Laura felt her brain stutter to a stop. Could it happen again? Would Laura let another child pass through her hands without realizing what was happening to them? Like she had with Anna.
Laura had felt like her world was shattered with the principal had told her the news. Laura had barely heard him. “Neighbors heard yelling, called the cops. It was already to late. Doctors said it must have been going on for a long time.” The beatings they had meant. How Anna’s mom had hit that bright-eyed little girl. Until one night, that woman had forgot to stop hitting her.
And Laura hadn’t even thought much about Anna’s bruised arms and legs. Not until it was far, far too late. They injuries where supposed to be other childhood mishaps. Just like all the other absent-minded first-graders.
“Laura its time to go.” Robs voice broke through her train of thought. Laura glanced at the clock. Rob was right. Laura felt the tremors in her hands far more acutely. If Laura closed her eyes she could still picture Anna beaming up at her proudly.
Miss. Johnson. When I grow up I wanna be just like you, cause you can do everything! You can be anything you want to be Anna. Laura took another deep breath. And gave into Robs light pushes as she turned to the coat rack. Everything else could wait till later. She knew she would roll everything over in her mind for many late nights to come. But for now, she owed on little girl the only thing she could give her.
“The funeral’s starts soon”
Laura’s could barely see the words that would forever be engraved in her mind
Anna K. Chansly
Always an angel