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What's In The Air This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Blessedbe the silent chalkboard that lets itself be used and the chalk that gives theteacher asthma and the eraser that's so dirty it brought a lawsuit against thecustodians and the pencils consistently breaking. Blessed be the jokes that gushfrom these young boys' mouths, screaming hysterically standing on the podiumcarried by their friends, hooligans and all. And this class - the largest Frenchclass ever. And all the girlish intoxications - the boys, the relationships, the"buts, ands, and ors and the I-don't-want-that-anymores." And so we sitand sit and sit for a while longer while we think nothing and do nothing andsometimes do everything and think about everything where we think nothing but doeverything, as the teacher rummages through the desks saying "Oh, I'mlistening, sweetheart ... Oh, Jack, honey that's horrible ... And Dan, you shoulddo something about that ... What are you gonna do now, Joe ... Is there anythingI can do to help?"

Teachers shouldn't be like that. You should talkto your parents. You should scream at them. But oh, your life should be somethingmore. They should have more compassion ... Well, they don't care even if you askthem to. But don't worry, I'll help you.

And so the conversations andtoe-tapping pass on and on moment by moment as the pushing and pulling of the aircarried cartoon voices coughing the loud sounds of piercing boredom. Theyearnings and the sentimental high-school poetry, the freedom to just ride thecircus the 45 minutes every day. The knowing and the not knowing but somehowknowing and the friendships, the long jokes, the engaging stories that lead to noconclusion -

I hear the stillness of the room so sullen so deep soquiet. Bla bla bla, what are you doing today? How you doing, girl? What have youbeen up to, boy? Did you see Russell Crowe and bla bla ... I'm so bored.

All the kids were talking and laughing so loud that the teachers in the otherrooms were screaming like four-eyed idiots at her. "Can you lower that,PLEASE," in such a phony manner. What a bunch of phonies, I swear -

Listen, look, listen to the music, she says in her dirty jeans we sawyesterday, the plain t-shirt that protruded out of her flesh and the air thatflows through her boyish hairstyle and complements her beautiful smile. So listento the music, darlings, just enjoy. And she let us listen to French music, theRomantics, the poetry of Jean-Paul Sartre, the forbidden poetry of Rimbaud, themovie "Eclipse of the Sun" or something like that. Maybe there's alittle French you could pick up there. Yeah, lots of Frenchness. Learning onlytwo words in French, Carpe Diem. Oh no, that's Latin -

And she listenedand set us a prisoner in her own summer-sunshine. Which was the education shegave to us? Releasing us for 45 minutes against the teachers who bound us, theteachers who were always right. Phony, phony, phony, the teachers who always getthe awards. The ones who insult all the lousy kids, but make the crowdlaugh

And she said, Lalalalala de da de da. Oh, isn't this musicbeautiful? Just listen, he's mumbling his French but don't you just feel theemotions of regret and loss and love flow through? Don't you, la dala, she said,Lada da take it easy, take it easy. Life is tough enough, so just take it easy... Yes, yes, she says. I guess so the whole rest of the world is just like highschool.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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