Thirty Minutes

“Have you ever gotten so close to something, but then failed even though you tried so hard?”

I blinked. Taken aback, I managed to regain my composure and spit back the mandated response. ”Well, then you have an opportunity to-“

“My sister lost at the last moment in Mario Kart.”

Oh. Puzzled, I looked quizzically at the unassuming face of a child, earnestly posed to add another anecdote about his life. His grainy worksheets and carefully sharpened pencil were forgotten, tossed onto the desk as if they were worthless refuse. Praying that Mrs. Byrne would not notice, I let him continue.

“It was soo bad! She was first place, and then all of the sudden, she was hit with the RED shells, and then the GREEN shells, and even the BLUE SHELLS AND YELLOW STARS!” he exclaimed, enjoying my attention.

“Aww, I’m sorry, I’m sure that - “

“She was SO MAD that she threw the Wii nunchuck at me!”

“Oh no! That’s something NOT to do when you’re angry, okay?”

The child returned to his work, something about noun placement, while I pondered the significance of our exchange. My thoughts were soon interrupted.

“Are you happy?”

This time, it took a little bit longer before I could answer. I wonder how my expression appeared, frozen into shock and self-questioning, filtering my immediate answer. Was I happy?

“I’ll be happy if you finish your work, Evan,” I returned, pleased with my evasive answer. Turning back to my massive pile of Reading worksheets to circle and triangle and dash, I made small progress while answering his pressing questions about why I was working here, why I wasn’t a school teacher, when I get out of school, when I start school…

“Hey, you can actually leave now since your time is up. Don’t forget to sign out.”

“I like you. You’re nice.”

“Oh, why thank you!”

“Yep. You deserve it.”

He smiled, in contrast to my astonished face as a warm glow started to settle in my stomach. This kid, who probably has not graduated elementary school, just gave me what others could not and also brought introspection into my current state of affairs. Of course, the next girl would accuse me of being mean because I wouldn’t give her 5 extra stamps, but alas.

“Do you like me?”

“Of course. You’re a nice kid.”

And before I could let slip another word, he left.





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Sushi3195 said...
Jan. 24, 2010 at 9:08 pm
the first sentence. answer. honors english midterm.
 
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