Thursday, February 12, 2009

Prophetic signs

It's own little microcosmo, my class buzzes with the random ("Ms. King, I had MARMITE yesterday") energy of 13 kids preparing for the production of the year. I've asked them a completely self-defeating-and-I-know-it request, to sit down with a book while I help individuals get ready. Their bodies respond accordingly (like popcorn) and no known technique could will them into a state of calm. Parents are already on benches outside as I discover the cheap Chinese face paint doesn't work and bees, snakes, mice will need to retain their people features and maybe Ms. King loses a couple of points this time. Sometimes children are like this: heartaches with feet. Somebody's lip got split at recess time, another one needs to vomit. But they march on anyway. I sometimes talk about this sense I think I have, that I can see your inner child tour-guiding you around, waving at me while you fancy yourself some kind of adult. This works in reverse today as little faces show purpose, fear, anxiety, pride. The face of one of my second grade boys looks up from the row of parents, hosted by a bigger body and set about with stubble. It's disconcerting how easy it would be to pat this grown man on the head, how easily my confusion could set in at such a moment. The same dimples even. Do they all think I'm nuts? A fraud? Is something going to get knocked over? Will there be tears or fighting? Will it matter? It happens in a blur, me in the background conducting and prompting, hoping for the allignment of all possible fortunes that this becomes a source of pride for them, that they feel they've made the sun rise. The resolution lingers, we've written more, and my 3 foot tall narrator triumphantly shushes the premature applause and, like the rightly misprinted sign at the Standard Chartered bank, in a flash "we close," and everything is fine.