This is my seventh hour in the classroom, and the sun surprises me, clearing up my coffee mug with fresh peppermint tea.
Today even the boys band together. They’re wearing pink t-shirts for a reason. Especially the basketball players. One sits at the back of my room. But he’s not reading, at least not like the others.
He’s catching a floating feather. He drops it over the vent to study its path. The air pushes it up. It falls to his outstretched hand. Every time.
Today we listened to Wilco and a clarinet concerto, but it’s all in the background now as we read our way through these things.
Like how Chandler’s mom has cancer. Again.
Some of this noise has to shut down at 4 p.m. every day. Even a heating unit needs to rest.
But then the drop ceiling makes a crackling noise. Like a glacier. I’m left at my desk, surrounded by four walls, frozen in an empty room with the tension that has me breathing without moving my chest.
This room snapped, broke off like an ice floe at 3:05 p.m., and for 55 minutes now, I’ve been drifting.
Sitting, really. And while the clock on the wall ticks, I listen to the distant doors close, maybe open in the hallway.
There were 132 other voices trapped inside this space today. Those sounds need to escape now, too.
And so this drop ceiling crackles again, over and over, popping like a sheet of ice.
Like my arms, legs. And back.
Finally, I shut off my computer, but even work is energy that can be neither created nor destroyed.
Then, to my left, I see that rubber band at the edge of my desk. Like a promise looped over in overlapping circles.
Relaxed. Ready. Like a promise.
It’s time to pull this prayer back a little farther.
And aim. Because that boy’s feather just won’t do.