March 27, 2007

Before the Curtain Rises

5:36 a.m.
I wake up. Did the alarm go off? I don't remember. Crap, that was 20 minutes ago, anyway.

5:38 a.m.
I don't want to get up. Do I have to really be there early? Do I need to get anything ready? How long can I stay in bed before it's really crisis time?

5:57 a.m.
I really need to get up. I don't have to be there until the bell rings, but what if there's traffic? Why isn't it Friday yet?

6:00 a.m.
Why do I have a headache already? This is wrong. I should only have a headache in the morning when I'm hung over, and I'm not. Not even close.

6:17 a.m.
Out the door.

6:35 a.m.
Arrive at school. What are we doing today?

6:38 a.m.
The first student arrives. Luckily her entourage hasn't arrived, so we make small talk. She looks at the board and asks, "Are we working on our projects today?" Kid, I just got here. That's yesterday's board. I can't even articulate to her what we will be doing today. She does not seems one bit surprised.

6:45 a.m.
After five minutes of searching the index of the text book, I find the reference pages the students need to review in class. Stupid, lame textbooks. Things shouldn't be hidden. I found the pages right away the other day. Should have written it down.

6:55 a.m.
Boards set. Several pleasantries exchanged with students, which now number in the double digits in my classroom. Shhhhhhhhhh. Keep it down.

6:56 a.m.
Head is killing me. Too early to have a headache. Maybe an energy drink? Caffeine and energy. I could use that. Tastes gross. Worth it? Head is K.I.L.L.I.N.G. me! Do I have time to visit the lounge vending machine? Can I trust the students alone in my room for a few minutes?

6:57 a.m.
Great. I have to navigate through a huge group of students hanging out and playing catch with a football. I smile at them. A few smile back. Mostly we ignore each other because we are all enjoying our own time before the bell.

6:59 a.m.
Vending machine takes my money. Rockstar or Monster? Neither one seems fitting for a teacher who thinks it might make her morning go more smoothly. I choose Rockstar. I wish I were one. I'd be sleeping in right now. My headache would be drug or alcohol induced.

7:01 a.m.
I sneak my way past the throng of students, stepping over a couple looking too cozy for such a time of day.


Holy Mother of God! I've been hit! I pivot around to a sea of frozen faces. No one moves. No one breathes. Someone is going to die. Maybe all of them.


"An apology?" I say, eyebrow raised.

More silence.

"Sorry Ms. HappyChyck."

"It's okay."

I turn around and walk off. Many, many foul thoughts crowding my head as my upper back and neck burn in pain. Surely it was an accident! If it wasn't an accident, that kid is DEAD. Nah. He wouldn't do it on purpose. His mom would kill him after I'm finished. Be brave. Don't cry. Big F word. Man that hurts. Pull. It. To-ge-ther. You're a tough chick. Your day can't get any worse. All those years taking pictures, watching games through the camera lense at the sidelines of sporting events, and you take your worst hit just walking across campus one morning. You will live. It's okay. Holy crap that kid throws hard! Is he going out for football? Don't cry. Don't cry. Don't cry.

7:02 a.m.
I Crack open the drink. Looks like a tall boy. Wish it were a tall boy. I. Am. In. Pain. Yuck. Energy drinks are gross. Why don't I drink coffee in the morning?

7:05 a.m.
Bell rings. I take a deep breath. Man, I want to crawl under my desk.

"Good morning class!"

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