the dance of the ink riddled fingers

Indianna and David

Posted in heroes of mine, how was your day? by enisea on 22/04/2010

I heard her before I saw her, the sobbing distress of a hysterical prep with matching silhouette and third grade accompaniment.  She’d filled the corridor with her very loud tears as soon as the bell rang, before the middle school kids were given admission to flood the hallway.  I was the first to meet her from the staff room, managing to stop her in her tracks but failing to understand her heartbreak.

“I (sob) ran into (sob) Megan (sob) and knocked her over (sob) and she over (sob) fell over (sob)”
“Are you hurt? Are you OK?”

A teary shaking of head ensured my understanding remained empty. Which question was she answering? I assumed she wasn’t OK and repeated the first, “Are you hurt?”. She nodded and drew attention to her left elbow and knee, I inspected invisible abrasions, contorted my face to resemble confusion and she resumed blubbering.  I don’t know how many times I asked if she was hurt or if Megan was hurt. It didn’t make sense.  I decided then that I didn’t know how to deal with drama queens.

Enters David.
Lowering himself to match her height, he gently takes her hand and interrupts her blubbering.

“Are you going to take three big breaths with me?” She complies immediately and together they heave in exaggerated breaths. “One,” he narrates, “two…and what’s next?” she pauses to board his train of thought and with the comfort of a correct answer confidently replies “Three!”.  Her pulsating sobs, almost completely stilled by this point.

“Are you hurt?” he inquires and history repeats itself, she retells the story and holds out her unbroken and unbruised skin.  Her second opinion of the invisible injuries was scoffed at by a clown doctor. 

“Is Megan hurt?”
“No…”
“Is she ok?”
“Yeah…”
“Are you OK?..or more importantly, is the concrete ok?”
Here the most miraculous of healings transacted before me: a very upset prep was transformed into a laughing stock.  With the focus on an emotive inanimate object, the ridicule was too much for her to bear.
“The concrete’s not OK is it? You really hurt the concrete didn’t you?”

And I walked the length of the corridor and into our classroom with a recently composed bag of glee, with the rest of the class not having noticed the vigorous mood swing of a both extremes delirium.

The absolute care that David dealt to her without babying or spoiling her was incredibly inspiring. I took mental notes immediately and I felt benevolent enough to share my noticeable learning curve with you.  This is why we need more men in primary schools. There’s a particular sensitivity and resilience about them that they deal very uniquely.

Ps: David is not the primary school crush I spoke of previously. He’s one of two male teachers at the school.  The principle, one cleaner and one aid make up the adult male presence in the school.  Demand is high.

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