she is gone.

23 Oct

i knew it was coming, and yet it was sudden. it has been a while, but i haven’t been able to bring myself to write about it. When it happened, i felt a certain relief – how selfish of me. i could say that “relief” was for her, for her pain to be over, but it wasn’t. it was for me. her gone means i don’t have to hold my breath anymore.

i didn’t know how to mourn. i still don’t. i didn’t cry when i found out, although my mother wailed. she came to me for warmth, but i was as cold as a skeleton, standing rigid in the kitchen. since then, i’ve had sudden outbursts of intense sorrow, sometimes at the most inopportune moments, like while i’m teaching. i put a picture of her on my desk. a beautiful picture. i don’t feel much when i look at it, but if anyone touches the frame, or asks about her, or even looks at it, i feel like i have to hold on to my rolly chair for dear life. i feel like i might fall through the floor. and then i have to breathe deeply inside my head because i feel the dark darkest clouds moving into my mind. sometimes i can’t stop them – and then my eyes fill with tears, and i tilt my head up so that they don’t roll down. sometimes my students notice, and they withdraw – they know me so well, my little babies. they put the picture frame back where it was – in the exact spot – and they go back to their desks, hoping that if they don’t look at me, i won’t cry.
and then sometimes, they just don’t get it. and i don’t expect them to. my spoiled, poorly raised kids – it’s not their fault. it’s not their fault that consuela or luisa picks up after them at home. it’s not their fault that their parents are busy with their own social lives of cocaine and glitz, too busy to notice their beautiful children that i have the honor of spending five days out of the week with. so i don’t blame them for not getting it. what have they ever had to mourn? nothing. nothing.
so sometimes the tears spill out, and then i excuse myself in the middle of class. and they all get very quiet. and when i come back into my classroom, they look at me expectantly, with sadness in their eyes, because they didn’t want to make me cry. and then, for them, even though i’m not done crying or thinking of my dear friend who is long gone, i crack a joke, so they can feel better. so that they see that there was no harm done.

i know one thing: i know that i wouldn’t be able to move past this without my babies. all 300+. the ones i teach now, the ones i taught then. to be loved by so many beautiful little individuals astounds me. it fills my insides with little pink and purple bubbly hearts that pop when they hit the surface. and that popping translates to the love i give to them.
who can imagine that someone would take that away from me. practically the only thing i have left.
but i’ll write about that later. one thing at a time.


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