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Entry date: 8-28-2023 – Hiya Teach! (and The Bet) – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,


The mornings are always interesting in school. You never know what and who you are going to get each day. Some days the kids come in on this sort of high that makes for a really fun day and others, well, you can probably imagine. I have to remember that a lot of my kids probably don’t have the greatest home life.


This year, for example, I know I have a few that are not getting a lot of attention at home. Because of this, when they get to school, it’s game motherfucking on. Others know they are not doing as well at school as their peers and have decided that if you can’t join them, beat them. Not physically, no, but beat them by being a major distraction.


So, I get out my juggling gloves and see what’s what each day. In a few short hours, I’ll know what kind of Monday today will be. Perhaps I will be doing a little happy dance on this inside and perhaps I will be strapping on some Depends. Either way, it’s bound to be a little messy for someone. Mondays always are their own beast.


Today we get to ease into our day as we visit the library first thing. Hopefully everyone remembers their ID cards. This is how they get to check out books. Being that I’m mean Mr. R who holds people accountable for things, I have adopted the policy that students don’t get to check out their books without an ID. Someone will forget today, so someone will be bummed.


Before you get upset with me, I’ll share that there are about 300 books on the shelves in my classroom for them to read, so nobody is missing out. They can use any of the books on my shelves, so it’s not a big deal, but for those 25 minutes in the library, it’s a bummer for the forgetful ones.


I’ve been setting reading goals for all my students the past week. If they hit their goals on time, they get a book from me. I am happy to do this for them. Over the course of the year, it might cost me a little scratch here and there, but I’m cool with that. I know there are a few that don’t have any books of their own at home. If I can help some of them become lifelong readers this year, I’ve done more than my fair share.


*****


When Marcy got home, Paul and Aidan Mann were standing in the front yard, looking across the way at Jonathan’s house. She couldn’t hear what they were saying, but she could tell they were both pretty upset. Paul had tears in his eyes and Aidan was slowly shaking his head.


Marcy got out of her car and took a few steps over to join them.


“Aidan was filling me in on what happened,” Paul said, choking back fresh tears.


“I’m so sorry, Marcy. I know this had to be a shock,” said Aidan.


In her head, Marcy was screaming, “You don’t know the half of it, buddy boy,” but all she said was, “Thank you, it is.”


The three of them stood there for a few minutes longer before Marcy invited the two of them in to have some breakfast with her.


“I know there are bagels and cream cheese. I’m starved you guys. Wanna join me?” Marcy asked.


Paul and Aidan followed her in. Over breakfast, Aidan shared with them how the night had gone for he and Jonathan after Paul had said goodbye and gone back across the street. Aidan talked about how he and Jonathan had got into some good scotch and Jonathan told him the history of the neighborhood. He also shared that Jonathan had confessed to him how much they had meant to him and said, “They are the best neighbors I’ve ever had.”


This brought on a fresh round of tears from all three of them.


“I mean, I spent about ten hours hanging out with the guy, but I feel like I’ve lost a neighbor, too,” said Aidan.


“He really liked you, man,” offered Paul.


Marcy was still trying to wrap her brain around the fact that Jonathan was dead, and Aidan Mann was in her house. She couldn’t help but feel that it was her fault that they were all sitting there together. What was she involved with, she wondered? What was happening?


“I hate to leave you guys, but I’ve got to get some sleep. I don’t know if I even can, but I’m exhausted,” said Marcy.


“I’m sorry,” said Aidan, before continuing: “I’m keeping you up. I forgot that you worked all night. We were talking about you a lot last night. Jonathan was so proud of you.”


“That’s sweet. Maybe we can have dinner later if you’re not busy,” Marcy asked.


“I’d like that, as long as I’m not overstepping,” said Aidan.


This time it was Paul’s turn.


“No worries. Hon, do you mind if I spend a little time talking with Aidan about all of this? I don’t think I could relax.”


“Sure. You guys talk. Aidan…I’ll see you later. Love you, babe,” said Marcy as she headed out of the kitchen.


“Sleep well,” Aidan said, but to Marcy, for the first time that day, he sounded just like “Jimmy.”


Sleep would not come easily, but it did eventually come. She dreamt of Jonathan. He was walking around the basement of the hospital.


*****


See you tomorrow.



I need to skateboard more.

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