Middle School Kids: Slice of Life 8/31 #sol16

slice of life

It’s the end of the school day, and I’m sitting at the table watching the middle school kids walk by on their way home. They’re so loud, all the sound they’ve had to keep tight inside all day let loose. They walk by, texting and talking, never missing a step, never stumbling. I see S in the alley, picking her way slowly home. I’ve heard from several kids that S gets beaten at home. She cuts now, J tells me. So does L, my son says, even though she has, like, the most perfect family ever. We don’t know what happens in other people’s homes, I remind him. Oh yes we do, he says. I’ve met her parents and they’re awesome. Plus they’re rich. I am silent in the face of all the things he doesn’t know. R and C hang out in front of the gas station, sucking down energy drinks and popping Skittles. Their parents don’t care when they come home, my son says. R has in-school suspension every other week, and he’s failing half his classes. Every time I see him, he asks, “And how are you today, Elisabeth? I hope you’re well.” One of the teachers tells me she hates to see my son hanging out with R, he’s such a trouble-maker, he’ll lead my son down the wrong path. And I think about that “And how are you today, Elisabeth? I hope you’re well.” He always waits to hear my answer.





10 responses to “Middle School Kids: Slice of Life 8/31 #sol16”

  1. Deb Day Avatar

    These seem like MY kids you are talking about. I know it must be hard to let your son hang with someone who has a bad reputation. It’s scary. But maybe, just maybe, R is hanging with your son to get a good reputation. Middle school is so hard….

  2. franmcveigh Avatar

    So many thoughts as I read this. Every student is worth saving but it will require both trust and faith in your son! There are no “throwaway kids”!

  3. margaretsmn Avatar

    What is happening in our world today? It seems so fragile and dangerous. Your worry comes through. But somehow we have to trust that things will get better.

  4. Tara Smith Avatar

    So many kids…each with their own story. I love the way you focused on R – what he says, and what he wants to hear. That’s important.

  5. aileenhower Avatar

    I just love your diction and syntax: “picking her way slowly home.” Everyone has a story about what goes on behind closed doors. My heart breaks for so many kids.

  6. Mindi Rench Avatar

    I’m finding I look forward to reading your posts every day. Your writing speaks to me.

  7. carriegelson Avatar

    Hmm. There is so much unsaid here and I love all of the space you let us wander around in.

  8. Michelle Nero Avatar
    Michelle Nero

    I agree with Carrie. There is so much said in your carefully selected words, but so much unsaid … and I’m curious to learn more. I wonder about each child you mentioned. I wonder about your son’s view about everyone too. Middle school years are some of the hardest.

  9. Carol Avatar

    That sweetness, “And how are you today…” I am glad there are people like you who respond with kindness and caring.

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