Something Wonderful…really

Tonight I had one of my students over to help her work on her poetry project.  I call her Princess.  She is the same student I went to watch in a ballroom dancing showcase.  She is quite pretty in a Scarlett Johannsen kind of way:  red hair, full lips, beautiful green eyes, pale skin.  When she is older the boys will absolutely drop at her feet – I am sure of that.  Sadly, she hasn’t a great deal of confidence in herself and suffers from anxiety – particularly social anxiety on a fairly regualar basis. 

Anyway, earlier this year a young man on our team made an inappropriate sexual gesture towards her and no one seemed too inclined to do anything about it. Well, we all know my motto is:  Don’t Fuck With My Kids.  So, I had it out with two Assistant Principals and the Head of Guidance (which didn’t make me very popular for a while), but we got the situation resolved.  The young man was moved to another team so Princess wouldn’t have to be in any classes or lunch with him.  Interestingly enough, within three weeks he had done the same thing to another girl on his new team and was expelled for the rest of the year — well, he was sent to the alternative school we have here.  Good riddance to bad rubbish, I say.

 Sorry, as usual I begin to ramble.  Back to the wonderful thing of tonight…

Princess was here at my house – I brought her home from school with me.  Her dad planned to pick her up around 8:30 p.m.  We got some KFC (her choice) and came home, ate, and got to work.  It was the first time she had been here.  She liked my house and all my “stuff”. 

Somehow, while we were here in the office by the computer, she picked up a piece of paper on which I had printed out one of my posts from here on AN.  Unfortunately it was not a happy piece (are there any?).  She was startled to think that I would be so unhappy as to want to kill myself.  We discussed it a little – not too much detail – and I told her I didn’t want to die, really, I just couldn’t handle the pain.  BUT, I pointed out, here I still am, so don’t worry about it.  Princess seemed relieved.

About half an hour later, as she sat next to me writing the name of the boy she likes over and over and over in gold marker while I was printing her work, she said, without looking at me, “I’m really glad you didn’t kill yourself.”

Startled, I replied, “Me, too, Princess.”  I kept working on the computer but saw, in the corner of my eye, her looking up at me, trying to hide her eyes behind her beautiful red bangs.

“No, I mean it.  Really.”

“I believe you, sweetie.”

“I mean, if you had done it, I wouldn’t be the same person I am today.”  Now she was staring at me.

I stopped typing and looked at her.  “That’s kind of you to say, but I really can’t imagine that I have had that much…to do with…well, I just don’t think that’s really true.  You are a wonderful, beautiful girl and would have been that with or without me.”  I looked away.

“You don’t understand.”  She sighed and returned to scribbling Tyler’s name over and over.  “If you had jumped off that balcony, I wouldn’t be the same.  Mrs. George {my partner} would have been sad.  You wouldn’t be here helping me now.  I’d be sad.  Pinkie would be different.  Nicole would be different.  George would be different.  Alex would be sad.  You just don’t understand what a different world it would be without you.  It would be sad and bleak and empty.”

I just stared at her.  And cried.  Not great sobs or anything, but I cried.  I hugged her and whispered, “Thank you, Princess.  That’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me in my whole life.”

She smiled at me.  “Well, it’s true.”

As we were finishing her poetry project, I saw her dedication:  This book of poems is dedicated to my Aunt Robin who has helped me more than she knows.  Aunt Robin.  That’s what she calls me.

I cried again.

For most of my life, It’s a Wonderful Life has been my favorite movie of all time.  I love it when George realizes how bad, how different Bedford Falls would have been without him.  How important he was, directly or indirectly, to so many people.  Never in my life did I expect to be told that I was anything like George. 

I am so very proud.

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