He throws his head down on the time out table and wails. Absolutely wails. The other children are talking and the acoustics in the art room are horrible. It takes me a few minutes to hear him. I go over and sit down beside him. He puts his head into my shoulder and I put my arm around him and gently pat his back as he sobs onto my arm. I want to go home, I want to go home, I just want to go home. Me too buddy. I do too. I just want to go home and get into my bed and cuddle my puppy. I don’t have any animals he wails against my arm. I bet you have a stuffed animal I say, and I bet it kisses you just like my puppy did last night when I started crying. No it doesn’t he says. Well goodness I say, you should make him kiss you just like this, and I touch is almond cheek with my finger tip and say mwah mwah mwah. He tries so hard to not smile and wins. So why are you crying? My picture is horrible, just horrible. No it isn’t buddy, I really think you did a great drawing. It isn’t as good as mine but I have had lots more practice. Yours is really great. He pulls his head away and with his lip sticking out a million miles he says, but don’t mean that, you are really nice and you are just saying that to make me feel better. Honey I say, I don’t lie to my students. If I didn’t think you were doing a good job I wouldn’t say anything or I would tell you. I promise your picture is really good. He throws his head back down on my shoulder and his sobbing continues. Big brown eyes, curly brown hair, soft teal flannel shirt. And suddenly I start to cry too. I know just how he feels. I feel like everything I do sucks lately. And I know just how he feels about going home, and just how he feels about people saying things just to be nice, but they don’t really feel it. The tears are streaming down my face and I am sobbing softly. He looks at me, and says Ms. Gregory are you crying too? Yes, I say. I am. Why? He asks, incredulous. Because I know just how you feel and it makes me want to cry too, I say. You have to stop he says. I will if you do I say, because it is just breaking my heart to hear you cry. He reaches up and wipes the tears from his eyes. And I do the same. Ready? I ask. Yes. he says. He goes to his seat. I go to get tape to fix the tear in his paper.