Today I am weepy. I sing along to the River and I start to cry. It sets up my whole day wrong. It was not a hard day, I worked on labeling children’s art for the upcoming holiday show, because the ESL teacher was out this morning. I taught two classes, albeit the 2nd and 3rd hardest classes I have. I taught in the afterschool program too. I stuck my nosy self into children’s lives, finding out whose clothes are too small, and who doesn’t have any warm clothes at all. Last week I came home from my Christmas shopping with a pair of pants, two long sleeved shirts and a heavy girly sweatshirt for the little girl that was always wearing boys clothes too small for her. I bought her hair ties and barrettes. Her sister tells me Lo eh nah, that is beautiful. I tell the little girl, no low eh, you look pretty. She sees me all week and comes tearing up to me throwing her arms around me. I see the tall and very thin girl who is from Nepal, I check the tag at the neck of her poplin short sleeved shirt, do you have long sleeved shirts I ask her, do you have sweaters? She is so tiny she is still wearing little girl sizes. I tell the afterschool coordinator, who comes looking for me, asking about sizes. I stop in to see my friend the ESL teacher, whose husband is a Lost Boy from the Southern Sudan, earlier this week he spoke at our school. He kissed me on my check after his wife reintroduced me, I met him at their wedding this summer, and I told him the first time I ever heard of him is when the X had met him at the local community college. He remembers him, and he asks me where is he now. I do not know I say, he left and never spoke to me again. That is very bad, he says softly, later the ESL teacher stops me and says that her husband told her I am a good woman, and that my X did not appreciate me. I start to cry. I spend my life not feeling appreciated by the men I love. It is a pattern that is vicious. Brutal.
I tell him, and then I tell her, I want to go to the school he built and I want so much to teach there. I tell her before I was pregnant I was very seriously inquiring into joining the Peace Corps. This would be something that would fulfill a life long dream I tell her, I have always wanted to do this.
While my after school kids are making our prints and cleaning up the tremendous mess that goes with printmaking, I overhear one of my students say to another, don’t you like Ms. Gregory. Yeah, the other girl says, I love her. Me too, says the first one, Ms. Gregory you are a great teacher, we really love you! Thank you, I say as I start to weep again.
I stop a little boy when his mom comes to pick him up, I tell him zip up buddy its cold outside. He stops to zip and the mom says thank you, he would have tore out of here without it zipped if you had let him through the doors (to the cafeteria). I tell her no problem, I ask her, is that his only coat, (a heavy sweatshirt jacket)? Oh no, she says. Oh okay, I say, because we try to make sure all of these kids have warm clothes. Thank you for asking, she says. Thank you. I am glad she is not offended, I really do care.
I am so weepy today, as I come in the door from work I burst into tears, I don’t know why. I start to watch Aftershock, the rest of a Chinese movie I started to watch two days ago, before we started to watch Star Trek. My black beans and rice are bubbling away on the stove, and when I eat them they taste so good, spicey. But as I eat them the tears are falling, and the movie which is very touching, makes me cry harder. The dog licks my face and then makes a point to try and steal my food. Bastard I say. Selfish. Selfish. Bastard. Now go away.
I look at my phone a hundred times today, a thousand times this week. I look and look and all I see is a picture of Meg’s Trail and the time. All day. I am not a loner. At times I am a rebel. But I. I. am. not. a. loner. And yet. Here I am. I think tonight, my patience with this is winding down.
My daughter calls me to ask me what I want for Christmas.
A boyfriend, I say, who wants to spend time with me. I start to cry again. I have a boyfriend, he just has every excuse in the book to not. I know what it means and no matter how often I pray for understanding, it comes down to one thing, he doesn’t.
There is really nothing else to say. And here I am thinking the two most significant relationships I have been in in my life come down to betrayal. James betrayed me when I needed him most, and Ata betrayed me after I carried his ass for years.
Sometimes it feels like the person who betrays me the most, is me.
I am so damn weepy today.