Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Private

June 24, 1999
Westbury, England

Dear Diary,

Just another day. I think I'm finally settling in to this idea of a country boarding school, I didn't realise how much I actually needed to get away from things. Six hours away from the starkness of London, you feel like you've escaped to someplace innocent, forgiving. I swear, somedays the endless meadows surrounding this campus make me feel like I'll run into Julie Andrews twirling about the place, trilling away with the wind and the dancing grass, throwing whirling dervishes out of whirl.

The students are getting used to me, and I to them. It's actually a whole lot of fun running into them here and there outside of the school hours. I feel the students really get to see you as a real person and not as an official schoolmarm. Each time a bunch of students walk by and greet you with a sincere hi (or 'Ola', 'Bonjour' or whatever else because we really only have foreign students over for the summer), you realise that they actually see you as an older friend that can help them sort through their problems, the bigger ones that plague them outside of the classroom. It's like I'm suddenly their elder sister, and all these younger people are my little cousins. It's startling at first, and I have to confess that it suddenly makes you feel like you're worth something, like despite whatever mistakes you have made in your life, you have the answers that they will come to you for someday. It's a very maternal feeling. Imagine that, me, maternal - does that surprise you? Ha, ha!

Like for instance, they had the dance at the hall tonight, the way they do every weekend. All the kids were having a ball but I had to leave early, so I left around 9pm. I was walking across the campus. The sky was really clear, and I was enjoying the beautiful stars on my way back to my dorm. You know, the sky is so much clearer in the country. When it's nighttime and the moon is out, all you can see are the stars and the moonlight bouncing off of the distant cottages in the quiet countryside. Anyway, the campus was deserted; most of the kids were at the dance as were the teachers. As I crossed the fountain, I saw someone sitting on one of the benches outside the gym. I thought I'd keep on walking but the person sitting there - it looked like a student - was looking kind of melancholy out there alone, so I changed my mind and gently walked up to the bench. It was one of the students that visits the studio often; you'll see her hunched over in the corner, diligently working on a tie-die shirt or a ceramic tile. She especially loves working with pastels. She didn't notice my presence until I said hi and asked her if I could sit with her; she was simply sitting on the bench by herself, looking out at nothing but the shadowy meadows beyond the low campus walls. She looked so vulnerable. I started off by making smalltalk. I asked her why she wasn't at the dance, and she said, with a quivering little chin, that the slowdances made her miss a guy she liked back in her country. I felt so awful for her, this little child all by herself. I patted her head and told her to tell me more about this fellow, and she did. I inched up a little closer to her and put my arms around her when, in the middle of a narrative on how cute he was, she started crying like something much younger than the 17-year-old she was. I listened to everything she had to say. We must've made a funny sight, a tiny weepy teenager and...me. But she felt better after a while, and I walked her back to her room. She reminded me a lot of Lizzie.

I don't think I really said much to this little girl, but I sat there listening to everything that was in her little heart. I think that's what she wanted.

1 comment:

Maulishri said...

SO IM THE FIRST ONE TO COMMENT!! :)
Hmmm...sumtimes dats what u need!! Sum1 2LISTEN 2u...nice stuff! :)

cheers!

Mauli :)