Day 3! It’s day 3!
How’s the week going so far? I’ve enjoyed sharing what I have made of just five words!
Today’s words are a little different tyo the other sets – not purely nouns. They are: Cat, Word, Sandwich, Yes, and Because.
How would you link those together?
This is how I did:
Every day is the same, here, at St. Joseph’s high school. Every day there are classes full of children that range from semi-wanting to learn, to flat out could not be bothered to listen to a word the teacher says.
It’s difficult standing up in front of twenty people who look at you like you have leprosy; it’s even worse trying to get those twenty people to learn something when they are looking at you like that.
‘Miss Neville?’ one of the boys, typically, half raises his hand.
‘What does this matter? When are we going to use the symbolism in David Copperfield in real life?’
If I had a dollar …
If I had an answer …
How do you explain to a fifteen-year-old that recognising symbolism in all form of art is a good skill to have? That it rounds your understanding of the world; that it fills in all the little holes? How do I explain that a person’s understanding of symbolism affects the way they view films and read books without that fifteen-year-old scoffing at me and screwing up their nose?
‘Well, Miles … because …’
Sam would laugh at this dilemma. He believes that the teenage brain is like rubber—every ounce of knowledge bounces off it.
‘Why do even try, babe?’ he would say with a smile taunting me from the corners of his mouth.
‘How can you say that?’ I would reply, annoyance diffusing through my voice, ‘I have to try. I’m a teacher!’
I miss those conversations with Sam …
He is staying with his best mate, Joe, for a few days. I just want him back home. Am I ready, though?
I have set the class an independent task of symbol identification and explanation in the text. I can see they are bored with it, and many of them are struggling.
‘Okay, class. Let’s write down some words we can define for the glossary term section of our books …’ a sigh of relief echoes around the room—copying down off the board, half the work is done for you.
I try not to think about Sam and his big, thick, foggy cloud of question. They plague my mind as I let my whiteboard marker glide across the board.
Ten minutes before the lunch bell, and I am dreading solitude and being stationary. I would prefer not to tackle this issue. It’s too difficult. If I ignore it for long enough will Sam just miraculously forget that he asked me the question at all?
It’s not a question that is on par with any other. It’s not as menial as “could you put a load of washing on for me?” But it’s not as debilitating as “Will you agree to a suicide pact with me?” It’s right in the middle, very serious, but not so serious that lives are at stake.
This, too, is about symbolism—two people laying claim to one another. I’m just not sure I am ready to stake my claim.
‘Miss! Can we go to lunch early? There’s only, like, five minutes to go before the bell.’
‘Oh, why not? Yes, alright then. You have worked well today. Go and enjoy your lunch.’
See, that wasn’t so hard, her brain seems to murmur, yes—one teeny little word!
The day outside is glorious. The sky is the type of blue that makes you want to paint landscapes. The sun graces and enhances everything it shines upon; it warms the souls of the most cold-blooded creatures.
I decide to sit out at one of the park benches in the school grounds rather than hide in the staff room and make small talk with my colleagues.
Mabel, I love you so much …
I cut off the memory there, shaking my head in an attempt to dislodge it from the forefront of my mind. My ham and cheese sandwich is hanging from my fingers halfway to my lips.
What do you mean you “have to think about it”? It’s either yes or no! No, Mabel, no! Look, yes or no! Fine! While you “think about it”, I’m going to Joe’s. Call me when you’ve made a decision … Maybe I’ll decide to answer the phone.
I clamp my eyes shut. My breaths are quick and very shallow. I’ve completely botched this. He won’t take me back. What have I done?
A quiet meow comes from behind me, interrupting my panic attack and instantly calming me. He’s a small tortoise shell and had a collar tag that reads “Sam”.
My breath quickens again as I mindlessly pat the cat. I should have said yes when he asked me. Idiot. I’m such a …
My phone begins to chime in my jacket pocket. Before I realise what I am doing, I have pulled it out and have opened the message.
“I miss you …”
Alongside the text, is a ring emoji. It taunts me. Within a second, I have pressed the call button and have the phone up to my ear.
‘Mabel?’ he sounds like he hasn’t slept.
‘Sam,’ I blurt, ‘will you marry me?’