Tuesday, March 11, 2008

so there i am talking about trimeter in roethke's 'my papa's waltz' and there is a huge exploding sound. it was so..surreal...as if the feeling preceded the actual sound...there was a rumbly sort of ripple feeling/sound, and then an enormous bang. my class collectively gasped and i could actually feel my face going pale.
'relax, it's probably a transformer' i said and the words and their fake casualness actually did sound what books say hollow. some girls downstairs began to shriek, which only made things worse. i popped out of class to see what the other teachers were doing only to encounter a classful of hysterical/weirdly excited seventh graders whose teacher had gone for a pee. after pouring them back inside- 'the emergency bell hasn't rung! calm down!'- i went back to my yellow girls. 'breathe' i commanded. they made their sarcastic 'tree hugger miss' face but i used me best order-voice and they yoga breathed a few times. they say it didn't work but i think it did. since everyone seemed to be doing the drill anyway, i lined them up, grabbed the register and my bag and quickly counted my little line out of the door, down the stairs and to the ground. for ten minutes i was responsible for these twenty-odd girls and their safety, and if- if- khudanakhwasta something had happened closer to us...i had to be the voice of reason, the voice that said 'you can't do anything about it right now so the best thing is to stay calm and stay sane until its over' while inside hating how cold i sounded, as if i wasn't scared and quickly running my loved ones' day's itinerary through my head hoping they were far away from the bomb sites.

back in class i had everyone write what they were feeling, and when they were done with their private writes there was a palpable relief in the air. seeing a lot of jumbled, scary thoughts on a page make you feel like you have some control over them.

how dare someone wreck my city like this? how dare someone try to cow my city-people?

'we're going to die!' sing-songed someone on the way back to class.
'don't talk rubbish' i snapped. the girl behind me said 'well, we just might you know'
'not today' i said.

Mina at 2:15 PM