The sun shines at my back as I greet my students, my lovelies, at the door.
Good morning hi lovely good morning miss hi how are you good morning I like your shirt good morning lovelies hi miss good morning I’m glad you’re here hi I missed you.
Chairs scrape the floor. An errant phone buzzes and scraps of conversation — about Instagram, what happened on the bus, someone’s new shoes — float across the room. A few lovelies unzip their bags; most walk to the bookshelf in the corner. Chairs scrape the floor. Again. Books open. One mind at a time begins to focus on the words on the page, and we shuffle into near silence.
I’m counting the copies I made, writing the objective on the board and taking attendance when he comes to the door. It’s his normal time: not yet late, but almost.
“Ms. Graham,” he says, before we even greet each other, “last night I had a dream that life was easy and sin was hard.”
I should ask him what his life made easy would look like. I should ask who still had the willpower to sin. Why. I want to know who was there, who wasn’t, how he felt. Most importantly, I should tell him: his mind dazzles me.
Instead, without thought, I say, “Wow. I can’t even imagine that.”
As he walks to his desk and puts down his bag, I add, “Please tell me about it later,” doubting that I’ll remember to make this come true.
Kerry Graham teaches high school English for Baltimore City Public Schools and is a creative in residence for The Baltimore Banner.