See You Later

Front row, far right. She can’t stay in her seat; can’t or won’t. Doesn’t. Elbows on desk, she leans forward, looping her feet over the back of her blue plastic chair. Completing a worksheet, she stands next to her desk, bouncing gently on her toes, swaying back and forth as if a breeze had somehow sprung up right there in the classroom. Her clip- the one with her number on it- is drawn from the bucket. She’s done her homework, she gets the spinning chair for the day.

She spins, spins, spins. It’s distracting, feels chaotic, but it’s her prize and she eared it, so she spins.

Back row, far left. 8am, the classrooms are open, she’s always the second. First him, on the dot, 8am. Then her, a minute, maybe two, later. She stretches growing legs under her desk, crosses her ankles as she practices cursive, solves problems, reads. She wear fake TOMS, cheetah print. Her sock- usually green, always bright- stand in contrast to the gold, brown, black rings of the animal print. Outside, at pick up, she crossed her legs, pulls a bag of Rainbow Loom into her lap, laces her fingers with all those little rubber bands. But under the mound of pink and purple, yellow, green, white, orange bits of rubber, her socks are bright in the afternoon sun, shining over the foothills.

Front row, left side, middle. Her pony tail sprouts from the top of her head, thick, heavy curls that swish on the back of her jacket when she moves her head. And move she does. In the classroom, on the schoolyard, they’re taking turns teaching one another. How To do a backbend. How to draw a muscleman. How to make tea. She teaches how to kick a ball high in the air, and they’re all sitting on the bench that lines the playground, watching, listening, taking turns demonstrating, and she kicks, runs, catches, chases; moves.

Three rows, thirteen desks. Front, middle, back. And tomorrow, I say see you later to all of them.

~Natalia

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