I’m Pretty Sure

Sitting in the back,

he’s antsy.

Moving extraneously;

exaggerated arm swings,

rocking his chair,

leaning all the way over his desk,

head hanging off the edge.

I would almost let that go, honestly.

There’s a certain amount of freedom that comes with sitting in the back.

But he’s calling out, too,

inserting his voice into conversations I’m having with his peers,

answering questions not intended for him.

Calling out, talking out, distracting.

For a period, an entire subject, we go back and forth.

I remind, he rights himself.

I nag, he corrects himself.

I repeat, he listens.

For the moment, for a second, and then he’s fallen apart all over again.

We’re transitioning into our next subject

when I find myself walking quietly between desks, towards his seat.

He’s looking down, ashamed, when I’ve finally arrived.

He knows he’s struggling.

I lean down, right there in front of his desk,

hear myself whisper to him.

What do you need?

He looks down, eyelashes on cheeks, but I know he’s listening to me.

Do you need to move?

He remains motionless.

Do you need help?

His hands are crossed, under his chin, where he leans.

Do you need my attention?

He has my attention now, of course.

Do you need me to tell you I love you?

I pause, watch him blink, watch him consider what I know he’s heard.

Because I do, I say, before swiping my hand over his soft hair,

and returning once more to the front of the room.

And something in those words has reassured him,

has helped him,

has put him back on the right track.

And honestly, I can’t say those words came from me;

they certainly weren’t my first response.

But I do love that child- I love all of them-

and I’m pretty sure that right then,

that was the Holy Spirit working

to calm my heart,

to encourage his,

and to set us, together, back on the road

to learning and growing

more like Him,

even over math worksheets

and the conjugation of verbs.

~Natalia

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