Friday, March 23, 2007

what to say


landscape (detail)
Originally uploaded by madabandon.

After a rather intense appointment with my shrink I went to school to teach one class. I had been there only a few minutes when I was told by a close colleague that _______________ had died. Suddenly. A former student, one of my favorites, whose vivid flare and wild talent were evident at an early age. I was already in bad shape. My headache, which I was holding at bay thanks to imitrex, was pushing behind my eyes, which suddenly filled with tears. I would not cry in my office. I sat at my desk and just kept saying "oh shit oh shit oh shit." I wish that I could say that this was the first time I had had this experience, but there have been more than few among the kids I've taught. I don't really know what to say. I feel bizarrely empty, now; it is as if sadness and anger are too overwhelming so I won't even let them gain a foothold.

Then I met my brother and my father in Soho for dinner at a restaurant owned by clients of my brother, a very fine restaurant. It was a nice meal, returning headache notwithstanding, during which we discussed my brother's personal life and my sister's personal life. Interestingly, not a word was spoken of mine. No one asked so I didn't tell.

1 comment:

she said...

i'm so sorry to learn about the death of this young person. and imagine your pain, given this person was a student you were very fond of.. and then knowing there are others. very painful.

the cold weather..
the migraine..
the death..
the dinner...

would tax anyone's coping skills.

and,

regarding this family dinner.

i wish sometimes i could pass out a small deck of cards to aid people in caring conversations

top of card reads: TRY SAYING THIS

flip side says, "so, how are YOU?"

or, "what have YOU been up to?"

some of the brightest minds never think to ask these questions.

and then there are those who do, but then interrupt the answer.

so the deck of cards comes in a box labeled: LISTEN.