Did I fall into her heart, or did she fall into mine? I don’t remember that part.
We were introduced and she had barely even said hello, before we were walking hand-in-hand down the school hallway. When we got to the stairwell, I started talking. “We have our very own classroom!” I was trying to sound brave and confident, but my heart was pounding furiously. Was I capable of this?
She didn’t say much and what she did say was said in the whiny whisper of a four-year-old.
And she was nine.
If I would have known how hard the next two years of tutoring would be, I would have never started. Isn’t it curious how I’d also never change those two years, or give up the honor of knowing her?
There were lots of wild moments.
There was the day she let go of my hand in the hallway and made a half-crazed dash into the fifth and sixth grade classroom. After I pulled her out of the classroom, she wrenched away from me again and tore noisily down the hall and hid behind the corner.
I sent her home a couple of times…days where no amount of reasoning accomplished anything and she couldn’t focus and defied cooperation with an unearthly stubborn streak.
Her behavior could be so randomly eccentric. I can’t count the many times I had to physically stop her from hurting herself or someone else with her erratic conduct.
Before her, I didn’t know how you could feel deep compassion and toe-curling anger with the same depth simultaneously.
She made me tired. She energized me. My heart ached at the pain in her history. She charmed me, danced around my heart with fluid grace and wild beauty that slipped out in moments she forgot herself.
I miss her.