Monday, March 29, 2010

A Flawless Day

March, 2010

It's one of those tiny moments. As you're about to seal an envelope with a quick lick, the phone rings, you slightly turn your head and, on your lip: PAPER CUT

Wednesday, 3:40 p.m.

"Ms. Ryane, can I go to the bathroom?"

"Um, sure...but do you need to go right this second? We're almost at the end of the scene. One more page...can you hang on?"

"Yeah, I can wait!"

And he did wait, this fourth grader. Through the end of the scene. Through writing in journals. Through a snack with a drink. Through sharing from his journal, to our final circle and good-bye.

When he stood to read aloud I glimpsed a slight twitching in his gangly body.


But I moved on to the next reader and the nagging twinge left my mind.

Thursday, 7:00 a.m.


"Mel Ryane?"


"My son said you refused to let him go to the bathroom during Shakespeare Club and he wet himself!"

"What? Oh dear...I'm sorry to hear that, but that's not exactly what happened."

"Are you saying he's a liar?"

"No, I'm not, but let me tell you how it went." And I did.

"This has never happened in five years of his attending this school!"

This kind of irate call has never happened in my five years of running this program. She continued.

"I do not know you. I'm not saying I'm pulling him out of the play, because he likes it so much, AND I'm not saying I'm going to call the school board or a lawyer, but if this ever happens again, I am saying I will."

"Wait a minute. I understand you're upset — that makes sense — but he had an accident, that's all. He's an enthusiastic member of the club and I suspect he didn't want to miss a moment of our meeting and misjudged. I have never refused a child a bathroom visit and yesterday many other kids went to the bathroom. What I told you is what happened and I don't appreciate threats like school boards and lawyers being tossed at me."

"Are you saying I've raised a liar?"

"No. I'm saying we should move on. It was an accident."

"Oh, we'll move on and you'll move on?"

"What does that mean?"

"It wasn't you that was made fun of by other children."

"I saw him with his dad after we finished, I'm not aware of any other kids—"


I looked closely in the mirror but couldn't see the cut on my lip. Too small to detect but it had a sting, a fierce prickle when I tasted a vinaigrette or bit into an orange. It lasted for a few days longer than such a minor wound should.

Why am I easily distracted? I wanted to run. It scared me to think I failed him.

How do I go back next week? What do I say to him? How do I move on?

Well, here's how: Do it anyway.

The next week, it was gone, vaporized. Dare I say healed?

And we had another flawless day.

I want to be in Shakespeare Club because I love acting. Since it's my last year at ____________, and my 3rd and last in the Shakespeare Club, I want to finish this year with an awesome show.

Three things I learned (or remembered) today

1. William Shakespeare got a work out every time he went to see Anne.

2. The Police would lock up your house if you got the plague.

3. John Shakespeare was in a tragic debt for 1 or 2 years.
Beth, 5th grade

"Anne Hathaway's Cottage" by Joy Gush

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