Thursday, 15 March 2012

Slugs and Snails and Puppy Dogs' Tails

The moment the bell sounds the end of class, twenty little girls leap from their seats clutching Jewel Pet note books and bubble-gum scented markers and race to be the first in line for my “sign” (autograph). I do it with swirling flourishes, hearts and smiley faces. Some of my students have more than ten signs, but they always want another. A little boy presses against me from the other side and watches as I write.
“I don’t want a sign” he asserts, fiddling with my sleeve or pocket or hair. “Signs are stupid.”
As two girls compare their signs  ~ one has a heart dotting her “i" and the other has a flower ~ they squeal in unison “Cuuuuuute!”
“I don’t even like you” the boy says, one foot standing on mine, grubby fingers tracing the letters I write. “Shall I give you a sign?” I ask. “I hate you” he yells and runs away. When I leave to go back to the staff room he is hiding at the bottom of the stairs, where no one can see. Wordlessly, looking at the floor, he hands me a Pokemon notebook full of sketches of Kirby and Spiro.
“You’re really good at drawing!” I say, and he smiles shyly. I autograph his notebook on a back page, where it will stay a secret.
“You smell nice” he whispers, and runs back to class as the bell chimes again.
At the end of the day I find a present on my desk:
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