4.2 Fall 2022

September 21, Skidaddle

I finally tracked down Anthony after two weeks of attempts to give him his US gift.

“Did you give this to everyone in the school?” He asked.

“No, just a few,” I said, to his pleasure.

We took a walk and were intercepted by teacher Kim who made a joke to Anthony about us walking together, after goofily sliding around the corner as if we couldn’t see him. We then went to look at the volleyball court to kill time and intercepted more teachers.

I stood to the side pretending to be very interested in the lighting while the rest chatted at length in the hallway. After the other teachers had left and we had gone back inside, Anthony asked me if I had understood their conversation.

I told him I hadn’t listened.

That’s a lie, of course.

It’s easier to say than, “I attempted to listen but I can’t understand everything which makes the gap between me and everyone else feel even wider.” I’m better about not taking these instances personally, but I’m only human, and my need to feel included is only biological.

We wound our way back to the teacher’s lounge where we sat and he divulged more intimate knowledge about his family and future.

“I don’t want to get stuck, so I’m planning on changing schools next year.” He said.

I thought to myself, the signs for leaving just keep coming.

I told Anthony how grateful I was that he always talked to me, despite others making it weird. “Honestly, I get a little lonely. Especially at my main school. People see me and tend to run away.”

It was at this fortuitous moment that Teacher Kim came into the teacher’s lounge and Anthony, wanting to start something, asked me loudly, “What do you think of Mr. Kim?”, probably in reference to the silly little hiding routine he had done earlier.

I turned to Mr. Kim and complimented his training set; I have one just like it waiting for purchase in my Coupang cart.

Mr. Kim mumbled something to Anthony, turned on his heel, and quite literally fled the lounge.

I stared after his smoke trail in disbelief.

“See?” I said.

“I guess when you compliment people they run away. Oh! Maybe you should try that with weirdos,” Anthony added, aware of the freak magnet that I am.

“Knowing me, that would only backfire.”

And I know it’s far too late to be cementing this now, but if I want to make friends, it’s simply not possible at these schools. Especially not when people actively run away.

During moments like these, I miss my tea time back with S and H and G and, dare I say it, even the grating music teacher.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: