Seeing Red

It’s 12:15 on a Tuesday afternoon and I’m at work
I’m sitting outside planning this week’s English lesson
I’ve situated myself perfectly behind the clothes line so that a towel blocks the sun from my eyes
I look up and I see a bright blue sky

It’s 12:20 on a Tuesday afternoon and I’m thinking about lunch
Just 40 more minutes and I can eat a plate full of vegetables and quinoa
I hear my stomach grumble, I feel it move
I can almost taste the cumin already

It’s 12:25 on a Tuesday afternoon and I’m thinking about emotions
We’re planning to teach vocabulary to describe one’s feelings
I already have a list, but I can only think of negative sentiments
Why can’t I think of positive emotions?

It’s 12:27 on a Tuesday afternoon
I’m sitting outside planning this week’s English lesson
I look up and I see a bright blue sky
The sun envelopes me; I am content
Why can’t I think of positive emotions?

It’s 12:30 on a Tuesday afternoon
I’m sitting outside planning this week’s English lesson
I look up and see one of my adolescent students bent over at the waist
His shoulders are hunched; he’s hovering over the stairs

I look up and I see red on his face
Oh, the amount of red!

I look up and see his hands under his chin
Hands and more red

It’s 12:30 on a Tuesday afternoon and my bleeding student yells for me to come
It’s 12:30 on a Tuesday afternoon and Matti’s* nose is deviated to the right
It’s 12:30 on a Tuesday afternoon and Matti’s nose is deviated to the left
It’s 12:30 on a Tuesday afternoon and five minutes after leaving my student returns
Returns with a broken nose

It’s 12:30 on a Tuesday afternoon and my student was punched in the face at the bus stop
And now at 12:30 on a Tuesday afternoon my job is to wash Matti’s blood out of the sink

It’s 12:30 on a Tuesday afternoon and I feel a range of emotions
Fear, anger, confusion, shock
Why can’t I think of a positive emotion?

Why

Why

Why?

*Names are changed but the story’s true

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