Monday, December 22, 2014

Faces

I see faces that don't belong in my day. All the time.

Five months since I stepped back on US soil, took forever to taxi and  unload off the plane, and ate Chik Fil A for dinner with my mom and sister.

I see faces.

My students. Just them. All of them. The most random student who never spoke will suddenly seem to appear on the sidewalk by Starbucks on Garner St trying to jwalk in front of my car. A furred coat hood will be a girl from tenth class with green tipped hair. A tall broad shoulder strutter will by, by turns, several of my eleventh or tenth class boys. Heavy steel toed boots and I suddenly see one boy who sat in the back right corner, his legs suddenly too long to fit under his desk, stuck out in the aisle.

And I don't mean I remember them. I mean I see them. I see their faces for a second before I realize that I can't be seeing their faces. My mind puts their expressions on strangers and for a minute I can't figure out what is happening.

It's unnerving. It happens multiple times a week and it hasn't slowed down in the months after my return.

I'd say it's missing. But it's of faces that I wasn't necessarily close to, though sometimes it is of the students I knew. Ah, but then again, students: I looked at them and studied them in desperation to know what was going on as a teacher. I'm not seeing faces of my friends or colleagues. I think I'd recognize my students even years after not seeing them if they were to show up at my door, even the quiet ones or the trying ones or the ones who just came in and out of my life for one year.

The sitings are a kind of post traumatic love note. I knew you. I didn't know you. I studied you with all I had. It was the love I had to give you.

To all my students at Geo Milev: you are still with me.

весела Коледа!

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