Confrontation

It was an ordinary music class

Boys and girls together,

Thirty teenagers thirteen to fifteen.

I was strolling down the centre aisle

Addressing the day's study

When something happened, trivial but disruptive.

I made a comment, pointed but not mean,

And not personally directed.

But you never know what somebody else hears.

What nerve has been struck.

 

Suddenly a lad leapt out of his desk,

His body towering over me,

A fist clenched, raised to punch me

Right in the face.

The students surged out of their seats

Like a parting of the Red Sea,

Totally shocked.

It all happened so fast, so unexpectedly.

Yet time slowed into clear frames:

I could see his eyes gone utterly blank,

The latent power of his body,

The lethal fist inches from my eyes.

I was afraid, but I did not flinch.

Some instinct ordered my reaction

And I said calmly, 'Think, Lad, THINK.'

 

He heard me.

Somehow, he heard me.

His fist hung back, arrested.

His eyes flashed, cleared and he 'knew' me.

Shocked - aghast –just a scared boy,

He slumped back into his seat like a rag doll

And buried his head in his arms.

 

The other children swarmed around us

Shrill and accusatory,

Everybody talking at once.

'You have to report him!'

'You have to report him!'

But a girl at my side asked softly,

'Are you going to report him?'

Her dark eyes pierced my heart.

What did she see that the others didn't!

 

'No,' I said clearly. 'I will not report him.

He used his head to stop his hand.

I am proud of him.'

They all just stared in silence.

There would be no 'record of violence'

Following him into high school or a future job.

'He chose to control his anger,

The future strength of a fine man.'

I smiled, almost tearfully,

At the young, keen faces around me,

And spoke briskly, 'OK, chicks, back to business.'

And we continued our lesson.

 

No reference to the 'episode'

Was ever made again by anybody.

But I found it hard to forget.

I thought this experience might relate

To somebody else.

It's such a small, small world.

 

 

Cynthia Buell Thomas, April, 2020

 

◄ The Drive To Write

Jack Knives! ►

Comments

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Abdul Ahmad

Sat 4th Apr 2020 17:32

Comfrontation _ a too familiar a tale. Well told. Situation sensitively handled.

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poemagraphic

Sat 4th Apr 2020 16:10

Reading through tear filled filled eyes Cynt

The line "He used his head to stop his hand..."

One of life's precious moments.

Thank you
Po

Moon.girl

Sat 4th Apr 2020 13:25

Down the memory lane...😃

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Don Matthews

Sat 4th Apr 2020 12:51

Very good Cynthia.....

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M.C. Newberry

Sat 4th Apr 2020 12:14

Interesting indeed - begging the question "What was said?" that
sparked such a reaction and which leaves us to ponder "action
and reaction" in this stimulating classroom vignette.

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Greg Freeman

Sat 4th Apr 2020 12:11

This is a powerful and moving story, Cynthia.

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