I looked down at Javier’s pink Addidas socks and black shoes. His legs were crossed, his head was resting on folded arms, and his eyes were closed.
“How’d your first day of school go guys?” Three boys waited for the final bell in the eighth grade Learning Center.
“All anyone talked about was rules and rules and rules,” David crecendoed.
I smiled sympathetically, but kept my eye on Javier wondering what it would take to get his head up.
Did his ADHD meds ever kick in? He’s a lot bigger this year. Is this a crash? Is he taking anything this year?
“Guys, I told you first hour that today is all about classroom procedures and making sure you have your supplies. The hard stuff starts soon enough and you’ll wish for a day like today.”
David unzipped his large three-ring binder and put his pencil into the small zippered pouch inside. The pouch already bulged with a dozen pencils.
They’ll be gone by Labor Day. Where do they all go?
“Kevin,” I turned to the third boy, “You haven’t said anything. How’d your day go?”
Kevin’s eyes widened and a flush began creeping up his neck. David twisted around in his seat to stare at Kevin. Javier continued to sleep.
“Uhhhhh,” Kevin’s eyes darted. “Fine.”
“Any problems or questions?”
The blush continued creeping up and darkened. Kevin’s eyes flicked from me to David and back to me. His mouth pulled into a tiny, timid grin.
“No,” he whispered breathlessly.
I studied Kevin wondering how long it would take to peel back some of his shyness.
“OK.” Pause. “Good.”
I waited a minute then turned back to sleeping pink socks.
“Javier. Tell me about your day.”
I watched his back and shoulders slowly rise as he pulled in a deep breath then heaved it out in a laborious sigh. He raised his head and stared at me languidly through hooded eyes. He finished a second grand sigh, then tilted his head and studied me.
“Mrs. Jones. You know how in this school there are some really boring teachers?”
“Yeeeaaah,” I said. “I know.”
A grin tugged on the corners of his mouth. He raised his eyebrows and tilted his head toward me.
I dropped my mouth open and sputtered, “Are you saying I’m boring?”
Javier’s eyes sparkled as he raised his eyebrows higher and tilted his head a second time towards me.