School is strangely quiet now. We are finishing grades, completing paperwork, cleaning rooms and in some small way, preparing for the fall. I'm essentially done today, except for turning in my keys and attending graduation on Friday. Other years, I would probably still be trying to finish everything, but this year, for some reason, I finished early and fairly painlessly. I'm enjoying the quiet and using it to plan for changes to my senior English class next year. And I'm reading the New York Times. A lot. To find articles to use next year because my students lost all my books when I was out. And drinking lots of coffee. Often.
In the midst of my googling a comparison of Fender and Gibson guitars, I was startled to see a student rush into my room. Rush is not exactly the right word. Surge is probably more like it. I've had him for two years now, and he always enters my room the same way: Right shoulder first, head down a little, surging sideways and surprisingly quickly over the threshold and straight to the bank of windows at the other side of the room. As if forcing himself through invisible combatants. As if the end of the room is the only thing that will slow his momentum.
When he reached the windows, a wave hitting a rocky shoreline and rolling back out to sea, he surged gently back to my place, back toward the door, to finally hover behind me, just out of my peripheral vision.
Douglas: So you're all done!
Me: Yup. I just finished cleaning my desk.
Douglas (pacing behind me over my right shoulder): Looks good!
Douglas: Which head would you like?
Me: Um, excuse me?
Douglas (presenting me with two pretty much life-size photocopied cut-outs of his head, neck and a tiny bit of t-shirt collar): Which one do you like?
Me: Um, I like them both, but may I have this one?
Douglas: Sure! Let me just trim it a little bit.
Me: No, that's okay. It looks fine! Thanks!
Douglas: Now you can hang me on your wall! You'll have to find a place!
Me (as I clip the head to my bulletin to my left and directly behind my left shoulder):How about if I put you here for now? I'll rearrange it in the fall.
Douglas: That looks good. Now I'll always be watching and you'll remember me.
Me (as he surges back out the door, ostensibly to deliver the remaining "head" to a colleague):Of course I'll remember you . . .