Change

I don’t know when,

I don’t know why,

I don’t even know how,

but something has changed.

———

My never ending pile of work has not changed,

My relationships have not evolved,

My family remains the same,

but something has changed.

———

My face has ceased to  burn inside,

Tears aren’t being forced back,

The fears of disappointment have dissipated,

Something has changed.

———

My shoulders are as light as feathers,

My chin is reaching for the sky,

My smile is stretching to my ears

Something has changed.

———

I know who I am.

I know what I can do.

I know what is important to me.

That is what has changed.

Crying Children

 

Crying children

over dirty hands

tears dripping

into the mud puddle.

 

Crying children

over the snack table

saying I am full.

 

Crying children

on my shoulder

not wanting to share.

 

Crying children

in the sand box

running from the bugs.

 

Crying children

in the hallway

struggling with a snap.

 

Crying children

on the trampoline

leaping 30 feet high.

Crying children

looking for help.

 

 

I help them

but not

by cleaning

those muddy hands

not

by forcing

food down their throat.

 

I help them

but not

by taking

that toy away

and never

ever

with a shout.

 

I help them

but not

by moving

that bug

that creature away

and certainly

not ever 

snapping

that snap.

 

I help those

crying children

by helping them

help their little selves.

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Beneath the ripples,

I sail.

Watching closely,

My flippers sway

With the currents of the ocean.

Resting my rough shell,

Cautiously,

Between

The protection of the vibrant coral.

Vigilant.

 On guard.

Alert.

Prepared.

Danger spotted.

An unfamiliar creature

Approaches.

Looming.

Swimming

Unnaturally.

Flippers flailing,

Eyes popping,

A cloud of bubbles

Surrounding.

A shell shining,

Like the silver cans

Dropped from above.

Could it be

A malnourished sea lion,

Or a pasty,

Young shark

With  frog-like legs?

Disconcerted

but curious.

Amused.

It freezes.

Eye to eye

 We stare.

I wonder.

I worry.

I slowly move away,

Two flippers,

Followed by

The others.

Gliding.

Leaving the beast

Far behind.

Peeking back,

Enjoying

The last glance

Of the humorous pale creature.

Distance gaining.

Disappearing.

Beneath the ripples,

I sail.

Watching closely,

My flippers sway

With the currents of the ocean.

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A Public Apology

It may be hard to believe by the end of this post, but I was a really good student. I promise.  I was always kind to my teachers, verging on sucking up. Well, let’s be honest, I was the biggest brown-noser in town.  I did pretty well in class. I worked hard. I cooperated with my peers.  I pretended to be interested in most subjects. I did almost all of my homework. And I never skipped a class. Well, unless you count the last day of high school. I had to break the rules once.  All of my teachers saw me as the “good student.” All but one, Mr. Boland.

I don’t know what it was about Mr. Boland, but he brought out the worst in me. He was lucky enough to have me for two classes in one semester. This meant that I spent almost half my day, every day for about four months with Mr Boland, the teacher with the crooked mustache. The one with the sweaty pits. The teacher that always left his binder on his desk with a year’s worth of tests just calling my name. The binder was dangerously close to my desk and Mr. Boland left the class all too often. What was I to do? Steal them, of course. At first, I just took the first two tests, but from then on, I always made sure that I was one test ahead. He never once suspected sweet and innocent me.

As the year went on, I became good friends with a girl named Monica. Mr. Boland had the joy of having her for both classes too.  Mr. Boland warned me, “Shannon, Monica is a bad influence on you!” He was probably right because after spending time with Monica I started causing trouble, just in his class though. I played tricks on him, whispered while he taught, but mostly I just made him crazy. Strangely enough, he never seemed to get mad at me, and he always had a hard time hiding his smile.

There is one day in particular that I remember vividly. Mr. Boland asked me to get my Law textbook out of my school bag, but I told him that I had left it at home. Which was of course was a lie because it was sitting in my locker on the third floor. He said he didn’t believe me and proceeded to shake out all of the items hiding in my deep dark bag. Horrified, I immediately jumped up, shouted and fell to the floor trying my best to conceal the contents of my bag with my body. He placed his foot (don’t panic, it was really gentle) on my back and stepped over to the other side. Needless to say, the other students in the class were shocked. It looked liked he crushed me and I am sure that my screams probably helped with that illusion. I gathered the spilled contents and threw them rapidly into my school bag. Mr. Boland kicked me out of the classroom. Literally, he pretended to boot me with his shoe.  He moved my desk outside, threw down a text book and told me where to read. I slowly, oh so slowly, dragged a chair outside to join the desk. Of course I didn’t take him seriously. Once outside and Mr. Boland got back to teaching, I lifted the desk and moved it in front of the class window. I proceeded to wave at Mr. Boland and smile! When he came to the door I hurriedly moved the desk back to its original spot and pretended to read. After following this routine a few too many times,  he told me to come back inside and sit at my own seat and behave.

“What was that? You are sending me to the closet? Fine then,” I said.

“Yes! You go to that closet and you aren’t coming out!” he responded.

“If you say so!”  I yelled and off to the closet I went.

On my way in, I noticed that there was a lot of masking tape on the closet door. As he shut the door and locked it with a key, I began to take the masking tape off the door and put a big piece over my mouth and quite a bit around my wrists.

After a few minutes had passed, Mr. Boland opened the closet to find me covered in tape. The astonishment on his face was priceless. The shock grew when I ran out of the classroom shouting a muffled “Mr. Stafford! Mr. Stafford, look what Mr. Boland did to me!” as I proceeded in the direction of the vice principal’s office.  Before I got to the end of the hallway Mr. Boland shouted “Shannon, please!” and I returned to my seat, removed the tape and then the bell rang.

I don’t know what it was about that Mr. Boland, but he just made it so easy and fun to misbehave. It’s worth noting that Mr. Boland retired after his very memorable year with me. I hope that I provided some comic relief to his last year, but I suspect that I brought misery. I wish I could find Mr. Boland to apologize for all trouble I caused him but this public apology will have to suffice. For now.

The Friendship of Sweet and Innocent Little Shannon Taggart & Lisa White (Jones)

 

Birthdays

Moon shoes

Mario Kart races

Growing Older

Syncrho swimming

Board games

Sleep overs

Growing Older

Stolen Hallowe’en candy

School projects

Spice Girl dances

Growing Older

Movie Theatres

Cottage adventures

Secrets Shared

Growing Older

Basement fun

AOL

Gossip

Growing Older

New Friends

Different classes

Friendship changes

Growing Older

* Our lives have drifted apart but the strength of our  friendship  remains unchanged *

Plane Delays

Plane Delays

Moving bags

Humming tunes

Laughing friends

Announcing Problems

Complaining voices

Turning pages

Smacking gum

Apologizing pilot

Fiddling fingers

Rubbing eyes

Aching legs

Hiding flight attendants

Crying baby

Nodding heads

Watching clocks

Moving plane

Watching windows

Chatting passengers

Grinning Teeth