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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Dear Lillian

You rarely come to school...
when you do....
well....you can't make it through a full class period.
The hallway table
The girls bathroom
safe spaces
away from all of us...

When you come to class
I am happy..
you have a beautiful smile
and a lovely voice
I don't think you realize this about yourself
your hair often falls into your face
hiding.

I like to talk with you
about what you are reading
or what makes you happy
I wish you would come more often
I wish you would stay longer.

You can't be with them
for some reason
you just can't be around your peers.
I watch them around you
they don't dislike you
I think they are afraid of you.
They don't understand why things are so hard for you...
what do you know about being 13 that they don't?
Why is it just so hard
so painful
are they missing something?

You were reading the book
you sat outside the lunchroom on the floor
I was on my way to a meeting
I was happy to see you...to talk with you..
you seemed happy too.

You told me about the book..
the girl in it...
she wouldn't eat..
no one understood why...
I told you something..."I know her"
you said, "you do?"
I said, "I was her".
You said nothing for a bit
you looked down at your book and then
you looked at me and said,
"Do you want to read it after me?
I nodded yes..

The vice principal saw me and came over to say hello.
You turned away back into your book..
I went to my meeting.

Dear Lillian
I wish I could tell you it will get better..
I wish I could tell you it will get better and that you would believe me..

It is my job to teach you the engineering design process
to help you master criteria and constraints
to use what you have learned in math and science to solve problems
to try to make the world a better place....

no knowledge no skill or tool I have at my disposal can help you..
what I think you need is for the adults around you
to not forget
what it was like
when they were 13...

I promise you Lillian
I will never belittle the things that tear at your 13 year old heart...
I don't know how to help you...
but
I will always ask you
about the book your reading.

Miss Roy