In the corridor at school today, a woman waved to me and said hello. She called me by name and, naturally, I had no idea who she was. (The old steel trap memory has begun to rust, I'm afraid.) Turns out she is the mother of a student I took under my wing some years earlier, as he began his no-so-slow descent into mental illness. He left the school abruptly, mid-term, when he was nine years old. He's nearly eighteen now, still institutionalized. He has been in and out of trouble with the law over the years, each incident raising the bar on the likelihood of a life to be lived wholly behind walls and bars. With a fistful of medication to be swallowed each day.
I've thought about this boy often over the years. I remember that his dream was to pilot a starship. I still have a stuffed toy horse he gave to me one Christmas. That's the long and the short of it, I'm afraid.
His mother was surprised to find me still haunting the hallways of her son's old school. I told her that I might be semi-retired, but they'll have to carry me out of here in a box. Someday.
3 months ago