Friday, September 2, 2011

Walls Come Down

This week, with Labor Day and the end of summer rapidly approaching, we asked you to write about a season of change for your character or you.

.He walked through the door, a wrinkled shirt and holey jeans, his hair a little wild. His walk was  hesitant, and his eyes fixed to the floor. She stood near her desk, frazzled with early morning preparation for a busy day ahead. Her eye caught him and she stood. Eager to welcome him she walked in his direction.


A quick glance revealed a face she has seen before and the wall that stood between them both. Invisible, yet solid. She managed a quick and simple smile, gently touching his arm she led him to the desk he would call home.

The others started rolling in.

Full of gossip and idle chatter.

His wall stood firm and might have grown a bit taller as they greeted "the new kid" excitedly. New faces always seemed to raise the electric charge they already had buzzing around them.

The teacher saw Braden as he entered in. The memory of his walls and his eyes that had been cold and missing of life which had now been it was him she chose as Alan's buddy for the day. Hoping to pass that life from one to another.

The day went as she expected. The work revealed his struggle..and his lack of concern or belief it would or could change. He had all the signs showing he had already quit, and was just waiting for the day and age when he could make it official. A look through the records later gave evidence of all she had inferred from the day.

No stability.
Many schools.
Behaviors first of acting out,
moving to shutting down.
Poor grades.
Attendance problems.
Single parent working two jobs to do her best.

These were the blocks that built the world, and colored his eyes to gray. The effects left a lifeless student, too young to quit, but the reality was that he had.

So, she spent weeks, choosing the just-right-books and the moments to make her moves. Her goal, make him safe...and later he could learn. The characters she read of reflected him, the comments from the class showed compassion, concern and care.

He sat still, silent, eyes averted.
But still she believed he heard.

Minutes turned to hours, hours turned to days. Weeks passed by and the weather changed.

And then...he walked to the front at their quiet reading time. He picked up a book from the chalk traythat she had already read. He open and closed it. Brushed the pages with his fingers. With his head a little higher, he walked toward her. He, at first, just stood there.

She waited.

And then his eyes looked into hers. She gave that gentle smile.

"Would you mind reading me? "

And that is what she did. They sat just close enough for him to see the pages. She read in that way that took you there, and took you where you needed to be. The words became real, and you became one.

When she closed the book his eyes met hers, and from where I sat I saw his smile. I saw the first of the wall come down.

Sadly, he left three weeks later. Many blocks of the wall still there. I often wondered what happened to him...

I am hoping another teacher who cared had found him. I am hoping they brought that whole wall down.

Inside of him was a treasure, a hard world had buried it there. He only needed a little extra time and work, and it could be revealed.


  1. Oh my teacher heart gets this to the core. What perfect timing for this kind of post!

    I love lines like that -These were the blocks that built the world, and colored his eyes to gray - poignant poetry!

  2. Oh I love this story. Or is it true? Teachers have such an influence on kids. I still remember a few teachers that gave me hope that I might write one day. I hope Allan made it.


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