If I had a Mom
If I had a mom waiting for me at home I would want her to ask, “How was school today?” So I could tell her how I walked out on my class to cry in the stairwell; same safe space I would retreat to on those nights she used to kick me out the house. Something about small dark spaces. I guess they’re dark enough to let the voices in my head bicker over one another, while I fall paralyzed by their banter. They snuck up on me this morning and no matter who came to ask me if I was okay, my lips stayed cemented. If my mouth were to open, I don’t know which of them would have spoken. So I couldn’t talk. Still haven’t. Half afraid. Half content like this. Maybe I missed them. Maybe I called them in my sleep that I finally got last night after not sleeping for weeks. If I had a husband at home and he asked me “How was work?” I would tell him, my coping tool of isolating and shutting down to regain control of my emotions is still my asinine go-to because under it all I feel alone and misunderstood and I could hear “sometimessss ahhhh feeeelll like a mothaahhlesss chhhyyy...” on repeat in my head and through the water on top of my eyes I could see my students’ fear. “Ms. Clay, do you need a hug?” To no answer, just a physical smh. They knew I was hurting inside and didn’t know what to do but they were also the problem. And that too, they knew. I would tell him that I thought of quitting, today. Because I felt attacked, today. That if I finished this year I would not return and instead, go backpacking next year to hide from every single brown faced baby who never learned how to think critically as they scroll through social media or how read independently to save their lives. No, I can never leave them for me. I have to help. I have to stay. I have to serve. These walls feel good as they close in on me. That’s the hug I won’t reject.