Friday, July 14, 2006

In the Heat of the Moment


The day was thick with heat and late in the afternoon on that summer day at Farewell Elementary School. My classroom sat at the farthest backside of the grounds, isolated and far away from campus security and the regular traffic of students and teachers. The only entrance to our room was opened to a ramp that led out of our door. We were all longing for the movement of air, any breeze that might cool our damp skin and sleepy minds. We had no airconditioning and the temperature registered somewhere in the hundreds, a few degrees up or down didn't matter at this point. We were all miserable with our clothes sticking to our skin and beads of sweat covered our necks and faces. It was unusually quiet that day, the heat draining all regular levels of energy. No one heard the feet that traveled slowy and silently up the ramp, all eyes were averted, including my own as I read aloud from the book of the month. The stranger stopped at the top of the ramp peering into the classroom, with big black eyes as dark as coal. I'll never forget the first piercing scream from the child that sat closest to the door. More screams followed as each child turned their heads to look in the doors direction. The urge to run was halted by the loud drop of my book and shouted command for everyone to stop and remain in their seats. My mind raced into action knowing that it was my responsability for the safety of the class. How could this be happening and why wasn't I given a prior sound of warning coming from the old metal ramp? I took a deep breath and raised my hands to quiet the children's questioning eyes. The phone was nowhere near me, in fact, closer to the stranger than myself. I stared into those fathomless eyes, while slowly putting myself in between my class and the stranger standing in the doorway. The energy rose to a feverish pitch as each child strained to stay seated. "God help me" I thought, knowing each one wanted to run, because I felt the strain of my own feet that had to move slowly. I was completely caught off guard that day...and the heat only seared the memory into my brain. I opened my mouth, again quieting the children, before I could address the stranger, who just stood there dirty, haggard and motionless. By instinct, I slowly raised my hands and got down on my knees as an act of surrender. the stranger took one step forward and I heard the sound of 24 children quickly inhale their breath. Pandamonium broke free as the urge to run overrode my command to stay seated. I quickly stood up and hurled myself onto the stranger hoping to divert the attention away from them and onto myself. Predictability and discipline vanished that day in my classroom and what happened next has changed my life forever.....I scooped the stranger high off the ground just in time, before 48 sweaty hands fought to pet the puppy. She had no collar and belonged to no one near, no one that is, until me. I took her home, gave her a bath and named her Cleopatra, a tribute to our current history lesson. That was 13 years ago, and that stranger is now a well loved friend and family member. ( I hope I had you going :)

13 Comments:

Blogger Amy said...

You totally had me going! Beautiful story, love. May we see that dark eyed beauty?

xoxo

12:42 AM  
Blogger Bek said...

OHG you DID you naughty girl!!
Well written.
LOVE that story....so very good.
Bx

1:51 AM  
Blogger megg said...

WOW - did you ever - ha ha ha ha! I've only just found you for the first time (following your comment from Liz's blog!) and you had me hooked like no one else has! I'm so glad I came. I'm going to look at your other posts now!

3:26 AM  
Blogger Romina Bacci said...

NICE STORY!! you write so WELL...

i've just linked your blog to mine,
oh and bdw, boho is so lucky to have you dear, i wish i had a big/sis like you... i am the big/sis :(

6:50 AM  
Blogger my pink sky said...

now that i am breathing again...great story! and i NEED to see a photo of this lucky k9 :)

7:11 AM  
Anonymous Teresa said...

Okay, you had me wide eyed and wondering what would happen! You should write children's books or adults for that matter. Excellent!

7:29 AM  
Blogger Turquoise CRO said...

Phew! YOU gave me chills you naughty ornery girly YOU! lol Give that Cleopatra a big wet kiss and a soft belly rub for me!! Yes! We must have a picture now!! xo

8:57 AM  
Blogger Colorsonmymind said...

Hey! My heart was pounding, I had this sinister stranger in my mind-then when I read the 48 hands part, I had to go back and reread the sentence over....what amazing talent for creating a scene...
Bravo sweetie

Love to you

9:05 AM  
Blogger bb said...

Aww, you tease. Yes, you had me good and proper. You sure can spin a yarn! And I'm with Amy- may we have at peek at her?

10:18 AM  
Blogger Sarah e.Smith said...

Goodness girl....you scared the crap out of me :)...that was superbly written by the way!

7:50 PM  
Blogger zorana said...

What a grat story! I used to be a teacher and immediately imagined myself in that scenario... how scary! Love the happy end!

9:02 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

What a remarkable story for a captivating dog!

2:03 PM  
Anonymous angela marie said...

I do love your stories!!! You have a way of telling them. muah!love you Dar!

8:22 AM  

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