Teacher and Pupil

I told him that we need to move past counting with the fingers.

I then showed him the order of operations.

I went to the restroom to wash my hands and came back and

He was frozen, a mixture of fear and intransigence in his eyes,

of the two panic dominating, and I sat and waited as my reply became unified

with the whooshing of the conditioned air.

He remained silent,

his grandmother spoke to him and went to sit at a distance;

I told him: look at me,

do you know how to do this, yes or no?

He did not look at me.

I said again: look at me:

do you know how to do this, yes or no?

He shook his head.

Yes or no?

No.

We proceeded. He struggled but I kept reassuring him.

At one point he reverted back to silence and I asked him,

Am I speaking to a wall?

No, you are not speaking to a wall.

We proceeded and fear became an afterthought that rearose when

I studied, looking at the unfamiliar patterns of numbers,

the fear rising and falling within me.

 

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