The Boy in 3C

He like to walk across desktops,
bright eyes filled with challenge,
a shock of unkempt blond tuffs
lending a distinctly menacing air.

Had him for three classes a day,
and plentiful as my patience could be,
I must say, I was stretched –
searching for a suitable approach

He was all brawn, you see,
and I, nearing fifty, body frail,
was ill-equipped to deal with blows,
and besides, his ostentatious behaviour

netted me plenty of sympathy,
his classmate no more impressed
than I, my colleagues deeming him
incorrigible – surely, a lost cause.

And yet, I saw in him a wayward self,
glimpses of such anger and pain
as I had known in youth, and I
appealed to my own longing

assigned him helping tasks,
befriended the notorious lad,
inviting another side, appealing
to a scarred vulnerability

Stellar progress we made –
he passing every class, aiming
to remedy his days, and then
we let our guards down

Neither of us prepared for
the downside of success –
he, mired in unworthiness
slipped back into old ways

drank himself into a stupor,
arrived at school wielding
a pellet gun, waving his weapon
at unsuspecting peers, stirring

mass mayhem, and as they
took him away in handcuffs,
he called my name, “I love you”
echoing through the stunned halls.

(Written for Fandango’s Word of the Day: ostentatious, Ragtag Communities: stellar, and Daily Addictions: plentiful.

The boy depicted did manage to complete his school year, with the help of school administration and lessons provided by yours truly.  After high school, he went into social work, a field I think he will thrive in, given his background.  There is always more to the story, and there is always hope.)

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