So first I was, like, called into a meeting at school concerning my son. I met the principal in his office with my son's teacher, the reading specialist, the language specialist, some other specialist and the school psychologist.
"See" the language specialist explained showing me her charts and graphs, "Figlio scored way above average in every area we test for language development."
I looked. But her assessment tests were meaningless to me. Besides, I already knew the kid was verbal.
"That's good. And how 'bout his speech?" My son has an open "r" and drops some of his blend sounds. "Is that normal for his age or does he need speech therapy?"
"Oh, no. " A woman assured me, "His speech is completely normal for his age. We aren't worried about that at all."
"Great." I said.
But the room felt heavy and glances were exchanged and nobody made a move to dismiss the meeting. My stomach flipped.
"It's just that," his teacher explained, "sometimes Figlio doesn't finish his seat work."
He pushed some worksheets in front of me as evidence. They were barely touched. And where work was completed it looked like a two-year old had scribbled on them.
Sometimes [heart-thump] Figlio [heart-thump] doesn't finish his seat work? [Heart-thump. Thump Thump]
Six professional stared at me with very concerned faces. My blood went cold.
"Well," I told his teacher, "make him finish his seat work. Or, I'll come in and make him."
His teacher squirmed. "It's just that, he's very difficult to keep focused in class."
"Extremely difficult." The language specialist agreed. "In fact, I retook all these tests while he was in his class and the results were way below average."
This sounded very bad to me. I panicked, started babbling. A slew of inane excuses flew off my tongue. "I home schooled him." "He's young for his grade." "My brother's dyslexic."
And then I turned on the water works. Not on purpose, mind you. I don't consider bawling an effective negotiating tactic. It's just that they came, big springs of water that dripped from my eyes, down my cheeks and off my chin. They are like a Roman invasion, my tears; I will be conquered.
Figlio's teacher, a young, single guy, was so embarrassed for me that I thought he was going to die or self-combust or something. At least, that's what he looked like he was trying to do with the way he turned red as a crushed tomato from the neck up and stared at his thumbs in the most desperately, pleading way. And even though he was sitting directly to my right, he could not turn his head to look at me. He couldn't even direct his eyeballs my way without flinching.
I felt so badly for the guy. I really wished I could stop the torrent just to make him more comfortable. But then I thought, "Nah, this will be good training for when he gets married someday."
The other men in the room, married fathers both, were apparently well acquainted with the peculiarities of the weaker sex. They handed me a box of tissues and let me have at my emotional release as we all discussed successful "strategies" for my son.
And then I was, like, in court attempting to reason my way out of a speeding ticket with the most adorably jejune earnestness.
The judge cut me off mid-sentence.
"Look. I have no ability to decide your guilt or innocence. If you want to plead not guilty you'll have to hire a lawyer and go to trial. But, to be honest, right now you're looking at three months suspended license and up to a thousand dollar fine."
I think I must have put a dent in the wood floor my jaw dropped so fast and hard. I'm a mother. I have three children to shuttle around, obligations, a life my husband depends upon me living. I simply could not not drive.
"The officer didn't tell me I was looking at a suspended license." I stammered.
And then came the flood. Huge, splashy teardrops that fell off my chin and watered the judges bench. I did not want to cry, but there I was.
There is a little, rational man who lives in the back of my brain who tried to get me stop.
"Get a hold of yourself, Flicka." He hollered in his sergeant's voice. "This is a racket. Your brother-in law served on the county board. You know how this works. They need revenue to make up for the tax base their missing because of all the businesses that have gone under due to their incompetent, lengthy road construction. Take out your checkbook and suck it up."
But I couldn't listen to reason. I just felt so vulnerable and abused at the moment. A fine, upstanding citizen like me who hasn't so much as had a parking ticket in over sixteen years being treated like a common criminal. Imagine! My feelings were very hurt.
So I flowed with the torrent and dripped tears while negotiating my fine, thanking the judge, standing in line and paying the clerk. No shame in that.
And then I was, like, hungry and nothing, nothing, sounded good. Until, a taste clawed onto the back of my pallet. I couldn't immediately discern its identity but I knew it was there. I stopped, tilted my chin to the the sky, and searched for it.
[Smacking my lips] "I feel like..." [Delicately touching the back of my jaw. More smacking. Trying to articulate.] "Spicy, blackened, grilled shrimp." I announced triumphantly. "With lime."
And then I was taking a shower and sudsing up my long hair when an invisible oppression sought to bring me down. The walls closed in. My hands dropped limp to my side. And I knew I had to vomit, NOW, in order to live. I barely had the strength to rinse my hair. Didn't bother with conditioner or combing out the tangles. I found that just toweling off and getting dressed was enough of a challenge for the day.
Later, I made an appointment to cut my hair -almost nine inches donated to Locks Of Love - into a chin-length bob. Very "au courant" I was told.
"Your head is so hot." the hairdresser repeatedly informed me. "You're like a furnace."
So then I did the perfunctory to confirm what I knew full well. I took a pregnancy test and passed with flying colors.
Baby number four will arrive just in time for the holidays.
by C. C. Kurzeja
2006 All Rights Reserved