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Baking & Stories

A small collection.

Colouring Pencils

He likes colouring. I’ve seen him zone out when he colours. That stern, worried look on his face goes away, and he seems to just enjoy life. I never see that look on his face, that carefree, child-like freedom, except when he is colouring.

I bought him a new set of pencils the other day. The good kind, Faber Castells. The cheap set he’d been using ran out of red; I noticed he was using pink instead. He frowned a lot when he coloured the firetruck pink.

Do I pay too much attention him?

Maybe.

All the other kids seem to be doing fine, making friends and bullying each other and being bullied in return. But this one kid… he’s different. Too adult. It disturbs me. He doesn’t sound like an adult or talk like one even, but there is something about him that strikes me as so adult-like.

He seems so sensible.

He stopped asking for permission to go to the toilet a few weeks ago. Now he goes whenever he likes. Which is not often really, he doesn’t like to stand out – oh he really doesn’t. It usually happens when he is caught up in something really engrossing, and he forgets to do other things. Once I saw him stop breathing as he did a maths problem, and he gasped for air a minute later. Everyone turned around and looked at him. He turned red as a beet! But when nature calls, nature calls, and he slinks out of the room and out the door, and I pretend not to notice.

One of the other kids, a big boy, Khalid, borrowed his blue pencil once and broke it in half. He gave it back to him broken, and laughed when he asked him “Why?” I told Khalid to apologise, but you know with these kids. Morality always takes a while to develop, and empathy sometimes never turns up. I already show the kid too much favouritism, anything more and I risk overstepping my boundaries as a teacher.

Gosh he looked so heartbroken I just wanted to give him a hug and tell him it was just a silly pencil, and that everything is okay and the world is perfect, but I knew it was bullshit. This kid was just too soft for this world.

Another blue pencil incident and he’d be the one that’d break.

I gave him the new pencils after the recess bell went off. I called him to stay behind. Panic flickered across his face for a fraction of a second before the mask slipped back on. He was so young, but his defences were so high, stone and mortar towering around him.

He took them, and mumbled a quiet thanks.

I’m sure he was delighted.

He gave me a drawing a few days later. It was a nice one.

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