Bad Irony: Slice of Life

Bad Irony: Slice of Life

3:30 p.m. Monday. The office is empty. But for one girl. Two teachers. Multiple phone numbers where no one is answering.

The walking-her-towards-home-conversation-sound-bytes:

One of us: “We’ll check the program then if that’s where you think you are supposed to be.”

Her: “Yeah. I think I just forgot.”

One of us: “You walk this way every day?”

Her: “Yeah. But not by myself  . . . not mostly.”

One of us: Noticing. “Wow. That’s a lot of garbage down there.”

Her: “Yeah. The bad people leave it there.”

Her: “Hey! Are those cameras?”

One of us: “Yes. Looks like they are shooting a movie.”

Her: “My building will be famous! I’m so lucky!”

Both of us: (Deep Breath)

One of us: “So the people at your program are expecting you? We should try there first?”

Her: “Yeah I think. You can’t go up in my elevator. Not without a key. Oh! Oh no.”

One of us: “What is it?”

Her: “I was just thinking about when I walked here Friday.”

One of us: “Oh?”

Her: “There was a bad guy. He followed me and (insert name here).”

One of us: (Breathe) “Really?”

Her: “Yeah. So they had to call the police.”

One of us: (Breathe deeper) “Really??”

Her: “Yeah.”

One of us: “And?”

Her: “I think they came. There’s lots of bad guys.”

One of us: “Oh.” Because, yes, there are.

Her: “That’s the door. I can go alone now.”

One of us: “No, we’ll walk you in. We need to check.”

Her: “And because of the bad guys.”

One of us: “And because of the bad guys.”

The walk back.

Both of us shake heads. Bemoan the world. Share various expletives. Quick and sharp. Walking back to our safe, not back there, adult world and as we shake off her back there, not safe, childhood home.

Really? Really! Really. 8 years old. Her all but 6 hours life. The not at school life. The can’t make it up life. The where are the eyes and the outcry and the why life?

At the base of the bridge, we are asked to wait. A scene is in progress. Dark clothes. Shady characters. Filming “bad guys” it looks like.

When we walk by, the actors smile.

And we smile back. Both of us, as we shrug off the guilt, the outrage and the sorrow.

Fast forward.

You can watch the made for TV movie. The one about bad guys with her building as a back drop.

You won’t watch her story. Her everyday, all but 6 hours, childhood. The one where she feels lucky her building is famous. And we feel lucky we watched it in a movie.

Deep breath.

Bad Irony: Slice of Life

This is the second week that I have joined the welcoming community of writers hosted by Two Writing Teachers. Read more slices here.


38 thoughts on “Bad Irony: Slice of Life

  1. Double wow. I’m so glad she has you to walk her home, and for six hours. The world she lives in. So many think it is made for tv. Thank you, Carrie, for sharing the reality and slicing today.

  2. Like several others have said. Wow. This story takes your breath away. And not in a good way. The way you told the story through dialogue is powerful.

  3. The World welcomes us all,
    the innocent and the rest,
    into shadows of stories that we tell together —
    the cameras become eyes for unknowing —
    with images jammed into gutters along with
    stories packed with tension and danger,
    and the letting go of the little hand is a bit like
    the letting go of something lost long ago,
    so we find faith and hope for tomorrow to be better
    than today.


  4. Oh Carrie, I think this is where it is so hard not to become that person who takes them all home and gives them scrambled eggs, toast, a tub, and read aloud. This story will live with me.

  5. This is a breathtaking post. I found myself holding my breath while I read it. You captured your outrage and care-taking instincts and the irony so perfectly. Wow.

  6. Sadly, your post reminds me of a home visit I made, decades ago, when I was a young, naïve teacher who didn’t know that doing such a thing was not something you were ever supposed to do, especially on your own. I knew in my bones that “something” wasn’t right with a student’s life beyond my classroom, and my instinct was all too correct.
    The child you walked home is blessed to have you, and your classroom community, caring, nurturing, and providing the path to a better life…hopefully.

  7. Oh, Carrie, I am glad that you and your colleague took her to her place, but the blithe way she spoke of “bad guys” is heartbreaking. That’s what she lives, and how I wish it were different.

  8. The back and forth of this slice is so powerful. What you don’t say stands out strong between the lines. Outside of six hours there is a lifetime happening for our kids isn’t there?

  9. The reality of life beyond our school walls is heartbreaking. Makes you wish you could take them all home. Why? I can feel your anger. So hard not to be able to change her life for her.

  10. The 6 hours matter more than much when reality is like this. The “How is this possible?” doesn’t have an easy answer. “How can it be changed?” is even harder to answer.

  11. This is heartbreaking. I Sliced before about how sometimes teaching just feels bigger than us – bigger than we ever could be. This Slice reminds me of that. This girl is so lucky to have you.

  12. Thank you for being a witness to this world and sharing it with us. I often feel helpless in the face of such dire need. As others have said, this girl is so lucky to have you and your safe, supportive classroom, even if it is only for six hours.

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