Friday, March 4, 2016

Hard Talk

This month I will participate in the Slice of Life Challenge!
My goal is to Write. Share. Give. each & every day of March.  
Check out Two Writing Teachers for more info!

He stands at my desk, leaning on the counter. 
He is one of my regulars, although he isn't much for reading. 
The library is his safe place, his second home. 

I can tell he is not okay. 
Quiet.  He says, "I need to tell you something."
"But I can't tell you, tell you. Here--read my phone."

He texts something in and then turns the phone to face me.
We are expecting, it reads. 
I blink, trying to keep a poker face. 

His eyes welling with tears now, he just looks at me. 
I'm not quite sure what to say. 
So many thoughts are running through my head.

You're so young. You're both so damn young. 
And this is going to make your lives much more complicated. 
And none of this is what he needs to hear right now. 

I ask him if they've told their folks. 
"Last night, " he says, his voice a whisper. 
"And I wanted you to know.  I wanted to be the one to tell you." 

He is one of my school "sons". 
I am heartbroken for him--and for her.  
I pause and breathe for a bit. 

And then tell him it will be hard, but he--they--will be okay. 
That I would have chosen different timing for them if I were in charge of the world, 
But most things in life have a way of working themselves out--even the difficult things.

He smiles through his tears and thanks me for believing in them.
He tells me he mostly hates that he has hurt and disappointed people he loves. 
"It is time for me to be a man now," he says. "I guess it's time for me to grow up." 


  1. Heartbreaking. How lucky this young man was that you were there for him. You gave him just what he needed.

  2. Oh, wow. This is tough. I feel like you reacted with such grace and love - it was exactly what he needed from you.

    I hope things work out for this young man. You obviously care for him deeply.

  3. Handing over the phone is such an unspoken but major moment here... He didn't want to let you down, and he wanted you to know and be his safe space. I've had students share the same news with me over the years. I love that the library is his safe space.

  4. I could feel the weight of trust he has in you with the act of typing it down instead of saying it out loud. How wonderful you have been able to provide that safe space for him. That he is accepting responsibility and understands the seriousness says a lot about his chances of making it through. I wish them well.

  5. Those kids are lucky to have you and you are lucky to have them.