September 13, 2006
It's hard for her, I know. She doesn't express frustration with her situation very often, but sometimes she just can't say what needs to be said, even when she goes to the BBoW, and that's when she gets angry at her monster.
When she got off the bus at school, her teacher said, she was in a bad mood already. Something was wrong, that much was clear, but she wasn't able to tell them exactly what. She was able to tell them that she didn't feel well, but she was struggling to tell them exactly why.
Finally, they figured out that she had a headache. They figured it out because she told the school nurse, in her own way.
She had the nurse put a band-aid on her head.
Well, there you go. Communication.
I've seen it so many times, I've watched her work her way around communications obstacles in different ways, sometimes imaginative and sometimes crude but always effective. It's a wonder to watch, fascinating to see how her brain works.
The last story in my book takes place a couple of months ago, when we were escaping the heat at one of those little play areas at the mall. Schuyler was confronted by a mean little girl who insisted on bullying her and the other kids by constantly occupying the same space that they were trying to play in. Julie and I very intentionally stayed back to let her figure it out by herself.
The mean girl had two sisters in on the fun with her, but she did most of the bullying, calling other kids names and pushing them around. Schuyler refused to budge, however. At first she tried to just ignore the mean girls, but that only enraged them.
Two things happened that convinced us that even if it wasn't how we'd choose for her confrontations to go down, we nevertheless could see that Schuyler was going to be okay.
The first thing was the worst, and happened before we could intervene. The mean girl hit Schuyler hard, on the shoulder. Before we could stand up and go over to them or even say a word, in no more time than it took for the windup, in fact, Schuyler quite simply hit the girl right in the middle of her face. And that was it. She dispensed what she saw as justice, and that was that.
The mean girl was so surprised that for a moment she didn't say anything. Then she started yelling in Schuyler's face.
"You can't talk! You're crazy! You're STUPID!"
Schuyler looked at her for just a moment, weighed her options (which were few, particularly without her BBoW), then leaned into the girl's face, her fists balled at her side, opened her mouth and howled like an animal. The girl was so shocked that she just walked away.
I'd like it to be different. I'd love for things to be any way other than this. But I suppose Schuyler doesn't have time for sentimentality or best practices or whatever. She's a sweet kid and the most loving human being I have ever known, in a world where frankly, love is almost always suspect.
But when she has to be, she's also the best pragmatist I know. Sometimes, all you get is a howl. I see that and I rage against the injustice. Schuyler sees it, and she howls, without hesitation. I'm proud of her for that.
One quick note, while I'm jabbering away.
Because I am generally agreeable to being thought of as swell, I thought I'd share something an old friend of mine wrote about me. It's actually been a few years since I've spoken to Sari. She disappeared for a long time and so I assumed she'd joined some radical lesbian terrorist group. (I'm not sure whether I'm glad or sorry that she didn't.) She's one of those friends with whom the bonds are there and just waiting to be picked back up like no time at all has passed. I'm glad she's back.
Anyway, thank you, Sari. I like that she calls me "the last of the true gentlemen on earth". It almost makes up for that photo. Look how fat I was back then. Man.