It would be an understatement to say that, as I walked to school the next day, I had no idea how things were going to unfold.
Joss advised me to take my laptop – “If there’s no-one to help, you can always find a quiet corner,” she advised – which seemed eminently sensible.
But I was determined to sit in the empty staff room for at least half an hour first, just in case.
Suddenly, Lucia appeared.
“Hello, how are you?” I said.
“Good, thank you,” she replied.
There was a pause.
“Where is the other volunteer?” I asked, in what I hoped was a friendly manner.
Lucia looked faintly sheepish and, unusually, looked at me directly.
“She was only here one day,” she said.
“That’s okay,” I replied, surprised.
“Do you go on vacation next week?”
(Considering my discussion with Paulina, I thought this was a more pressing issue)
“Wednesday,” Lucia nodded.
“Will you help me?” she asked, beseechingly.
“Of course,” I replied, again too stunned to be anything other than truthful.
We walked to the lesson with a vague sense of harmony for the first time.
It settled into exactly the pattern it should have taken all along.
Lucia taught her lesson and I helped the slow ones to keep up.
The second lesson was even better.
For the first time since I had been there, every child completed the necessary work.
School finished then – for Mother’s Day celebrations – but as Lucia and I polished off a packet of double chocolate Oreos in the staff room, I felt vaguely hopeful.
This harmony may be delicate, but fingers crossed it lasts.