The morning after the day before

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.

Another pause.

Lucia looked faintly sheepish and, unusually, looked at me directly.

“She was only here one day,” she said.

“I’m sorry.”

Another pause.

“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.

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