Mishka, I may have mentioned, has developed some kind of crush on a student. He would like to sit on her lap. She’s a school captain, and she’s very hardworking about it, very strict and stern and mostly when I see her it is in this working kind of mode, where she looks very angry and fierce. Mishka likes this. It’s odd to have this going on in my head, because of course I am not six and I don’t want to sit in a student’s lap. But, I can see that this child creates a deep sense or resonance for me, and I have found that interacting with that sense of resonance in titrated, manageable doses usually helps me. Things surface that way. So I watch her. Mostly, I watch her at assembly—it’s not stalkerish, I watch all the students at assembly. At least ¾ of the time I don’t understand anything. And when I do understand it’s generally the same thing as yesterday. So there’s nothing much else to do but see if the students are behaving.

I know the girl seems like Nata, that her quality of fierceness in how she approaches her leadership role is very much like Nata. I think she also reminds me of me. There is something about how she seems to be herding ducklings that’s very familiar, but I didn’t grow up with anyone I can remember doing that. So I think it’s actually me she makes me think of. And then she also looks like the Afghani girls—her hair and eyes are lighter than the other students, but her skin is not, and I think it’s that combination of light eyes and brown skin that reminds me of them. Or some of them, anyway. So, Mishka wants to sit on her lap, but I am just letting all of this bump around in my head.

In the night, I wake up. Someone thinks it’s morning, but it isn’t. So I wake up, at first in a good mood, and then cranky because it’s 1:30 am, and it turns out it’s time to sleep. I lie awake for a while, chat with a friend, and then I am finally sleepy. But as I am falling asleep, I get something. A memory, I guess. And it’s the feeling of that fierceness in Nata when she held me. It was a part of her personality, and whatever she felt at the moment when she held me, the fierceness was part of it. It’s different. It’s different to be held by someone who is fierce than a different kind of person who might be more passive or more accepting. Nata’s physical affection had a different quality than Farzana’s. Nata was a unique person, and that uniqueness came through in whatever she did.

So, for a second, as I am falling asleep, I have that feeling—the feeling of being held by someone who is fierce. And I understand then why Mishka would feel the way he does, why he would see someone who seems to have that same quality he misses, and he would want to crawl into that lap and get that feeling again, the feeling of being someone’s tiger cub. Because it’s wonderful.

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