I survived the week. That’s good.

It’s a bit of a blur now. There is a lot that is sort of almost computing, but not quite.

I ended up having a birthday party. Five or six students asked if they could come to my house. I said it was okay. Then I think maybe 40 showed up. We made pancakes and drank mango juice and tea, I opened their presents, and they sang and danced. They left at 9, which is past my bedtime. Then I couldn’t wind down. There was a lot of sobbing and missing Nata and it was pretty awful, because I had held it in for so long. But I did eventually sleep.

It was lovely, but I also wanted to be left alone just to cry and miss her without having to explain or make up a story. Life doesn’t offer everything. That is the moral of that story.

Saturday, C finally remembered her math that I wanted to check. I came early to school in the morning, thinking I was not having a crisis at that moment and I had work to do, then I was walking past her classroom—not immediately past, but within eyesight. I didn’t see her. Then suddenly, she was running towards me, math book in hand. She must have seen me from inside a classroom.

I don’t think I’ve ever had a student run to me to show me their math, and there was something beautiful about it. It is, in some way, the most beautiful thing I have ever seen—her uninhibited desire to show me she had not forgotten.

Her answer was wrong, so I explained why it was wrong, and she was very enthusiastic about expressing she understood why it was wrong, and then we parted ways.

It sort of spoiled my morning, but I could not connect that until I had come again in the afternoon.

C, more than the other students, makes me understand how wrong everything was that was done to the other girls and also to me. Not just one thing, but everything. She makes it clear that everything that was done was very, very wrong. I would rather cut off my own arms than do even a tiny fraction of the kinds of abuse the girls I knew endured. The idea of someone else doing those things to C makes me want to murder anyone who would do those things. Thinking about what Yuri did to the girls makes me want to dismember him the way he dismembered Laila. I do not honestly know how someone—anyone—can look at a teenage girl and not see someone uniquely alive and wonderful who should not and cannot be treated like a device.

But I couldn’t process all of that, and my day was spent in a state of anger and frustration, until I finally got home.

And now I’m pondering how it is feeling safe, even blissful, to be sleepy, and because of that I mostly don’t want to do anything. I just want to cuddle the blankets in bed.

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