I feel I can’t write about this. I am going to, but it feels tender, too personal, like a plant that might be easily crushed.

C disobeyed me this morning. I told her when she got to school to come to the staff room. She did not. I saw her walking down to her class and she saw me and then in the five minutes it took me to come down, she had disappeared.

I was really, really angry. I saw her after a while—I was so angry I went for a walk, and she was returning from where she had gone as I was walking. I gave her a hard look as she came toward me. It was my angry look and I think probably it is not a nice like. I think it might look psychopathic. I am not very sure, but at its most intense, I know that look is scary even to pretty hardened kids.

I asked her why she hadn’t come up. There were chairs that needed moving. That is actually pretty much C. If she doesn’t do what I tell her, it’s almost always because someone else has given her work to do or is sick or having some kind of personal crisis. I said, “Why didn’t you tell me?” “Friends said to come.” I don’t know what to say about that. Impulsive people pleasing? Probably. Who knows. “Just tell me next time.” I let her go.

Why was I so angry though? I felt resolved about things in the present. I told her what I expected in future. She understood my expectations. Actually, she has choices. I want her to make her own choices. That is a part of things. But communication about her choices is important to me. It shows respect. I respect her enough to allow her to make choices. She respects me enough to tell me what they are so that I can weigh how it fits in with my more mature understanding of what is best for her.

But rage kept bubbling up. What’s that about? I kept walking around, wondering. I know some of how life at Yuri’s affected me. The girls did their best to keep me safe. It required complete attention and obedience from me and complete awareness from them.

Then also I was responsible for Annousheh or I felt I was responsible for her and she died.

So I thought about this for a while, and landed in a place of grief. Unclear exactly why, but grief maybe at how I grew up, at the need for such obedience, at the fact that when I was cared for I was never free to be a child and when I wasn’t cared for there was no reason I would want to be a child. Maybe, most of all, a grief at how little life mattered to my dad. Not life in the sense of circulation and respiration, but in the sense of aliveness.

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