So I went to get her. It was around 6 when I arrived. I ran across her English teacher, and he said they were at night study and would be done in 5 minutes. I waited and they began to come down the hill from I don’t know where almost immediately. No, she was not with them. Someone had already come for her. Her uncle, it turned out. I called her on the way back down the hill to see where she was. I said I wanted to meet her. “Nope.” Some other stuff….I never really know what to do when she rejects me like that. She wants me and doesn’t want me. What feeling wins?

I said I am coming right now, and I came. She was angry. I really had no idea why. I had no idea why she said not to come. I had no idea why she was angry about it. I went in the kitchen and asked her. She was wiping the stove. “I have work.” This is basically an excuse. It is saying please don’t be here. “Go in the other room. I have work.” It’s not a way to talk to people and she knows it. So she was angry, and I did not know why.

I went in the other room and talked to her uncle and helped his son (past student) with his homework. After a while her (girl) cousin came out from somewhere and finally C came. It became a little more natural. Another cousin (different parents) came—my current student. All of the children knew me, actually quite well. Girl cousin was in my maths club. Boy cousin in my class last year. Little cousin in my class this year. They all wanted to talk to me, and so did her uncle, and there was a lot of overlapping conversation.

Then suddenly Girl Cousin said C was sick last week. Actually, not sick. It sounded like a flashback to me. I tried to ask C questions about this, but got no where. She would not look at me either. At some point, everyone had kind of disappeared to different corners of the house. It was just the two of us. I was trying to get her to connect with me. I wanted to talk to her about what had happened. I don’t know if I realized what I was doing, but I was stroking her hand. She wouldn’t look at me and got very agitated I think maybe fairly suddenly, but maybe I just had no sense of the timing of it. Anyway, she shook her hand away from me, “I’ll stop studying,” she said. She was, at that point, writing some things in her notebook about chemistry. She had not been studying that hard, just writing without thinking what she was doing, in between calling up her grandmother and another relative, and talking to the Little Girl Cousin about pictures on her phone, but her outburst came after the Little Girl wandered off somewhere. I stopped and dropped the subject. Everyone drifted back. After a while, there was dinner. I ate, in that extremely uncomfortable Country X way where I am eating and they are not. I hate it. By then it was after 9.

I was going to leave after that, and I called C to come with me to the door. For a few minutes, I stood there with her. I don’t know what I was saying to her. She had literally pulled hair in front of her to form a wall between us. I said, “Look at me,” a few times. Finally, she did. She was just so scared. It broke my heart. Before I left, I said, “Let me hug you,” so she did. For a second, she softened and maybe it’s possible she took the warmth in. Then I kissed her hair, and maybe that was too much for her, or maybe something else happened. Her whole body tightened up and she made fists with her hand, like she felt she was going to need to hit me to get free. She said, “Da!” which is kind of a mild curse word. I left then, but it broke my heart to see her like that, to see her so afraid to relax or let warmth in.

I did not sleep all night—maybe an hour or two here and there. I don’t know how to help her, and it breaks my heart to see her hurting so much.