Yesterday was the high school’s annual religious ritual, where the monks come all day and chant prayers and then the students and staff throw seeds and there is some kind of figure they burn and it is supposed to drive out bad luck and sickness. Usually, I go. The lower school teachers go and have lunch. I began to realize this was happening when I saw boys in high school uniforms walking down from school at ten in the morning. It told me there was a change in routine, and it’s spring. It’s the right time.
It made me feel worried. C will see I am not there, and God knows what she will think. I had to sit with that worry, because I don’t think I should contact her. I think right now any contact is destabilizing to her. I don’t really know that, but it’s how it feels at the moment. So I worried. I worried and I didn’t reach out to her and I felt ashamed and suicidal.
Then there was a knock at the door. It was VP Ma’am and Maths Ma’am and National Language Ma’am. They came to see how I was, and VP Ma’am wanted me to come to her house for lunch. They had been to the ritual and had their lunch and come back to check on me. It was comforting to see them, but there is stuff to process now from it.
First, they told me the high school principal had noticed my absence and asked where I was. He said something like, “She could die.” Evidently, he didn’t know where I lived and he had some kind of image of my being alone and dying or something. He found out where I lived and said something about sending the landlord’s daughter to take care of me. I suppose things had been dramatized, because I got really sick during the National Anthem and I had to go into the staffroom and sit down. Also, I think periodically Country X-ers feel a sense of my vulnerability, that I am alone, I have no family here. My family in the US is totally useless, but they don’t realize that. I really do have to take care of myself, which is what we do in the West. We take care of ourselves for the most part. Most of the time, they don’t think about it, but from time to time it really strikes them, this person is all alone and it’s like they are seeing a tiny baby alone with no parents. They see a very vulnerable, very helpless creature. And that must be what the high school principal suddenly saw: a vulnerable creature, all alone with no protection.
I found out too that the teachers had not seen many of the students: last year, we came during a particular ritual, and the students were all there. This year, it seems that didn’t happen, and so C would not have seen the teachers, and she would not have seen I was missing. She won’t be thinking anything of the fact that I wasn’t there. She didn’t know. That was somewhat relieving.
National Language Ma’am said—and it was the first thing out of her mouth—”C isn’t here?”
I said, “She doesn’t know I am sick.” Which is actually the other thing. The last time I was sick, when I told C I had been, she said, “Why didn’t you tell me? You always take care of me when I am sick.” I don’t know how she will feel that I didn’t tell her I am sick. She might feel hurt. She might also worry. I don’t know. I just know it would be too stimulating for her to see me or to worry about me.
Anyway, then I went up to VP Ma’am’s house and her daughter made lunch. I was a little bit reassured. Evidently, the principal didn’t like anyone’s appraisal documents and did not comment that I did not submit mine. We all have to do them again anyway. VP Ma’am will do hers and I can more or less copy from her, since she attended the presentation on it on Saturday when I was sick. I tried to tell her why I had been worried about C the last few weeks, but in the middle realized that I just have no idea how to explain it. I can talk about her behaviour, but I don’t know how to explain that it worries me. I don’t know how to say what about it worries me. Eventually, I guess I will need to work out how to do that, so that I am less alone with it. It means I need to understand my own feelings better, and I also need to understand the perspectives of other people, so that I can bridge the gap.
I know some piece of it for me is getting used to being alive, in a sense. I am unique and irreplaceable. C is unique and irreplaceable. I think I feel almost a disbelief of it, as though I just can’t process the obvious. Some part of the worry I feel is a recognition that she is special to me, that I care what happens to her, I care if she is a part of my life or not, and it’s a new feeling. It might not be a feeling I have never had, but it’s definitely a feeling I have not been able to recognize or take in. Some part of it is just, “Yep, she’s not a paper plate. I can’t get another one if she breaks.” But there is so much fear involved in thinking that that I cannot get my head around the thought. I just get to keep having it.
I feel like the kid pushing soap down into the water. Yep, it floats. It’s a big thing, but it floats. It’s not like a rock, which sinks. Big things don’t always sink. Wow. Just keep pushing soap into the water. Yep, still floats. After 500 times, it still does it. Wow. Amazing.
There is only one C. Yep, still only one.
Anyway, that’s one thought.
But I began to feel a little more energized, a little comforted. One, because my friends came and looked in on me. They aren’t going to let me get stolen. They might not go to the ends of the earth for me, but there is also only one of me for them also, and they are moved to help me.
So we talked about the appraisal, we talked about the assessment evaluation that will happen on Monday. We talked about the practical things that need to be done. Then I went home. It was around 5:30 by then, and I was really tired and fell asleep soon after that, but I felt encouraged. I felt a little more that I can do this.
It’s morning though, and I feel overwhelmed again.