I went up to the high school, as is the structure. I think it makes the day stressful for me, because I know I am going to see her. It might even make a few days stressful for me, but at least there is something predictable about it.

I paid my electricity bill, which I have been putting off, and I sat with my friend (who works there) during the transaction and had coffee and caught her up on gossip. It was nice to see her. Then I made pancakes, wrote a letter to C, and walked up. At the last little bit, I met someone I knew and he gave me a lift. Actually, I had no real memory of who he was, only that his was a familiar face. This happens to me a lot here, I think because there is never any context. No one ever tells me this is X. He does Y. Or he is so-and-so’s whatever. Anyway, it was nice, because I was running a bit late (according to my mental schedule that says I should be in the hostel when C is done with “evening study”) and I also somehow desperately needed to pee.

I went to the hostel, used the girls’ toilet while all the girls were still in their classrooms studying (much less awkward), and checked out the beer can her friend is always drinking out of, which turned out to hold water. Why she uses an old beer can to keep her water in, I have no idea, but there you are. Mystery solved. Her friend is odd.

Then the girls began to come in. When C came, she smiled at me: not an “Oh, my god, I am so happy to see you,” smile. Just normal. A normal smile. It was so nice. I talked to her friends a bit. She said she would go up to the kitchen and eat. It isn’t raining these days, and they aren’t supposed to eat in the hostel. While she was eating, the girls sitting in the hostel and eating (breaking the rule) were talking to me. Actually, I talked to them. One of them was my student in Class 7, and she’s really terrible in maths. Just absolutely barely passed by the skin of her teeth. So I asked how it was going. Well, I guess the girls don’t understand anything. The teacher goes too fast, only gives a few examples and they can’t figure out what the pattern is. And they are also seeing how they didn’t study enough in lower classes and the things they used to know have fallen out of their heads. The teacher had gotten frustrated with them and was giving them a test on material she hadn’t taught.

While C was still eating, they came to me with the section of the textbook they needed to learn for the test, and I helped them the best I could. C came in the middle of this, saw what I was doing, and went away. I really cannot teach her anymore. I think her academic weaknesses create too much shame for her if she is in front of me. Anyway, when I looked up, she was sitting on someone’s lap and laughing, so I guess while I taught, she played. That seemed like a good thing to me.

Then we got to the end of the section C needed to learn, and the girls went away and C came and sat on the bed across from her. She began to say something about an outing—the girls are supposed to get an outing on Sunday, but then it looked like their outing would be cancelled. She began to look very upset, very disappointed toddler, so I told her to come sit on the bed next to me. She sat very close to me, and I put my arm around her. I asked her what had happened. I guess there might be a workshop at the school on Sunday, and for some reason this impacts the girls’ outing. Anyway, I asked what she wanted to do on her outing. It was clearly something important. She had shopping to do. So I asked what she wanted. She said she had a list.

I said if there isn’t an outing, I will buy her things for her. She said it’s not certain. I said it’s okay. Give me a copy of the list. It’s too many things to send in a text. (I had seen the list. It was a rather long one.) And I said the part about buying her things if there isn’t one and not buying her things if there is. I think she said no a few more times, and then relented, and I just kept saying the same thing, that it’s okay it isn’t certain. We have a plan for either eventuality. I told her to get paper. I had to say this a few times. I put a pen in her hand. She wrote the list. Then I looked at it and made sure I understood each item, and asked some questions—what kind of maxipads she needed (that was one of the items). They come in three colours. I have no idea what each one is, because I don’t buy them. But one time my friend asked me to pick up a package for her daughter, and I suddenly realized there are three types.

Anyway, that was sorted, and she was more okay, less Abused Child. We talked about the outing. She wants to visit her aunt and uncle this time, but I know she also needs to see me. I need to see her and she needs to see me. We need the structure of Friday’s and Sundays. She said she would come to my house after visiting them, but I said I thought she ought to come to my house first. I told her she will feel too scared to come to my house, and she agreed with that. I said I will come and get you, and you can come to my house for a short while. If you want to come with your cousin to my house, you can do that. And then from there you can go to your uncle’s house. I think actually the walk down might be enough contact. It takes about 40 minutes, and if I come to her hostel and have to wait for her to get ready, then that will be a bit longer. It might be I should make her come to my house, because I think once she is inside, she likes it. It’s approaching the house that is difficult.

Shortly, after that, I left. She said it’s getting dark, the way she always does. I showed her my passport and explained what I meant when I said she needed a visa to come to the US and I hugged her. She put her arm around me while I did that. It was kind of a side-hug, because we were sitting. I felt really surprised. I hugged her twice, and both times she put her arm around me.

When I got home, I sent her a text via her friend, and told them both to study and wished them the best for their maths text the next day. I got back, “Kk mom love you.” I responded to that with some other encouragement and an I love you too.

I felt a lot of warmth. In the night, I woke up and I realized I felt very afraid. I was hot and I have this disgusting staph infection on my back and it was itching and I couldn’t get comfortable and I realized I was also afraid. I was not connected to myself, and didn’t know the reason I was awake except for all of these small issues, and then I kind of got myself back into my body and I realized.

Well, that makes sense. There was a lot of connection and closeness, and now I feel afraid. C is probably feeling it too, or maybe she is feeling ashamed. There are these paired emotions: warmth and fear, vulnerability and shame. This is going to happen.

It helps to understand that, because then there isn’t also the panic to deal with—why do I feel so scared now? This doesn’t make any sense.

It does make sense. I know why a connected visit would lead to turmoil later, and the thing to do is ride it out. Be kind to myself. That’s all.

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