I am really angry. I was angry kind of all night. I took an antihistamine to sleep—convenient side-effect—and then woke up periodically in the night. I woke up feeling like smashing my head against rocks. I had all of these pictures of blood on things in my head. I wanted to smash myself. They weren’t memories. They were things I wanted to do.

I don’t really know why. I feel really angry again now, in the evening, and I again don’t know why. The morning was especially hard today, because I have been sending things up to C every day via some other girl—mostly her friend that is my neighbour down the hill (across the street from me). But there have been back-up people when I fail to locate the friend. Today, I didn’t see the girl (she usually walks past my house in the morning). None of the backups were there either. Mostly, my timing just sucked. The backup kids who live close to school leave earlier. The girls who live at the corner leave later. I left my house too late for the kids by my school, and too early for the girls at the corner. Then I walked back to my house, wondering what to do, and the girls were in their dad’s car driving away after I came back again.

And the thing is the whole time I am waiting for this girl in the morning, I am kind of out of my mind. Then the power tools started up, a truck was idling outside my house, and I had to put my clothes on (which weren’t going on) and it was like every freaking trigger together. I finally realized I have clothes that are easier to put on, and changed the day’s outfit at least. Sheesh.

So I don’t know what’s wrong with me, actually. I seem to be very, very triggered, but I don’t know what started it. I did have a talk with the matron about C, and there was this incident last week where one of the National Language teachers was basically strangling two kids who did something small and disrespectful to him. Corporal punishment is routine here, although it’s against education policy. But that kind of cruelty is fairly rare. I mean, I haven’t seen it before. I have seen some things that disturbed me, but that was absolutely the worst in 3 three years of being here. We had a different principal my first year here, and he really discouraged corporal punishment, and I do think there was less of it then. It was less open, anyway, and less cruel. Now it’s being done openly much more. I think, maybe I’m wrong.

Anyway, that was last week—maybe Monday. Whatever day it was, that was the same day C’s grandmother came to see me, so I didn’t really have time to process. Then I was busy planning for the Literary Club activity Saturday, got sick for 2 days, and muddled through the program Saturday on ibuprofen and Tylenol combined. Then Sunday I was fine, went to meet C’s matron to try to get a regular visit schedule back in place, because I don’t think C will be able to cope with seeing me only once in 2 weeks. As suspected, C has been having more psychogenic symptoms. Ear pain, teeth pain, headaches. I think these are flashbacks of getting hit on the head, because blows to children’s heads are common here. A fist to the skull is like a spanking. Insane. Anyway, I got Sundays out of the matron, although she insisted I meet C outdoors, which will cause no end of stress to C. The matron has an idea that no one will know that I am there, and she will be safe (I suppose) from accusations of partiality. Which, of course, is total nonsense. I mean, the whole world will know. It’s a small place. I am the only white person around. If I go and meet C, everyone knows it.

I suppose that feels stressful to me. C needs to see me. It helps her. But not if the process of going to me increases her stress level. So maybe that triggered me also. I don’t know.

But something is happening to me.

Getting back to missing my messenger. I went back to school, resolving to go at lunch time, because now that I have made a habit of sending something up to C absolutely every day, the absence of a token of some kind takes on a meaning for C. It’s rejection or anger or something happened to me. She will lose her mind, or at least feel she is. And I also thought that the longer a trigger lasts, the harder it is to deal with it. That was one of my thoughts about the situation: I missed the boat in the morning, does it matter what I do after that? Yes, I think it does, I decided. The longer her wait for some kind of contact from me, the harder it is for her. I taught 2 classes before lunch—it was a nice day in that regard—hurried home, scarfed a bit of lunch, located a taxi and went up. It took a long time to find her. It wouldn’t have, but I was trying to avoid walking all the way to the girl’s hostel. Well, she didn’t come down. I didn’t have a choice, but to go up. I had to teach after lunch, and I deliberately ate my lunch first because their lunch period (I think) is a bit later than ours.

I saw her coming down the hill from the kitchen, plate in hand, and she looked very much like a grumpy toddler. I think grumpy toddler is kind of a different part than I have seen a lot of before. On Sunday, I saw a flash of grumpy toddler. When she came into the hostel from outside, she didn’t see me sitting on the bed waiting for her. It was sunny outside, and dark inside, and her eyes hadn’t adjusted. C came in the room looking like 1000 year old woman, which is how she looks when she feels rejected. She absolutely looks aged. She entered the room as 1000 year old woman, flipped into grumpy toddler, and then saw me, and kind of lightened up. Grumpy toddler came back a bit, and there were some other modes in there, but I hadn’t every really noticed grumpy toddler before. The odd thing about grumpy toddler is that she looks rounded off and stolid in a way that she doesn’t ordinarily look. Physically, her whole body looks different. Parts are weird.

Anyway, grumpy toddler came down the hill. I suppose she knew I was there. She got to me and said, “Why you come?” I said I couldn’t get a messenger, and I took a bag of pancakes and apples out of my backpack. She said thank you in an entirely different voice. I told her to come here, and I hugged her and kissed her and she hugged me back. I looked at her earnestly, said something or other like take care or be good or something, held the side of her face, and walked quickly away. (I was going to be late.) That last bit probably has something to do with the pain of parting for both of us. It’s a pain I see in her, but that I always shut down in myself. I imagine I feel it though. It’s just a matter of time before I start letting that in.

Coming back to school in the taxi, I did feel better. I had a very odd feeling of being settled, that I hadn’t expected at all.

Now, at almost bedtime, I feel angry again. I have been feeling angry all evening, for no reason I can really pin down. I think it might be that the pain of being close to someone is actually so great that I hate C for making me feel that pain. She makes me want her, and I hate it. That might be it. She lightened when I came to the hostel to meet her, not lit up, but just kind of lost the imaginary 50 kg she was carrying on her shoulders, and that really hit me very strongly. I don’t know what I felt: I couldn’t take that feeling in. But I felt something, for sure. I think it was something like “I am wanted. C wants me. It’s really nice to be wanted like that. It is nice to mean something to someone.” It was easier when I felt more that I had a mission and a purpose, and I was focused on the charity aspect of what I was doing. It was nicer when I felt mostly just responsible, and not this other, more personal thing.

It’s hard for me to relax to the point where I feel the pain of being wanted, but the few times that I have been able to get there recently, it really, really hurts.

 

 

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