This morning was really quite hard. I fell asleep last night a bit later than usual, because I had work for Literary Club and then Arts Sir wanted to give The Boy some clothes to wear—his younger brother lives with him, and has old, outgrown clothes that would fit The Boy. The Boy has been wearing the same filthy short and tank top for a week and a half, and they stink. The Boy keeps taking baths, but his underclothes stink. Then I had to buy vegetables, because my life has changed now and I can’t just make do with whatever is in the house. And finally I cooked dinner. Somehow, by the time all of that had happened, it was 8:30 or something.
I woke up more or less on time, but I was really overwhelmed with feelings, and something had to get out and processed. I needed to be able to feel everything that I had been keeping inside for the last 24 hours. Also, I needed to write C a letter, because I do that every day and if there is a lot on my mind, this takes time to sort through and think through what to say. Today seemed like a day when the letter-writing would take time.
So I sat and cried for about an hour, and wrote C a letter. Everything kind of got pushed back in terms of the morning routine. That may or may not turn out to be important later in what I am writing now.
My friends had given The Boy a talk, just telling him to behave nicely, keep good company, study hard. He is a lucky boy, they said, and that’s how he can show his appreciation. I think it scared the pants off of him, but it might have also given him a good feeling—my friends are distantly related to him. So he came home, and he said, “I’m a lucky boy.” He was very happy about this. I agreed, but I don’t think he is lucky. He is clearly in my house because there is some kind of trauma in his family. Otherwise, he would want to go home. He would miss his parents and his siblings by now, and he would go home.
The thing is that so much of this process with The Boy reminds me of what happened with C in the early part of our relationship, but it puts it into a different perspective, because I am more integrated now and I have more information available to me to reflect upon and to help me see what happened. A year ago, I noticed that C was fearful, but she was fearful because she wanted my attention. She was not afraid of me. She was afraid of asking for my attention, so around me, she appeared to be fearful, because I brought up that wish in her to be given attention. I had a relationship with her friends of a casual kind. Some of them had been in my subject class. One of them just seemed to like me. That friend had had a foreign teacher at a previous school, and maybe that made her feel at ease with me. Her cousin (whom she lives with still) was in my class that year. Anyway, I had this indirect contact with C, that I didn’t really think about. I spoke to her friends, and C was silent, and although I had a good opinion of C, I did not talk much to her. But C was in a position to notice me, because her friends talked to me. Something must have been building in her that I myself hadn’t noticed. But I noticed fear.
I wrote about this a long time ago, but probably you don’t remember it. There was just that day she bowed to me—it is called Social Forestry Day. Don’t worry about that. It’s not important. But C saw me rather suddenly—I turned abruptly to go to the toilet, realizing soon we were going to have to sit down for a long time and listen to someone’s speech in the National Language. C happened to be standing next to the staff toilet.
She bowed in that way that expresses, “Oh, I really, really need to be good now.” It caught my attention and I felt quite clearly that she was afraid. She was afraid of wanting my attention, I think now, but at the time I didn’t know what it was about. Just she was too afraid. That has been a large part of the dynamic between us. She feels afraid, and actually what she is most afraid of is attention and connection and warmth, and I feel her fear and I respond by wanting to offer her protection. But I really did not know then that was going on. I did not realize she is afraid of something that is triggered by me, and I am giving her protection against a feeling she has inside that I am prompting in her.