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Friday, January 18, 2008

Big Girl.

I've taught some obese students, and I've taught some mentally unstable ones. Big Girl is a sad, lumbering bundle of the two. She's got a smile that can brighten anyone's day, but spews such ludicrous lies that would test the patience of the Pope himself. What's scary is that she seems to believe them too.

Big Girl: I hate gay women. There was this one gay girl, and she was runnin' down the hall after me, trying to kiss me and touch me...

Now, this would imply that Big Girl was running too. This, coming from the girl who is so grossly obese that she no longer takes the stairs in the building and walks with that painful gait that comes with having to maneuver such enormous weight in a sort of pivoting motion from one foot to the other. It hurts just to watch her make her slow way down the hall. Besides the fact that it would be physically impossible for her to run, bless her poor heart, I don't think there are many people -gay or straight- who would take it upon themselves to chase after her in a fit of amorous passion.

I had taught Big Girl when I worked at the Junior High, and had twice caught her trying to get into my purse when she thought I wasn't looking. Her claims that she just wanted to clean it out were less than believable, especially when she had stolen from two other teachers within the space of two years.

She would make up stories about friends I knew didn't exist, events in her past that never happened... But one day she was bawling her eyes out and I felt I couldn't dismiss her story-telling that day.

Big Girl: They're killing my brothers and sisters... They're just babies. They give this medicine and then they die!

She wailed like this for quite some time, and I sat with her and tried to piece together what she was saying, but with very little success. Regardless of whether or not she was speaking the truth, something was wrong. We've moved from a lonely girl making up stories in an attempt to create a fictional life full of friends and excitement to something very dark and disturbing. "Luckily", she had stolen for the last time and was up for expulsion, so I was invited to attend the meeting. I brought up my concerns to the mother. She chittered with a nervous laugh and mopped at her sweat with uncertain hands.

Big Girl's Momma: Oh... Hehe... Oh that! Oh... Hehehehe... Well, you know, she knows about her brothers and sisters. I mean, she knows when I'm pregnant because the smell of KFC make me sick, but any other time it don't make me sick, then when she see I'm not sick no mo', she know the baby's gone. She knows, she watches me, and she knows.

After the meeting was over, I escorted her to the front door and casually struck up a conversation about contraception...

TeacherLady: Have you considered your options? Perhaps getting the tubes tied?

Big Girl's Momma: Oh I did that. I guess they came untied!

TeacherLady: Ah. How unfortunate.

We parted amicably and it was made clear to me just how many factors are involved in how messed up Big Girl's life is. I didn't even tell you about what the mother had said about the candy Big Girl keeps stashed everywhere including the toilet cistern, despite her mother's efforts to remove all candy from the house (or so she says, her waistline spoke volumes of the possible existence of an Hershey storage room she may have in the home).

Big Girl got bigger, her steps are more pained and she's told such outrageous lies such as showing a picture of a toddler and telling her teacher it's her own child when I've never known her to have any time off of school to have one, and the supposed stomach stapling she has undergone doesn't seem to be very effective...

The other day I bumped into her English teacher and found out she'd written an essay in which she had said lovely things about me. It's nice to hear things like that because sometimes you never get to find these things out. She wants to be a child carer, and may whatever deity exist please forbid that from happening, but please give her some happiness. And a few less obvious lies.


ra said...

i think though most people say they are accomodating to "social outcasts", it is obviously untrue.

i guess, in our own little ways, we disregard. i try to be patient and understanding, but there are times when i am not.

personally, i can understand this(being ostracised for whatever reason), and i can almost feel the others hurt when they talk, behave.... i know where theyre comin from. but it is finally up to the invidual to make the change and then work on it. it may take years, but its worth it.

Cairogal said...

My sister is a counselor in the schools for kids up through 8th grade. Your story reminded me so much of the ones she brings home: highly dysfunctional families and the poor kids that just never get that chance to get on track. She talked about going into a class w/ an 8 y.o. who needed to be removed. When my sister asked why she was angry, she responded, "Shut the fuck up, you old hag!" Oddly enough, my sister was more offended by the "old" bit. It's tough work, and burnout seems imminent.

Bongi said...

this story made me want to cry. she is an effigy of so many miserable people.
it reminded me of a dysfunctional family i recently was involved with. the mother was on her last, dying of metastasized cancer. i doubt she had 2 months to live. yet her husband was pimping out their daughters!! i felt scarred just knowing about it.

TeacherLady said...

So many of these kids have so little opportunity for happiness when their parents doom them like this. It's sad when I start to feel like I'm fighting a tide and that no matter what good I do, they'll go back home to hell or worse and it makes all my "You can be whatever you want to be" approach as a sick joke. Of course I don't really say they can be ANYTHING, but that they can be better...