As the time ticks away, Mr. Green clears his throat and says, “I will go out there but I really have to take care of some business. It is my lunch break you know.”
He leaves the room with car keys in hand.
I turn to face Mr. Redding, speaking as calm as I can.
“Mr. Redding, who will cover the class while we are out of the room? These young men can be a handful if not covered by someone with experience.”
With that handsome smile beaming, Mr.Redding reassures me to be calm.
“Don’t worry Ms. White. I will work with these gentlemen. Now, you head on out back and bring Michael back in to finish his day.”
I declare. Mr. Redding can make the biggest situation seem like a small matter. Smiling at my guys, I hastily make my way to the trees on the back field.
Approaching the field, I see Michael sitting in the middle “v” section of one of the oak trees. Clearly he is not happy. A big frown on his face. Mr. Center and Mr. Green are standing under the tree. Mr. Center is asks Michael to come down so he won’t get hurt. Mr. Green continues to text on his phone. This does not surprise me. Green is out for Green and whatever Green needs to do for Green, Green will do regardless. Lord give me the right words to diffuse this situation.
” Mr. Center. Thank you so much for checking on Michael. Isn’t he a great climber? I think that he may be the best climber in the school. Well, I was just saying to Mr. Green the other day that out of all the students in our class, I bet that Michael is the best climber. Didn’t I say that Mr. Green?”
Mr. Green grunts and continues to text on his phone. Mr. Center was becoming angry with Green.
“Green. Why don’t you put that blasted phone down and see about your student? I have things to do as well but right now this young man takes precedence over personal matters.”
Green grunts again but his fingers never slow down and he never raises his head to even acknowledge Michael in the tree above us. Looking at Michael, I ease closer to the tree while fighting to stay calm.
“Michael. It’s time to come down. We have more fun things to do today. Drawing, music, gym time.”
I pause, gauging his response. I continue but facing Mr. Center now.
“You know Mr. Center. I am getting kinda hungry. I heard that there is a really good lunch today. It would be a shame for anyone to miss out. They say that it is yummmyyy.”
I rub my belly and wink at Mr. Center hoping that he would catch on.
“Umm. Ahhh, that is right Ms. White. I heard that too. I missed breakfast so I am excited about lunch.”
Mr. Center moves closer to Michael and speaks a little louder.
“Yep. It would be a shame to miss such good food.
Thankful that Mr. Center caught on, I speak a little louder.
“Too bad that only the students that are inside the school can go to lunch. They don’t let us have lunch out here up in trees where we could drop all of that yummy food.”
Glancing up, I notice Michael easing down the tree. I gesture for Mr. Center to move slowly away and continue to speak as I turn to walk toward the building.
“I tell you Mr. Center. My stomach is growling just thinking about that lunch.”
Michael is almost on the ground. Mr. Center turns to grab Michael but I stop him by gently blocking his hand. I encourage Mr. Center to continue to walk with me back to the classroom. All the while praying that Michael will follow our lead.
“Oh look Mr. Center. Michael must be hungry too. I see that he is following us to the building. He must want some of that good lunch too. Are you hungry Michael? Are you wanting some of that yummy lunch too?”
Michael runs up to me, pulls on my hand, and asks in a loud voice.
“WHAT’S FOR LUNCH?”