Flashback to the morning. Heard on the morning news........
"Last night on a Brooklyn bus bound for Bedford-Stuyvesant, a 14-year-old boy rumored to be in a street gang allegedly spotted a member of a rival gang and pulled out a .357-caliber revolver.
Shots were fired, the bullets missing the intended target, killing a 39 year old man."
Roommate #1: No! That's the area I work...... I hope it isn't tied to any of my students....
The uneven cracked sidewalks of Brooklyn flash by me as vivid visions of my apartment in flames spring to the forefront of my mind. I'm saying a million swear words in my head as I curse the most unhelpful pair of healed boots I happen to be wearing. At least the blue corduroy jacket with the pop up collar that admittedly makes me feel fairly bad-ass, isn't being annoying..... if there is a fire, at least I can say I saved my bad-ass jacket in perhaps my biggest accomplishment of idiot-icy. As I cross Flatbush Avenue with short breath, I realize I don't hear any sirens in the distance and premature relief falls over me. "Everything's going to be fine. Everything's going to be fine".... muscles strain.... I slow to a brisk walk.
I can see the apartment building. No sign of smoke, yet. Three flights of stairs later, I open the apartment door to find, Laika the dog, stretching her hind legs as she is waking from a slumber. She's slightly confused by presence as if thinking "the human returned? It seems early? Do I get food!!!" My room is fine, the straightener is turned off. Crisis avoided! "Well at least I know!" I say to myself, not knowing whether I should feel like a complete moron or congratulate myself for in fact turning off my hair straightener.
Laika's coat greets the mid-morning sunshine as she is treated to outside with my unannounced presence. Her business is taken care of and I hear children playing outside from the middle school across the street. Middle School. One of my NYCTF friends works at that middle school and sends out daily snapchats about how much he hates his job. It's one of the many weird comforting ways you don't feel quite alone. He won't choose to be a teacher for long.
Back in the privileged neighborhood I teach, I check the time on my phone to see if I'll make my grade team meeting on time. I won't, but I do have 2 snap chats. Like clockwork I assume it's the same story of hating your job from the teacher mentioned above and wonder if it will be his packed lunch in the picture with the phrase "finally some peace and quiet" or an exasperated selfie with a look of exhaustion- it is Friday after all.
I'm wrong. As I open the news, a picture with his hand making the number 3 and the caption saying "3 kids in the hall are arrested. Three." I don't even remember the picture of the next snap, but it said "a student shot a man."
Step, step, step, in my tennis shoes - Everything comes together. Texts are exchanged, it was the same kid in the news. Step step step, He will be tried as an adult. Still late for grade team meeting.... step step step.
Friday afternoon. It's my prep period and I'm sitting quietly in the main office printing things to make copies and making a few updates to the gradebook. The ATR that has been at our school this week looks over my shoulder while I have my gradebook open and makes comments about the grades. Not only is this completely unnecessary, but he feels the need to educate me about "other" high schools in New York City. "You know, in other schools teachers have it much more rough than you."
You can read more of the story about the "Teenager charged with killing NY bus rider who was not target" here.