Day One of Many

Day One of Many (March 2019, Week 1, Day 1)

“Everybody dies.”

Margaret ran through the scenarios she’d practiced before showing up. None of them prepared her for such a proclimation from a four year old. She filled up her lungs, tilted her head, and replied, “Yes, Francesca, they do.”

“I need more playdoh.”

It took Margaret three blinks to process that the pronouncement time was done and they were back to the typical classroom observations. “Right. Playdoh. I’ll see what I can find.” She got herself up from the floor with less grace than she wanted and turned to find her co-teacher watching with what could only be classified as amusement. Margaret straightend up, pulled her shoulders back, and managed to say, “where might I find more Playdoh for Francesca” without disolving into tears.

The older woman gave Margaret a smile and a pat on the arm. “Take a look in the closet to the right of my office. It might take you a bit to find the Playdoh but I’m sure it’s in there.” To Francesca, she said, “what should we do while we wait for Miss Simms?”

Margaret barely kept from running as she headed for the closet. This day was not turning out at all as she’d expected. Her favorite pair of pants had a large pink stain on them thanks to the breakfast she had to serve up to the group of children there for before-school care. She had a plastic bag full of her sweater that a child had vomited on almost immediatly after his mother had driven off. She kept having to ask questions after every interaction with the children which was making her think even they thought she was helpless, not to mention how she looked to the other staff members. 

She had just touched the handle to the closet when she felt a tug on her pant leg, just above where the stain had landed. The little boy she found attached to her had a name like Aubrey or Wilton – she kicked herself for not knowing which as she squatted down. “What you you need, friend?”

“I hafta go potties.”

“Right. Ok. Let’s-”

Margaret didn’t get to finish her sentence before the puddle started spreading towards her. She stood, transfixed, watching it grow while Aubrey Witon looked up at her with an expression of sweet relief.

“Anton, we need to get you cleaned up.” 

Margaret looked up from the art installation of piss and patent leather to see her co-teacher coming to her rescue, again. She opened her mouth to say something and realized after doing so that she was fully out of words. 

“Come with me, Anton. Miss Simms needs to tidy her shoes and find something for Francesca.” To Margaret, she said, “you’ll find paper towels in the closet, too,” before taking Anton by the hand and leading him away.

Margaret watched the little boy’s wet footprints for a moment before collecting herself enough to make a second go at the closet. She opened the door and stepped inside.

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