Something Fishy - Kate Bueler

Something fishy. Something fishy was going on. I knew that. For sure. As I rode my bike my feet pressed into the pedals flexing my legs for a moment of tension then release then repeat. As I rode up to school. I knew something was off. There were two cop cars parked outside. There usually we only have one. One cop here. So as I locked my bike. I tried to push the thought back, far back as to forget, and instead focused on opening the doors again after a long break. The kids I have missed. The work that needed to be done. The cars faded away in the background as the movement of my heart from the ride took over. And I went about my day. Or my morning. With the welcoming back and the good to see you and teenagers that maybe someone might be scared of but you aren’t reaching out to hug you and say I thought you weren’t coming back probably code for I miss you not spoken in words but felt nonetheless.

And as I walked in between classes. I saw the belonging parties to the cars. Didn’t recognize either not our cop. And as I walk down our long corridor cold pavement blasts into my face so cold I have to wear my coat inside. I realize the two cops I am following have picked up their pace and make eyes together and readjust their radios. I’m following two cops on the way to do something. The pursuit in the middle of school. In the middle of this school. Then I turn and they continue on their way to the yard. Back I see them now running. Middle of school two cops running around the halls. Not fishy. At all. Students ask me what’s going on because how could you not see that. Miss that one. Normal maybe someone might believe in a public school but its not. And that’s that until.

Until I found out why. Why they were here. And what they were looking for. Because I know the realities of this school. I know that. I know that there has been mace fights (two) and sometimes the students when searched have box cutters. That was hard enough for me to stomach. I went out some sort of personal tirade on the in and outside. But the presence of a gun. A gun from someone who came here just to shot one of our students. The thought of it is more than I can take. On any day. Ever. So I do what I can to not think about it. Because if I do I will fall upon my knees in the fetal. And never get up. Being strong. Is part of this job. Denial might be too.

The details come in. Slowly sporadically and shockingly. Upon the radio of this telephone game of high school. And as I walk across the hall. Hall to the main office. I see the student. The student. The student who was the intended target. I see him as he sits upon the chair. Leaning down his legs open. Sitting quietly. Happiness I feel for him just sitting. There. And for once I don’t know what to say. Say. I look at him. So he knows I see him. Really sees him on that chair. That chair. Breathing in and out. And I look at him and with no words ask him if he is okay. He nods slowly. Cautiously. As if we can ever be okay.