Wednesday, February 01, 2012

She May Be A Woman Of The World

In she walked. All 15 years, going on 50. Short, plump, mouthy, speaking Spanish when English would have been easier for her and desperately needing a safe haven. Donny was excited to see her and could not help starting a teenage flirting ritual. This was not lost on her. With poorly developed "adult wiles" she flirted right back. If only you could have seen the drama play itself out, until I became the bad guy by asking them to move apart.

Chantell had no idea the extent of my knowledge about her recent past. Donny only knew that he had again discovered the love (lust) of his life. To bad I am a large presence between him and his immediate future.

I am just a lowly SPED teacher, but not without some connections. Chantell had ran away about a year ago. Running to greater downtown New Jersey and her boozing mother. She actually made it by bus to New York Port Authority. A "kindly" man offered her assistance. Before she realized the dire straights she was in, she found herself in Mississippi working in the oldest profession. Modern slavery in America was alive and not so well. By the time she was rescued by the F.B.I., her father had gone broke trying to find her, had lost his job, and her mother did not leave New Jersey.

Chantell still had to face at least two courtrooms to testify. As the court dates neared her acting out behaviors increased. She frequently spent long school days hiding in my classroom. Each time she whined, cried, and searched for sympathy. Her number one complaint was how "everyone" thinks she is a whore. Each time I attempted to counsel her about why her peers may have such thoughts.

"Chan, if you spend your time with them telling how you use to prostitute and how much you loved it, well, they may get the wrong idea."

"They don't have to talk bad about me. I don't need their shit!"

This behavior continued until the end of the school year. It was a toss-up which of us had the longest three months? In all honesty, her three months made mine pale in comparison.

New school year, same portable classroom, mostly the same students, and in came Chantell. Somehow, she survived the summer break, did not run off to New Jersey again, still spoke the worse Spanish I have ever heard, her father had a new job, they had a new apartment, and she is a junior.

Most importantly, she found religion. It is clear she was making all effort to live a completely different life then last year. She rarely mentions how much she wants to be with her mother. Also, she now sees her father differently.

Most importantly she smiled on the first day of school!