Serendipity

There have been a lot of kids over the past 30-some years.  A lot.  Some remember you. Some you remember. Some fondly.  Some not.

This one was special.  He was a person with high-functioning autism.  In trouble.  A lot.  Somehow he glommed onto me.  They kept him in French because he, somehow, behaved for me.  Not that he learned any French.  I was his ‘hot pass’ person.  He moved on.  Dropped out of high school.  Lots of trouble.  But he still kept coming back and visiting.  I knew his grandma, his mom, his little brother.  He kept getting taller and getting more tattoos.  Tried this and that.  Finally got a GED.

Well, Friday was my last day teaching.  I   was faking it for the kids.  I didn’t want to go through any explanations or good-byes.  So I was standing in the hallway, watching the kids and there he was.  Tall and tattooed.  He has a wife, a child, a job.

I wonder what the kids thought, seeing me hugging this grown-up kid.  On my worst day, my last day, there was grace and redemption, if I can use those terms.  No matter how much I felt I was quitting, giving up, a failure…there he was, letting me know that my being there for him all those years ago had made a difference.

We can’t save them all.  We can’t help them all.  But there are some you remember. And some that remember you..

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