When I pulled up to my house I saw my mother. She was in her denim shorts, a tank top, flip flops and, of course, she had a bandanna tied around her hair. She was watering the grass, the bushes, the flowers and trees. This was a sure sign that I had missed one great, sun-filled day.
My mom saw me, "Hi Honey," she was so happy and shiny, I imagined she must have been gardening in the backyard all day, "how was it?" All smiles.
"Well," I smiled back, "today I will say I got paid for that."
"Oh! You got a check already?"
That would have been nice. "No Mom, today is the first day I wouldn't have done this for free. Today is the first day it was a job. It was so sad and horrible. I know I am not supposed to, but if that school calls again, I think I am going to say no." I sat down on the front steps. I was exhausted by the mere thought of my day.
"Were the kids that bad?" Mom put the hose down in the grass and came over to me.
"It wasn't the kids. The kids were... Oh God, I didn't like that school." I had somehow made it through the day without allowing myself to feel this, "OK, here it is. I had Special Education classes all day. The kids and I got along and we got work done, but they were numb and I couldn't blame them - by the end of the day I was too. Mom, they had all the Special Ed classes in the basement. I had no idea the sun was even out until the day ended. How could they do that to those kids?"
I think I would have cried if my emotions weren't stunted from my day in the dungeons. There is a special kind of joy that comes from sunlight, from seeing the outside world. I could not conceive of the fact that I was deprived of it for one full school day. However, in the end, I still had my escape. These children, who, for one reason or another, had already been deemed as having difficulty with school, learning, or development were going back the next day and had been there all year.
"They had no windows?" my mother loved the sun and being outdoors no matter what the weather. (She once had me go sell school candy during a hurricane when the eye of the storm passed over. She said people would be desperate for something sweet, and it would be like an "adventure." She was right, on both counts.)
"They had one stupid small window like we do in our basement, but I think something was covering it, because it did not look sunny at all."
"And what school was this again?"
"No, Ma. I need to find a job at one of these schools in September." I could tell her wheels were spinning. She was planning a letter writing campaign, a furious phone call, or, perhaps, some visit to the next PTA meeting from a "concerned citizen."
"I guess you're right..." I could see a little fire go out in her eyes, "but you will not go back there! You say no the next time they call and do not give them your resume."
I had the folder in my hand, "I didn't. I couldn't."
"That's my girl," her fire reignited this time with pride, "they just lost their chance at best math teacher on Staten Island! Now go get changed, dinner will be in about a half hour."
I did exactly that. I grabbed some shorts, a t-shirt and, shoeless, I walked around the freshly watered grass. I was filled with glee, my mom had agreed with me: I would say, "No."
This post was written for a RemembeRED Prompt. This week's prompt is the photo of the hose in the grass. Here are the instructions:
In 700 or fewer words, show us where your memory takes you.
Remember that this image is merely inspiration. Your piece needn't have a hose in your piece, but we need to easily see how you were inspired by it.