She had a small mediocre tattoo of a cross on her right wrist. She smiled when she gave me the receipt.

I forgot to punch the green key and it had detained her. I’m sorry I said. Don’t be she said.

I thought she would have small breasts; she was skinny and very tall.

I felt bad about leaving her; I would have liked to impart a kind word. I missed her and criticized myself for it.

I didn’t feel ashamed. The last employee I had talked to at Fred Meyer was a lanky tall black boy in his late teens. He had thick wrists. He was forward about his background. He spoke about his mother he had to answer to and his hometown Chicago they had left for Portland. His black eyes sounded like static on the radio. I had felt like crying.

The kindergarten teacher has a mouth that pulls down her face. Her nose is straight

and does bend when she speaks; her hands often obstruct the downward movement. The force of her instruction is seen in the contortion of nose and mouth. I would have to say that the rest of her is ordinary. She cuts her nails short like a man’s. She has a weakness for footwear that the parents exploit; she will receive winter boots. She mentioned that she attends staff meetings. She hasn’t been present at any of the PTA meetings. I thought of her and her colleagues addressing our concerns about recklessness in the school playground and I felt that nothing could be done about it. Life is chaotic. Children aren’t meant to be subjected to prescribed play. Their recess is layered with rules of their own making. When a child doesn’t want to be chased any longer and the children aren’t aware of it chaos ensues.

photo courtesy of Paulus Kapteynhttp://www.pauluskapteyn.com/index.htmlshapeimage_2_link_0

Paulus Kapteyn is a writer who resides in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Lungful, Lit Mag, Slingshot, and Speech Bubble. Visit him at www.pauluskapteyn.com.