A Woman and Her Job
April 13, 2014
Apr 13, 2014
A woman takes a subway to its end, then a bus to the last stop. She walks four blocks to her job, teaching English at a preschool for the children of diplomats from China, Belgium, Korea, Finland. The woman is almost a child herself. At lunchtime she cooks macaroni for them. Cuts up cucumbers. Afterwards they all walk down to the water to see the geese, because they love to see the geese. They point and call the geese by the names they know for them, and the woman says geese, goose, gander, egg, water, geese, geese. Some of the children pick up one of these words and throw it at the lake like a stone. Later, on the lawn in front of the school, she teaches them ring around the rosy. They all love spinning in a circle as fast as they can. They all love they all fall down. Now the children start to say the words along with her, not knowing what they mean. Pocket full of posy. Ring around the rosy. The woman thinks, after today they will always know this song, but they won’t know why, won’t know it’s because of me. Just like she’s forgotten why or who. The littlest one, the one who knows the least, loves falling the most. Springtime is here now in the far north. Green green grass. The woman will know these children a few weeks more, and then she’ll find another job. These children will live in this country a year or two more, and then they’ll move somewhere else. This is what it is to live a modern life, thinks the woman, who is barely a woman, carrying things around everywhere and not knowing why or where they came from. The sun shines. Springtime has come now in the far north. The woman can’t seem to find the connections between anything. The parents start to come and pick up their children one by one. Little backpacks are put on little backs. A brief word or two is exchanged in the perfect English of the parents and in her Midwestern English. The children chatter, so relieved to be understood. After the last child goes home, she walks to the bus. Only immigrants ride the bus in this expensive suburb, she thinks, looking around at the other immigrants on the bus. She rides to the subway. She rides the subway to her stop. She walks three blocks to her apartment. She unlocks the door and goes inside and opens all the windows. Springtime has come to the far north. When will the man she loves come home from the office? She climbs out the window into a garden. Her cat runs back and forth in ecstasy, chasing something she can’t see. She reads a fat book by a Russian, while drinking something sweet. She keeps rereading the same sentence over and over again. At some point soon, the woman will finish reading this book, and she’ll think about it all summer, talk about it all summer, often to people who aren’t interested at all. At a party, just before she gets too drunk, she’ll experience a profound insight because of it, and tell it to the woman sitting next to her. But all she’ll remember later is that that woman didn’t consider herself a feminist. She will feel the borders of herself constricting. Not today. Springtime has come to the far north. Bloom and bloom and bloom.
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April 13, 2014