Classroom Visitor

Kimberly Yates had never heard a man try to say his own name as his lungs filled with blood. But she’d never forget the sound, either.

The sound seemed more appropriate to an alley way covered in standing piss, the way it would bounce of chipped brick and rusted fire escapes before disappearing polluting the air harmlessly. It was less appropriate to the wooden floorboards of her classroom, where the limp and gurgling sounds would be absorbed into the desks and art projects displayed on the wall. Even a third-grader like me knows that, she thought to herself.

She stood above the man, still trying to say his name it seemed, as he reached out to her. If he wanted, he could have lunged and grabbed her, he could have bent slightly to the side and taken a hold of her tiny ankle with his great big hand. But the way he struggled to turn his breath into words, she knew there would not be strength to exert that bit of effort. Even a third-grader like me knows that.

Kimberly did not know the man, accept to recognize she’d seen him outside the school grounds when parents were picking up the children. It had seemed apparent that he was too old to be a parent, but not old enough to be a grandparent. She’d never seen any child actually go to him.

He’d barely stood out to her at all before this moment and even now the most spectacular thing about his appearance was the gold letter opener. The gold letter opener she’d seen so many times on Ms. Charley’s desk, that she always seemed to hold with such a faint grip. The gold letter open that had been pushed so far into the man’s chest, there was hardly enough room on the handle left for Ms. Charley’s hand were she here.

Like a child blowing bubbles softly into her milk, hoping her parents would not notice, the sound from his throat continued to fail to turn into anything as they passed the moving lips.

Kimberly had come only to ask Mr. Charley a question when she noticed the man laying in front of the desk. Now she couldn’t remember the question. In fact, she couldn’t remember if she’d seen anyone else in the hallways as she made her way to the classroom. She couldn’t remember if she’d noticed anyone else in the classroom when she entered.

And at this point she was too afraid to look.

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