Columbine Essay

Columbine Essay-35
"A lot less than a second." "Like an eye blink," he said. I leave only when I'm sure this man has said hello, when he's used my son's name — Gus — to welcome him in. Just before climbing out, he showed his cards, asking his real question, the thing he's worried about. " "I don't think so." I shook my head, pursed my lips as if it were a reasonable proposition, and said, "No. When I gave him the one-dollar bill, he was too crushed to say thank you. Now another robot was riding the hawk, beating it on the head, taunting the hawk as it careened downward. "I think a snap might be longer." "You can't measure a snap," he said. I watch until he passes the principal, who waits at the doors every day, greeting each child by name, drinking his coffee from one of those massive mugs you see nowadays. "Oh, man," he said, "I haven't eaten in a long time," and the gauntness in his eyes told me he wasn't lying. As I walked, I thought about how I'd graduated from a public high school without knowing where to put an apostrophe. I wondered if my son would pay attention in a public school.

"A lot less than a second." "Like an eye blink," he said. I leave only when I'm sure this man has said hello, when he's used my son's name — Gus — to welcome him in. Just before climbing out, he showed his cards, asking his real question, the thing he's worried about. " "I don't think so." I shook my head, pursed my lips as if it were a reasonable proposition, and said, "No. When I gave him the one-dollar bill, he was too crushed to say thank you. Now another robot was riding the hawk, beating it on the head, taunting the hawk as it careened downward. "I think a snap might be longer." "You can't measure a snap," he said. I watch until he passes the principal, who waits at the doors every day, greeting each child by name, drinking his coffee from one of those massive mugs you see nowadays. "Oh, man," he said, "I haven't eaten in a long time," and the gauntness in his eyes told me he wasn't lying. As I walked, I thought about how I'd graduated from a public high school without knowing where to put an apostrophe. I wondered if my son would pay attention in a public school.

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The building was a school, I could see, and then I could really see, everything thrust forward all at once, in a light I can only think of now as bronze and absolute. And for one moment, for however many countless slices of a second it took, I had this thought: I know those bricks. There were letters at the bottom of the screen, smaller pieces of the story, telling me things, large things. Hell with it, I told myself — you teach him where to put his apostrophes.

Then I noticed that the screen had an unusual clearness, and the building was too new, and there was a huge parking lot of the sort you'd never see in Kosovo, certainly not nestled next to a blossom of three baseball fields. We leave our children there in the face of all we know about things, in the face of all the things they will learn there. and a lot of other things that didn't make me feel too good about today's registration.

I stood in the mosh pit for fifteen seconds before mercy grabbed me and bounced me out. But how's a girl from China going to do in a high school around here, in the beautiful countryside within radio range of West Virginia? Would she be one of the kids under the desks, one of the kids shivering with fear when the berserk kids come in? Birds twitter, and sunlight filters softly through the new spring leaves. I tug on the chain of memory and heaving up from the past comes a corpse. For Johnny Tremain and tricornered caps and the Lost Colony of Virginia, I could give a crap. Everybody has a hard-on like the Washington Monument and nobody's getting any and we're on a dark train, chucka-chucka-chucka, whoo-ooo-wooo! So somebody snatches the seat cloth from behind John's head (supposed to absorb hair oil or something) and starts tossing it around. Ten years I'd worked my way around the world — from the Amazon to the North Pole — with chump change in my pocket. And it was my public-school education that had made me so adaptable.

It reminds me of a Metallica concert I went to because I needed the education. Blue line in square window means no, blue line plus pink line in round window means yes. Beauty and peace, grace of just being alive and idle — these things occasion the brief struggle with the chain. I remembered sleeping on the floor of the train station there while roaming with a pack on my back.

The radio that so annoyingly only gets West Virginia. I go into the other room to put on the TV, because three minutes is a long time to wait, and you'll see a pink line in anything if you look hard enough at it. Because I am not going to be one of these people who say, These-kids-today. I am going to remember what it was like to be that age if it kills me. Because I think I owe it to my ovaries to give them one good fighting chance. Because I am not going to be one of these people who have to do the Big Creation thing at all costs, skipping as if without doubt between the lines of creation and destruction, making embryos, freezing embryos, examining embryos under a microscope, saying, This one looks good, this one looks like a smart one, this one looks weird, throw it out. As I walked to the class, the eleven glasses of wine I'd tasted plus the '90 and '85 vintages that accompanied the meal made me very philosophical, or jumbled my thoughts — it's impossible to know.

By JEANNE MARIE LASKAS I'm taking a pregnancy test, peeing on a stick. On the radio propped above the shower, they are saying there is news from a Denver suburb. I sat there desperately trying to remember it from when I was that age. I said I would do this fertility-treatment thing once, only once. I wished I had paid attention in school so that I could have spoken French to him. When I explained to him that I knew nothing about wine and was trying to learn from scratch, he immediately warmed. "Because in France, everyone thinks they are experts, and they know nothing." We made plans to meet for dinner that evening after my wine class at Windows on the World.

For the first time, I spit out a wine — because I could tell what it tasted like without swallowing. They all talked, and I paid attention to every word.

When class ended, it was time to eat and drink with the Bordeaux winemaker. When Kevin asked the Frenchman to name the best vintage served at the tasting, Marcel named the exact wine I'd chosen without knowing a thing.

I peeled off my clothes, lay down, and thought about my son.

Don't worry, I told myself, you'll know what's best. By TOM JUNOD The idea of losing a day bugged me from the start. I didn't understand how I could board a plane in New York City on April 19, 1999, and step onto the runway in Sydney, Australia, on April 21, 1999, without having to experience — to even pass through — April 20. Sure, I knew that I was basically flying far enough around the world to kiss the sun's ass as it fled before me, but still...

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