10:09 p.m. - September 29, 2003
A brief homecoming, guilt tempered by nostalgia, a reminder of what was once and won't be twice
Returned to Young Life tonight and it was a brief homecoming I'll carry with me for a while as a buffer against lonely nights and bothersome dreams. In my life, people rarely run up to me, hug me, tell me I've been missed because you know - I don't need anyone. My - possessiveness, indulgence, nostalgia - high schoolers were different, and with them felt obligated to lower defenses, to truly care for them, and kids know when adults care. The stoners, the jocks, the nerds, the average, the bright - I never lost a student and while my classroom wasn't Lake Woebegon-perfect, I was the teacher who had a two-year wait list, the one parents clamored for, the one other teachers asked What's your secret? and tonight when I entered the room, I was tackled to the floor by former students who were freshmen with me and are now seniors and it just felt good. You know, a fundamental operating belief is that I'm not good enough to achieve/maintain/deserve people and when I'm shown to be wrong times 10, it makes me wonder.
Everybody asked where I teach, why I left Young Life, whether I've moved away, whether I'll return. Ah, what to say? I lied, said I'm teaching in San Jose, said I may visit from time to time. How to say I'm not the role model I thought I was, how I can't even play the balance game where straight sex evened out gay sex because now - well, Spec and I talk about coming out and what that would be like. That nostalgia is tempered by the realization I've moved on despite my frequent thoughts that I'm only going in circles. A brief visit and I didn't cry until back into my car, not from sadness or dissatisfaction or imperfection, but because I remembered I was once a damn good teacher and the only barrier from returning to the classroom, to people, to being happy again, is me.
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