Archive for October, 2010

Lewis

11 years have passed since I wrote this…a dedication to a scrap book made in memory of a student who died in a horrible house fire. I now have Lewis’ niece at school and her face is his face. I often wonder what life would have held for this troubled boy that touched my heart for so many years.

>>> How do I reflect on the past years? I have written much about Lewis Walden over the last several months, most of it private, personal thoughts. Now, to sit and write more, something for others to read seems an insurmountable task. Then again, not so long ago I had thought that going on with life as I once knew it seemed impossible as well. Everyone had so much to say after the tragic death our young lad – the boy knew everyone in town and all knew him. He made himself known to each new person who moved into town, showing up on his bike to welcome and introduce himself. But out of all those people who had met him, how many really knew him? Many warned, “Watch out. That kid’s trouble.” How many knew that underneath that tough-boy facade lay the heart of a cream puff; the soul of a knight in shining armor; or the love and devotion of a fairy tale prince? Many know it now, or perhaps assume it after his gallant and foolish last act of returning into a house engulfed in flames. However, I feel privileged to have known all this about my Lewis before he disappeared from my life.

Never a day went by over the last few years that I did not have Lewis in my life in one manner or another. I had the good fortune to have experienced first hand this scamp and his acrimonious scowl melt into the giggling cream puff that my class and I loved so well. No better place existed than on the receiving end of his knighthood, even for so little a thing as fixing my pencil sharpener or tending to my plants. And certainly no place could compete with the love and devotion that I received from this child who thought he had nothing to his name to give to anyone. Oh, but he did give. Once someone got into this boy’s heart, he gave of it with all that he knew. Lewis knew that he demanded a lot of a person and those willing to give to him; he let into his heart and would bestow on him or her all that he could.

I have too many memories to share; memories that seem minute. Many are the same as everyone else’s. Lewis riding his bike well after school let out; Lewis helping with anything that needed to be done even after school; Lewis saying a friendly hello to everyone and knowing everyone’s name. One that I hold in my head is his voice when he would call me at night. His soft-spoken tone exuded gentleness, and somehow he became more eloquent on the phone, something I wished he would share during school hours. I wish I could share all my memories. I wish for all the gold in the world that I saved all the messages that he left me on my answering machine in the evenings as I would come from work at the YMCA, hit the play button as I settled in and heard the whispering voice of my dedicated child, “Hi, Mrs. Fiore, it’s me, Lewis…” How precious the sound of those words would be to me right now.

It is no secret that I loved this child; that having to refer to him in the past tense hurts beyond description. It is no secret that I love all my students with perhaps too immense a commitment. I do admit that the temptation to no longer love these little souls that pass through my life in such a manner reared its ugly head. But the needs, hearts, and smiling faces of my students soon abolished all of those temptations.

We have discovered very few treasures over the last few months: a neat and orderly desk, some pieces of art, some schoolwork. But they are not enough to heal the wound that his absence has left. We hope that some of what we offer in this scrapbook can help to fill in the immense loss that we all feel, but especially for those who lived with him and lost so much of what would have been left behind had not everything vanished.

Wendy Fiore – 1999

Outwitted

He drew a circle that shut me out~
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had wit to win;
We drew a circle that took him in.

Edwin Markham

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Darkness

The peace of darkness
– the quiet it brings.
The hush in the hallways
– a stillness sings.
To some it evokes terror
– an unknown evil waiting to pounce.
To others it releases a mischievous imp,
ready to trounce.

I don’t mind the darkness in the middle of the day
Welcoming the absence of bright florescence always imposing its way.
My breath slows and steadies
My heart rate relaxes
Escaping – for a moment – the task masters’ axes.

But change the context of the dark,
the absence of light so “blaringly” stark.
Then I don’t feel the peace as my heart rate quickens
Any strange noise makes me want to run like the Dickens!

So for now I will sit without the purr and the hum
of electricity reminding me of all that needs to be done.

For now I will sit with faint light from the window
and emulate poor Scarlet and not think about it

‘til tomorrow!

Wendy Fiore, 2010