Saturday, September 24, 2016

Best day ever in the classroom..well, sort of, and broken up by 21 years

Posted on my sometimes-updated blog as well--thanks @jheil65 for reminding to post again.

Michelle and Dustin were in my 12th grade English class in 1995, and they fell in love.  Michelle was a witty and creative soul who had overcome spinal cancer in fourth grade--Dustin was never without a smile on his face, and loved to engage in philosophical discussions that were rather loosely connected to our literature. In other words, they were perfect for each other.  

Soon after prom that year, Michelle missed a few days and Dustin told me that she was having some tests done.  The bad news hit our class like a brick to the skull, and our worst fears were realized as her cancer had come back.

At Michelle’s funeral the next year, Dustin and I embraced for minutes.  We cried, as even now I fight back the tears.  That was the last time I saw Dustin until…

Twenty one years later, I brought by six-year-old daughter to ballet and noticed a man looking at me, then glancing quickly away.  After a few minutes it came to me.  “Dustin?”

Bridget McKenzie, Ballet

We both rose, he much bigger now, a paramedic and firefighter, and me bigger as well, but in a different way that I am less proud of.  We embraced again for longer than the dance moms watching would call a comfortable time.  Tears came again.

He said he still journalled every day because of me, that his own kids--one graduating from high school last spring--would read them and writing was a central part of their days as well.  He said he never forgot our discussions and that he told his kids about my class on a regular basis.  

There were many more questions and answers between us, and we spoke about Michelle who he said will always be a part of him.
She’s a part of me as well.

My best day ever grew out of the worst ever.

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