You’re Pretty When You Weep
I see you walking towards my desk with your mascara already starting to run. It was a difficult night with the homework, I know, and you want to have a little “chat” with me. At least this is an improvement over the whining and yelling I’ve seen from you already…
And so you proceed to explain that the problem set was just so impossible and it took you a whole hour to get through the first half. And it made your life last night so difficult because you had swimming practice for two hours and there just wasn’t enough time to get everything done. Your mascara is history by now, but you don’t seem to care. And neither do I.
You’re pretty when you weep.
And so I calmly remind you that the problem set had been assigned a week earlier, and you suddenly stop crying. It’s such a shame because you’re not as adorable when you’re angry. I remain emotionless and ask what prevented you from doing the problem set earlier in the week. I guess you realized that you had lost control of your charade because your eyes conveniently start welling up again. I never did get an answer to my question, but your tears make my heart sing.
And so I do what any responsible teacher would do: I offer to make an appointment with you to review the material so the second half will be easier. You finally realize that your little act isn’t working and you just sigh and say “yeah.” I don’t know if you’ll really show up for any appointment we make, but you’ve figured out that I’m not going to let you get out of the assignment. And so you give up and walk away. You finally realize that I’m not stupid, or maybe you just think I’m too stupid to realize how dumb the problem set is.
And then I almost start to feel bad for you. Almost. I was a little tough on you as you were crying in front of me. Have I become too jaded to be a compassionate presence for my student? But by now you are walking out and you close the door behind you. In the hall, your friend is waiting and you forget that there is a nice large window I can look through. The door closes and I can see your facial expression shift immediately as you say to your friend, “It didn’t work.”
You’re pretty when you weep because it’s the only time you look human.