Consolidated Memories 2: My Principal Failed Us.
Me and several of my former peers were in a virgin landscape, lush and open, until you get to the cliff up ahead. It went something like this:
(more landscape below but unseen)Waterfall….Open Landscape……………………..CLIFF.
My peers and I trekked across and when we came to the cliff, rather than cowering with the sense of failure and impossibility, we readied our ropes, and anchored ourselves. One of my peers, Travis*, a tall heavy kid who had to struggle against scrutiny and mistreatment more than most, used his bare hands. We climbed a considerable amount of time. It was hard, but we paced ourselves in our own way, and called out to one another for help when needed. We reached the top and we were very tired. It was agreed that we would take a break and then go forth to explore the untouched jungle ahead, together and the best we could.
That is when my principal appeared. She walked up to us, yelling, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?! WHO TOLD YOU YOU COULD BE UP HERE?” She was trembling with anger as she sometimes would in my waking life. “Who do you think you are? You need to GET back down there. She inched forward toward us and we began to back away. “What are you waiting for?” “And what about this boy,” she said, referring to Travis, “he really needs to get down!” My peers and I hurried our climbing ropes, but she kept coming forward as if we were not moving fast enough. Travis kept backing away, and by the time we were ready to climb down, he slipped. “OH NO!” My principal yelled with anger, “Look at him ahhh….GOD!” Travis fell more and 100 feet to his death, appearing to break like a legoman with oil for blood, he bounced up another 30 feet and landed again.
“GET DOWN NOW, ALL OF YOU! AND GO BACK TO WHERE YOU CAME! NOW!” Her anger was more of a look at the mess I have to clean up, sort of thing. I was scared the I would fall, but I raced down safely with the others and we sped across the landscape. When we got the the waterfall we could see her in the distance urging us to go on. The waterfall turned into a safe and harmless waterslide and as we slid I could see my former 8th grade English teacher/works at my high school teacher, staring at us as we came down. He was standing in a waterslide, but he wasn’t even phased by the water rushing against him. He just bucked out his chest, like a beast. Even from the slide’s initial height of 20 feet he was large and menacing. I don’t know what his part of the dream signifies, but I felt overwhelmingly sad, almost if to say, “This is what I have to return to.”
Travis, in my waking life, had many troubles. His father, dead. He was very tall and very heavy, and was constantly picked on. In defense he became blunt and harsh towards most people. His grades were awful, because he just didn’t care. He was always on the “academic probation” that my brother will soon bear. At student assemblies the principal always made a point to question him, to put him and other people with low grades, on display. Travis had trouble paying attention, and always had to ask the same thing twice, or ask a “stupid” question. In response we’d all groan, not this idiot again. he was even kicked out once when he couldn’t boost his grades up. He tried hard at his other school and managed to get back in.
Near the end of the school year, most of the student body was ditching class. Especially the seniors. We knew it didn’t matter, and we were tired of the same old games, doing work just for a grade, and listening to incompetent teachers. One day, Travis, Travis’s girlfriend, my friend, and others, were in the science/??? lab, hanging out. The principal entered and went into a fit. She’d seen many of us hanging out in there before, MORE often than Travis, only to say softly, “You need to have a teacher in here.” This time she kicked everyone out and then told Travis that he could not participate in the graduation ceremony.
What did he really do – I don’t know. But what I do know and remember is that my principal is extremely egotistical and disrespectful. She’ll yell at students just for disagreeing with her, and she only wants us to behave for the sake over her overlords, members of the school district. She wanted dancers to perform for the city, not for their resumes or experience, but for her own recognition. She acts first and questions later, and we were all forced to hug her on graduation day.
She’s not all bad. When I saw her granddaughter run into her arms I thought, wow she has genuine kindness. When she gives a kid and ride home after an event, that is nice. She has a nice smile. Other than that most of the students either feared her, or sucked up to her. Even the teachers are at her mercy. I don’t understand it.