The World Stopped Turning

“Are you all set for tomorrow?”  Julie asked from across the lunch table.   One of the things I loved best about my schedule at work was that all of my coworkers, those that shared the same students that I taught, all had the same scheduled breaks throughout the day.  This set up was intended to allow us to plan together and discuss our students easily, and it worked amazingly well.  We were able to touch base on who had big projects due when so that we wouldn’t conflict with each other.  We could detect patterns in students who were acting up for all of us or just one of us (“He must just not like math”), and we could touch base with the special education teacher assigned to our team to garner any special insights or give her help in maximizing her time with our students.

In other words, my colleagues in the 8th grade wing and I spent much of our downtime together.  It made for easy, close bonds between us, since we all got along very well.  My colleagues, for example, had been ultimately helpful and supportive in starting up my Academic Games team here at our middle school.  They had encouraged me this year, in our second year of the program, to host one of the Saturday competitions.  It was a huge undertaking; I had to line up volunteers to open up the building, set up snack tables, designate areas for game play and student scoring.  Most of my friends on staff had volunteered to come in this Saturday, unpaid,  to help.

“I think so.  I keep going over, and over everything.  But everyone has a job, and I think all of the heavy lifting is done.  Honestly, I’ll probably be the only one not doing anything tomorrow, because I’ve spent so much time planning everything out and delegating that it probably will run itself.  This of course, does not meant hat I don’t reserve the right to freak out anyway.”  I laughed.

“You going to be OK?  I know you haven’t been feeling great with the pregnancy and all.”

It was true.  I had been pretty green around the gills the last few weeks, and tired.  Sometimes I would put my head down on my desk during my prep period and wake to find my students walking for class fifty minutes later.  I hadn’t mentioned my pregnancy yet to my students, but with my pants starting to get snug in the waist, I knew it was going to have to happen soon.   I was just shy of the twelve week mark, which was the point where I felt it was safe to start telling people outside of the family.

“You know, I have been feeling really good the last few days.  I think it’s the whole heading into the second trimester thing.”

Julie looked at me like I had two heads.  She hadn’t ever been pregnant and did not intend on doing so any time soon.  She didn’t know a lot about it.

“So,” I explained.  “At least for me, in my first pregnancy, I felt the worst in the beginning.  Pregnancy is divided into trimesters; first twelve weeks, second twelve weeks, third twelve weeks.  The first is generally where you feel your morning sickness, your breasts are sore and you’re tired all of the time.  I think it is because your body is producing a lot of hormones then.  And then it kind of passes around the end of that first chunk of time, and you start to feel better.  But then you get big, so then you feel that later on.  It’s really the middle part where you feel OK and you’re not huge.”

“Ah.  That explains why you’d rather move and relocate then rather than waiting till school is out.”  This was a sore spot with Julie.  She couldn’t understand at all why I wouldn’t finish out the school year.

“Yeah, it’s a big part of it.  But we also want Z to meet some kids before school is out for the summer, so he’ll know some people to play with then.”

She nodded and finished the last of her diet Coke.  “That makes sense.  Hey we better get moving, we’ve only got five minutes until class.”

I gathered up my things and made a beeline for the bathroom out of habit.  The bathroom was so far from my classroom that I went every free moment I had, because it was really too far to leave my students in the middle of a class period.

I looked down and saw what appeared to be dried blood on my underwear.

Suddenly, the world stopped.

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