new girl at preschool today. samantha. she has actually been there since monday, but today i got to know her. she was sharpening pencils in the art studio, i passed by and mentioned to another girl (surprisingly also named samantha) that i was going to the kitchen. new samantha says "kitchen? theres a kitchen david?" (its always cool when someone learns your name without you knowing it)...anyway, she came along, we rocked it in the kitchen for a while, talked about fireworks, a bond was made.
so later, out in the playground, some of the kids are hot dogging a little on the monkey bars. "watch me, david", etc. so new samantha wants to show me a move, but her hands slip, and she falls off, landing not too badly on her bottom, but then she falls back and hits the small of her back, hard, on one of the unforgiving wooden support pillars. she starts with a smile, how silly too fall, but as the realization of pain sets in, her face contorts, and she begins to cry. so i go to her, im sitting in the sand right in front of her, and she crawls towards me a little so that she can rest her head in my lap. i put my hand on her arm, ask her where it hurts, check out her back (its fine), and then just try to be really super present with her. she answers "where does it hurt" by pointing, but after that she is silent and hidden- her face buried in my lap, her one hand over her eye, the other over her ear. shut down, invisible. after a little bit of this, i start to wonder if shes actually unresponsive, like shes gotten some weird spinal damage or something, but shes moving ever now and then, just small little adjustments, so im pretty sure shes ok and shes just taking a while to process. so i shut up, and just stare at her, rest my hand on her, bring my face close to her head, and try to be still with her. this goes on for ten minutes. at least. i can hear other teachers asking what happened, they are explaining it to each other, but i am only with samantha. and i become so aware of this life in my hands. this complex system of cells and souls pulsing under me, im trying to imagine the ghost thought images that must be in her mind, and the fear and wonder of being so new to the world...i start to space out a little, the sounds of the playground are gone, and i just see her beautiful head, and i can feel her beautiful skin. i start to feel that unreal feeling again, this wonderful ecsatic terropr i get now and again when the world around me loses substance and seems to be absurd and paper thin..i have to break the spell. i start to try to get her to talk again, but its still not time...and im afraid that talking more will betray her, ruin this holy moment...so im still again.
i move my finger to the sand and draw a circle, and continue drawing circles, twirling my finger around so that the sand underneath is ever shifting, valleys and mountains in miniature being created and destroyed in seconds. slowly her hand moves and joins mine. and then we are both watching sand, watching it move, and she is pouring sand into my hand and i am letting it slip through my fingers slowly, and the sand feels wonderfully cool, and we improvise this amazing sand duet together, burying hands and arms, reemerging, slow motion sand chases, unwrapping, secrets, each finger a creature, a beautiuful silent film tinted to match the color of shaded sand. another ten minutes, easy. i am mesmerized by this sand, the complex interactions of each grain, the whole that they create, this beautifully asymmetric system...the unique imperfections of each grain and each movement. our fingers touch here and there. we are loving it, we are there together, loving it.
she looks up at last and sees a pair of shoes hanging from the monkey bars. she turns and asks me, "whose shoes are those?" i tell her, theyre koryna's. "theyre cute" she says.