It was fine, of course, all fine. Bells ringing and students moving in and out of my classroom. The days pass this way and sometimes at the end of the week I can’t remember what we did two days ago. They are marvels, these students of mine: people in progress, suffering a pace of growth and development that they will never see again and cannot remotely understand now. They sit at their desks and in their laps hold personalities and perspectives and histories that would be unwieldy for even a seasoned adult, and I am trying to impress upon them the importance of a well-developed paragraph. Striving we are always, aren’t we?
Yes, need awakens me in the mornings and follows me all through the day. This one’s need and that one’s need and now I need to go to a meeting. Need follows need until the last class of the day and then I just need to stay a little longer in case a student needs me, and then I may go home.
I found a bit of home when I picked up my children, and some more of home when, after driving home over familiar roads, I pulled into our driveway. But I wouldn’t be all the way home until Bill got home, until I’d listened to this song, until after (so briefly) I’d buried my face for just a moment in the carpet of my bedroom floor (Our Father, who art in heaven)– and even then (some days are more like this than others, right?) I know today at the end of the day that although I am surrounded by home, I am not quite At Home yet.
Sunset view from the train
across these Irish plains
I’m rolling like the songs that are in my head
Portadown station and another hotel bed.
We pass through another town
the people swell in and out
I search the crowd for a face that I know
A thousand tales of a thousand years long ago
Looking for something real
matches, knives and steel
with open wide eyes the sun goes dark
You can’t touch or feel a broken heart
So drain the light from the sky
and drain these tears from my eyes
I’m waiting like the shadows stretching thin
Could you hide me here til the morning comes again?
So get on board and get that last train out
I hear your voice in my head
But I miss the sound
Here at the station, outside Portadown.
— Sandra McCracken, “Portadown Station,” Gravity/Love