Another day, another school, another chance to make a difference, closer to home this time… Being back at Butler, seeing Brian’s friends, knowing he roamed these halls was bittersweet... How Grace stands it on a daily basis, I don’t know, but I suppose like everyone else, she does what she must….
While I’ve been in front of nearly twenty classes now, returning to our ‘home’ school made me more emotional and nervous than usual. As I walked into the trailer behind the main building, my heart was pounding. I wasn’t sure if I could pull this one off; Brian had actually been in this very room as a freshman, taking health with Coach Hales…
Jerry could tell I was antsy; I sat down for a moment to collect my thoughts and utter one last prayer. I stood up, slid his phone into my jeans and stepped to the front to wait for Jerry’s prompt.
Only after she said my name did I realize I left my outline at the back of the room. I always have it close at hand as a quick reference in case I lose it… Too late. Showtime.
Things went along fine…until I pulled Brian’s phone out. I flipped it open and briefly held it up for the students to see. As I flipped it closed again, the screen flashed… I stumbled over my next few words, and stopped speaking entirely for a moment when I saw the phone had turned on by itself. I quickly put it on the table behind me and forced myself to focus on the task at hand.
When I finished, I grabbed the phone, showed it to Skip, then Jerry, and walked outside. It wasn’t a hallucination. The tiny screen showed a picture of him and Sunny, and across the top, it read “I love Peaches”.
Beth and Grace think it the whole episode was weird and don’t want to talk about it; John believes I somehow managed to turn it on with my butt-cheek. Which is even more bizarre, since I really don’t have one to speak of, and my jeans are at least one size too big.
I am convinced it was Brian, messing with me, just like he used to. This never happened before; I always put it in my left back pocket, I always wear the same jeans. What are the chances: Brian’s phone spontaneously comes on while I’m telling his story at his school in front of his former teacher (for the first time) in his old classroom? Without my notepad within easy reach to save me from myself?
It’s just the sort of thing he would do to get a rise out of me…or to say hello in a way I couldn’t deny…
I don’t care what anyone else thinks. I know it was him. There are signs all around us, if only we choose to see them…and believe…
Wishing you sunshine and always, hope…tg
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