Her words shocked everyone in the classroom, including me, but with Mckayla, I was used to shock. The week before, she said she beat up a police officer, and her shaved head and huge arms made the story believable. Nevertheless, I waited with an open hand for her phone.
There are only a few rules I have in class, and one of them is absolutely no cell phones. When I saw Mckayla using hers, I knew taking it would be a battle. As soon as I tried, she started shouting about needing to text her stabbed mom.
She glared at me like Smog defending her precious gold from Bilbo. A fire crackled inside her, and from the scowl on her face, I could tell she wanted to roast me like a marshmallow.
“Did anyone hear me?” she roared. “My mom was stabbed.” And the flames poured out.
My lesson plan that day didn’t include having a battle with a fire-breathing student. What’s really sad is there’s a side of McKayla that loves people. Giving makes her happy, but with the storms in her life, that giving rarely shows up, so her classmates and I usually get Smog.
“Let’s go across the hall, Mckayla,” I said, taking a deep breath. “Grab your stuff.” Amazingly, she agreed, and the class watched us leave.
“How’s your mom doing?” I asked. I tried sounding concerned, but I knew she was lying, and a phone call later confirmed it. She said her mom was out of the hospital, but she wanted to make sure she was okay. I nodded, patted her on the back, and left her to cool down.
“I’ve got a little gift for you!” I shouted, walking back into the classroom.