In history, Beverly is showing me a bruise on the inside of her arm, taps my shoulder each time our teacher turns to write on the board so that she can point out another one of its many features: yellowed edges, dead center, blue spots, red. That’s blood, she says, all of it, and the world goes on fighting for a few more minutes until our teacher, suddenly so bored with the War, turns
and writes FUCK IT on the board, pulls her mess of keys from the drawer of her desk, unchains one and lets it drop to the tile clink then walks down the aisle our desks make, to the door, looking no one in the face until she is out of the room, gone forever, and one of us has to buzz the office. Who knows? Who knows it will be Bev who will rise out of the silence, pull down her sleeve and take charge,
calling each of us to her: the stunned, the crying, the two boys who take the key to the window and throw the goddamn thing into the parking lot, the laughers, the cussing, the few who are taking advantage of this time, the few who are waiting dumbstruck at the door for some order, anything, even if it’s simply for that woman to come back, to continue the lesson, the nervous, the unchanged, the seemingly unchanged, the changed,
those who will die young, those who will go on in this world to the eighth grade, to graduate, to investigate their interests, to exploit their potential, to buy and sell, to have babies, to make payments, to settle in. When she pushes the button the secretary will say, Yes? from a thousand miles away and Beverly will say, Something violent has happened here, she among us understanding this is the way the violent get you: not by coming for you, but by leaving you behind.