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  • I arrive at school just before 6. It is still dark. The garden service man with the leaf blower is doing his level best to make us popular with the neighbours. The last buses to leave are warming up before setting out on their runs. Elizabeth has the coffee started. Besides the leaf blower sweeping the parking lot it is a quiet margin of time these moments neither night nor day.

    I stop between the double gates in the sale-porte for night shift security to run the angled mirror under the car, searching for signs of our troubled times. I think he is more likely to find an oil leak than any terrorist activity under my old clunker but it is protocol and no one messes with protocol these days.

    We do the formal greeting. Good morning, how are you, I am well and how are you. He stops and steps half a step back, hands crossed in front.

    Mr. Ben.


    You know you do not only teach the children and the teachers here.

    I wait to see where he might take this conversation.

    Since I have been here working I watch you with the children. I see how you are. I have learned.

    I look up at him under the island of glare from the security lamps in the imposing entry.

    Now, I listen to my children, with my own children I used to say what-what and move them along. Now I stop when they have a question and listen to let them think. When I walk with them...

    He holds out his hands and I can see his daughter's hand cradled between them.

    When I walk with my daughter and she stops, I stop too. I stop and let her think. I wait for her. I have been watching you Mr. Ben. You are teaching not only the children here.

    Thank you Abram, I say.

    You are welcome sir.

    Some days I think there is little to hope for in this deeply troubled world. Then, out of the half- light of night, comes the dawn.
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