|Friedlander photo, 1966|
The teacher stood firmly with her back to the entrance door, barring the boy with the pointed hat, as his shadow fell on her.
"You can't come in here any more, you are too old for this school. You have to go to the high school, or you have to go home. I can't have you disturbing the younger children."
The teacher tried to smile as she spoke, tried to look authoritative but not threatening. She could remember how he had responded to threats when he was younger.
"My little sister is in there," he said.
"You don't have a little sister," she replied.
"My little brother, then," he tried. "Or maybe my youngest cousin."
"Okay, that's enough fooling around," she said. "Just go now." She wished she had a way to alert the principal, or the softball coach, someone heavier, someone stronger...she felt so frail, although not quite afraid yet, not quite.
"And if I don't want to go, are you going to make me?" he asked.
"Yes," she replied, strength suddenly coming from somewhere inside her. "Yes, I am." She uncrossed her arms and looked straight at him, looked right into his eyes, unflinching and quite unafraid.
"Oh. Well...well, then, I think I'll go. Uh, things to do, you know," he muttered, and turned away.
Posted for Magpie Tales