(Names have been changed to protect the innocent)
“Haruto is leaving Friday, can we have a party for him? And, Can it be a surprise party?” “I have an idea. After math class, we will bring Haruto to Mr. Finney’s room and tell Haruto that the teacher wants to see him.” “ Yeah, but then all those other kids will be there and we don’t want to pull them into this.” “Wait I have a better idea, Elvira will take Haruto to the library and the librarians will…..” Shh he’s coming. Let’s not talk about it okay ‘ “Jose overheard us and he is a spy He will tell him. He always tells everything.” I reassure the class that I will talk to Jose and we can pull this off as a surprise. Haruto Is going back to Japan. In the short time he has been here, he has touched a lot of hearts.
So today is Friday. Students breeze into my room and start setting the stage for Haruto’s arrival The table is covered with food and lemonade Haruto has the gift of getting along with everyone, so the reception is enthusiastic. When he enters the room, students turn on the lights and start singing. He is shy, he looks at the floor with a smile, that the floor cannot return. His classmates do. He hands me a beautiful card, that he wrote himself and I am having one of those aww I am going to miss you moments, He attended my evening book club as well as my class He was a member of the self-named dragon squad; Haruto and two other boys who became a team. They were a little bit “us against the world,” but filled with positive energy. Every week I heard about Naruto, a favorite read. John won’t be able to open his locker without Haruto to do the combination for the two of them…. And Elvira won’t have anyone to eat lunch with. They are overcome by their loss, when I open my email.
I was thinking about how every person brings something to the group and in leaving takes something away. A class is a very delicate balance, a chemistry project of sorts. or an old recipe passed on by word of mouth. You can never be quite sure about the ingredients and it never comes out the same way twice . Today Haruto left and he takes with him his anchor into calm and his simple smile that says “content.” Back to that email …..there will be a new student starting in that same class on Monday. He is from Sweeden. He is an unopened package, a surprise for the class Should I tell them that the leprechauns turned Haruto into Sven?
As the wheel turns, a new student, with his own new gifts, will become part of the family Monday.
When I left this afternoon I thought that Haruto was getting his final goodbye from the skies in the form or roaring thunder and lightening storm. The lightening was saying I am taking your picture for the class to preserve this day The thunder was applauding his work But then, strangest of all, came the frozen rain ice crystals pelting the ground like a cap gun. It was just at that moment that I had flung open the school door to make a run for my car. I didn’t realize it was this bad until I stepped out.
I thought, wow, this is crazy! How much worse would it be if, in the middle of this storm, I had to
- Get to the hospital to deliver a baby
- Take outdoor wedding pictures
- Chase my dog down the street
- Push a baby home from the park in a stroller
- Catch a plane for Japan…. Maybe you should stay here Haruto