Monday, May 14, 2012

Detention Hall


One by one, they trickle in.  Each one sent here for different infractions. No one says a word.  They each keep to themselves.

One young female scrapes her chair in defiance.  She throws her notebook on the table and grunts as she drops her weight onto the seat.  She looks about the room daring anyone to make eye contact, daring anyone to say anything.

A male yanks the classroom door open and saunters in.  He is followed by a female half his size. She struggles with a backpack, but he doesn’t notice or doesn’t care.  He walks over to two empty chairs and plops down.  She perches in the seat next to him. He snarls something at her and she nods.  He snarls again and she places a hand on his arm and attempts a smile. He glares at everyone in the room.

The instructor adjusts an overhead.  She moves stacks of folders from one place to another. The students are confined here for twelve hours and then they will be gone, nothing more. She goes over the agenda, and the only time she directs her eyes at anything is when she uses a laser pointer on the overhead presentation.

Her cavalier attitude causes one person to snicker and another to make a face. Two or three students look at each other for the first time and smile.  The coldness in the room starts to melt.  

The sixteen adults are newly-diagnosed diabetics and are here to learn about their disease and how to manage it. They are frightened and seek some compassion.  So what if they can’t have a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down, but what about a little tenderness?

The young woman with the attitude is embarrassed to be diabetic. She hasn’t told her family; only her husband knows. The big man with the little wife cries like a baby.  He's afraid. Some of the students are angry at themselves. Most want to blame someone, anyone, for their condition.

Besides the physiological aspect of this disease, all want to discuss why they feel this way.  They want someone to care.

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