Felicia reminds me of the character Gru from the movie Despicable Me. She has broad shoulders and a thick upper body (similar to a linebacker), but she narrows at the waist and grows even smaller into the legs. I’ll be walking beside her in the hallway during a bathroom break, and all I can think about is how Gru captures the shrink ray and steals the moon and wins over the affection of his daughters and finally discovers true love. Then, Felicia makes a comment about me not listening to her and how that is “booty,” and it snaps me back to reality.
Felicia also reminds me of the man in the movie Split who has 23 distinct personalities. And every day, she displays anywhere from 10-15 of them. There is simply no logical way to explain anything she says or does. To illustrate, I’ll break down today…
8:30 A.M. “Mindless” Felicia:
Felicia squirted hand sanitizer into her mouth for no apparent reason. When I asked her why she had done that and commented on how disgusting it was, she said that it wasn’t her, it was Jaquese (her “bad” side, who she always refers to in third person). I raised an eyebrow and sent her to get a drink of water. What more can you do with that?
10:00 A.M. “Promiscuous” Felicia:
While completing a grammar assignment, Felicia abruptly reached down the front of her shirt and pulled out a crinkled up one-dollar bill from her bra. She looked surprised (although not as surprised as the rest of us), and said to me, “I knew I felt something in there scratching me!” She tossed the dollar bill on her desk and went back to work.
12:45 P.M. “Disturbing” Felicia:
After lunch, Felicia claimed that she needed to go to the bathroom and “take the Browns to the Superbowl.” Fast forward ten minutes later to when I’m standing outside of the bathrooms…
They are open doored and cinderblock walled, which is unfortunate because it means that you might or might not be able to hear Gabriella and Felicia having a conversation while crapping in the stalls next to each other; which is even more unfortunate because you might or might not be able to hear Gabriella talking about how she ran out of pads and Felicia talking about how her butthole burns when she poops. Who in their right mind would construct middle school bathrooms that a) have no doors b) have stalls placed three feet away from the doorless entries c) are made of cinderblock wall which allows sound to echo into the hallway? (Did I mention there are no doors?)
2:00 P.M. “Philosophical” Felicia:
Yesterday, I gave the students a “get to know you” assignment where they were required to bring in one object that they felt like described who they were as a person. When the time came to present the objects, Felicia set two things on her desk: a Bible and a make-up bag.
After she had spread all 39 objects from the make-up bag across her desk and given the class a tutorial on how to put on bronzer, she went on to explain how make-up is often used to hide insecurities. She grew serious and talked about how, just like make-up can be applied in many different ways to disguise blemishes, she too had a number of ways that she masks her problems. I sat in awe listening to a girl talk about the layers of a person and how what we see is always just the surface. I couldn’t help but think that this was the same girl who hours earlier had sprayed hand sanitizer into her mouth and pulled a dollar bill out of her bra and described in detail her bowel movements.
Then she pulled out her Bible. She said that when she was younger, she and her sisters had been taken out of their home and sent to live in a foster home for a year. She said that it was during that time when she had started reading the Bible and that it had really helped comfort her while they were away from home. Then, as if the conversation had not just grown heavy, she closed her Bible and put her make-up back into its bag and nonchalantly swept both items off of her desk.
She was right.
We really are all made up of several layers.