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American History
Joshua


      It was impossible not to observe the students who came through because my office was located directly in the middle of the space. Each child was as different as varieties of flower can be. Some were like daisies, fresh and clean, others were like blooms on a prickly pear, strong and bright.

      Joshua was like a daisy. He always looked so well groomed. There was never a careless look to his hair. It always seemed that he had just been to the barber shop. The boy wore light-colored shirts that had a more expensive cut to them. It made him stand out as if his mother was somewhere on campus seeing after his clothing. When he walked, it was with a determined stride as if he was in a hurry to get to a destination. Sometimes he would turn to look toward the office and wave his hand in a small way as a greeting to me. The nurses enjoyed him because he always had a friendly, pleasant way.

       This morning he was as usual striding through the treatment room but he had a different attitude. It was more as if he was glaring at everyone. Instead of talking to the nurses he walked right past them back to where the head nurse kept her desk.  The hospital was a big old building and from where they were the words the two were having, could not be understood. There were loud voices and no one could deny it; there was an argument.

      Joshua soon came stomping back through and this time he didn't bother to look left or right. In an uncharacteristic way he slammed the door behind him and was gone.

      “What is going on with him?”  I asked my friend.

      “She got his slides mixed up with someone who has a social disease. He is very unhappy.”

       I made no comment but I was thinking there was some sort of justice in this. If better records had been kept, it wouldn't have happened. This was one time, too, there should not have been a slip up since those records had to go to the state.

      Joshua left the school and I just assumed he wouldn't return. However, in a few days we had a scathing letter from Joshua's father's lawyer. He threatened legal retaliation.  In a short time, Joshua and his father were back. Again there were loud voices but this time the boy had his father backing him.

       It must have been settled though because after that nothing more was heard. No mention was made of the incident and we went back to our normal routine.

      When Joshua came through again, he stopped to peek into my office which was unusual.  He had never done that before. I waited to see if he had something to say to me because I had no idea how I would respond. We were, after all, very close in age.  Sure enough he did speak out.

     “And You. You wouldn't even look up from your typewriter!” Joshua's good natured ways were back. I had to chuckle while dropping my head and covering my face with my hands while I silently laughed.


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