Page 28 - WTP VOl. IX #1
P. 28

Something in the Air (continued from preceding page) times I feel like just staring at a wall after a full week
of working here.”
“Oh, you know,” Aaron said, “could be a lot worse.”
I decided to push my luck. “Yeah, I have a cousin who teaches high school. What a nightmare, dealing with smartass teenagers.”
Aaron laughed. He held his head back a little, and his smoke started to drift away. “Smartass teens. If you had any idea how many times I’d dealt with them.”
I felt really low. Maybe he still didn’t know, but it didn’t seem likely that he just said that at random. I pushed my luck just a little bit more. “Kids make fun of you?”
He shrugged. “It’s my smoke.”
You know when people say things like, “It wasn’t what he said, it was how he said it”? That’s what this was. This was him telling me that I was a damn coward for
not standing up to the boys in the store. And he was right. I was a coward. “Shit,” I said, “I’m so sorry to hear it.”
Aaron shrugged again. “It happens. Just like a Mon- day.”
Part of me wanted to laugh. It was a decent line. But part of me wanted to feel sick. I really didn’t know what to say, so I just said, “Well both those things suck.” He chuckled and wiped at his forehead. It was the first time that I wondered what the smoke actu- ally felt like for him.
Of course, eventually, he had to leave the office. Even though we made different accommodations for Aar- on, eventually, the smoke crept over his eyes. He had to leave the office. We did put together a collection and send over some flowers and a little bit of food.
A card too, but if Aaron’s eyes were overtaken from the smoke, then who knows if he even saw what I’d signed. I guess somebody could have read it to him. If
From Geometric Deconstruction Series
acrylic on canvas 28'' x 63''
By Juan Gaitan

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