Three days into my first semester I had been able to handle every issue on my own. Next door I could hear Lucy pleading with her students and calling out for help from Moses, as I’ll call the correctional officer assigned to the school. I wasn’t about to think I was in the clear.
Then Mr. G. sauntered in with defiance in his eyes and hands balled into fists. He spilled into his chair talking with a homie like he owned the classroom; finally he turned with a challenge toward me. He had missed three days of class from being in The Hole which told me something.
Who knows what I said now, but I could guess it had to do with his foul mouth. I had to answer his challenge by kicking him out of my room, not fifteen minutes within meeting him for the first time. That’s not how I wanted to do things, but he hadn’t left me with much choice.
The next day he turned up with a long apology letter full of promises I didn’t believe for a moment. He held to them for a couple of weeks. My co-workers like to remind me of him. His mom gave him a girl’s name which happened to be the same name we felt called to name our second child. Everyone thinks that’s some sort of joke.
Since we had started out on the wrong foot, Mr. G. became a bit of a project for me as I refused to end on the same note which we began. A lieutenant said it well when he explained that Mr. G. is something unmentionable, but that you can’t help liking him. That makes our job a little easier, I suppose, because it’s not as tiresome to work with him, and he needs work.
I wanted to believe in his future so much that some days I thought I would shake him out of his criminal mindset. Then he wrote me an essay. In our ensuing conversations I understood he meant every word. Even as we speak on friendly terms in the hallways, I know this vengeance lurks in his heart.
NO FORGIVENESS by Mr. G.
The two reasons forgiveness is impossible are that I can’t forget wrongs, and I can’t trust others.
I can’t forget the night I almost lost my daughter, and the bullets tore through my house. It happened the night of June 12, 2009. I gang bang, and I did somethings.
I and 10 of the homies went to a party, drank, and did some drugs. When I came out of the bathroom from doing Coke I looked for a homie so we could dance with some females. When I found him two males dressed all in black came up behind us. They stabbed one of my homies three times in the back and ran. I and the other homies ran after them so we could wreak revenge.
When we caught up to them we beat them up both really bad, drug them to the backyard, and shot them four times each! We rushed the homie who was stabbed to the hospital.
I went home to be with my daughter and girlfriend, but I was not aware that some people had followed me. Later that night my apartment was lashed with bullets out of revenge. I knew who did this! After the cops left I called my homies so we could go do worse. I dropped my daughter and girlfriend at her mom’s house. Then I went to take care of things! We shot up every enemey’s house that we knew about. I can never forget that night.
The reason I can’t trust other people is because I had my heart broken too many times. I was with my daughter’s mom since the 6th grade, but she cheated on me. My own family also broke my trust when I caught my case. My mom, brother, and two sisters are the only ones who have been by my side throughout this bad chapter in our life. It seems like everytime I invest in a relationship or anything it always ends up going wrong. This is one reason I don’t trust anybody.
Because of this, I don’t believe in forgiveness. [sic]
In conversations he promised to return to these people and others to “take care of business”. It was with mixed feelings that I saw him graduate and leave my classroom for good.