The prompt today was to “write a poem about a handmade or homemade gift that you have received.” Straightaway, that got me thinking about an eleven year old girl I taught several years ago who made me her own version of a friendship bracelet. I don’t know where she is now or what she’s doing, but I hope she’s still channelling her creativity.
She was a challenging pupil.
Casey hung around the classroom at break
and lunchtimes, pestering the teachers and
making herself a general nuisance.
She loved colouring and was my friend for
life when I gave her an unwanted puzzle book
that had belonged to my own children.
Little by little, she began to open up, telling me
about her uncle who lived in America and was a
Country and Western singer. I didn’t know
whether or not to believe her. There was something quite
endearing after a while about the way she latched
onto anyone who was kind to her, and I began to
look out for her tousled blonde hair and thick, unflattering
glasses with something akin to anticipation.
“This is for you, Miss,” she said one lunchtime,
handing me a small package wrapped in hand
drawn paper and fastened with a rubber band.
I opened it gingerly, not sure what to expect, and
realised straight away how hard she must have worked,
painstakingly threading hundreds of coloured rubber bands,
fashioning them into a beautiful bracelet.
“Look,” she said, pointing out my initials. The vivid pinks
and yellows stood out against an intricate pattern of oranges,
greens and blues.
“I just wanted to say thanks,” she said, “for listening to me, Miss.”
The smile she gave me then was the greatest gift of all.