EPISODE XI - THE JESSICA STORY
(Mr. Leousis, has been asked by the drama teacher in one of the high schools in Montreal, to entertain students with one of his stories. Students have prepared for this day by reading some of Mr. Leousis previous stories.)
In my story "In the beginning, there was, The Light", I describe how I came to having "The Light," awakened in me. Having The Light led to an unusually high body temperature of 45 degrees Celsius. The discovery of "the Pireto," or elevated body temperature by the doctors who examined me, created "security issues" for my immediate family and me. So we had to leave my country of birth, Greece (Hellas) and come to Canada.
When I arrived in Canada from Greece, highly specialized scientists and doctors started to research this unusual phenomenon. While these studies continued, I was sent to the private school of Socrates in Montreal. There, specially trained teachers were to monitor me. At the same time, all stakeholders tried to create a "normal" home and school environment. When everyone was confident that I understood the dangers of my "being, found out," I was allowed to enter the public school system and lead a "normal life."
I attended Bancroft Elementary School in Montreal, Baron Byng High School down the street from there, Sir George Williams University, now Concordia University as well as McGill University. During these years, several "unusual" events... (Mr. Leousis uses his index fingers to highlight, quotation marks in the air to emphasize "unusual events."), ...did take place. These events are described in my stories that you will find on my blog:
or can be read in my three publications found at Amazon.ca
Please visit this site or acquire my books from Amazon; I am sure you will find the stories there very interesting.
THE JESSICA STORY, PART I.
In the past many years of my teaching career, I have gained much experience and many credentials. I have served as a regular elementary and high school teacher, a school principal, as department head of science, and a school director; just to mention a few of my credentials. Today, despite all this experience and titles, I am here as a substitute teacher. Each time you change school boards, as I have done, you must start at the bottom as a substitute teacher.
And so it was about fifteen years ago when I had just changed from one school board to another. I looked at the computer one evening to book for a substitution (supply) for the next day. I came across a posting for a grade 2/3 split: You all know what that is, right? (Mr. Leousis, questions). It’s a grade two and three classes combined. (Students assure him by nodding their heads).
That night, I had the most incredible vision. I dreamt that I could see myself sleeping in my bed as I hovered above my body, called, "An out of body experience or astral projection.", I was sleeping on my back. This was unusual for me because I have some difficulty sleeping on my back. I have a back problem, so I am forced to sleep in, the fetal position from side to side.
"Look, everybody, the daisy, my Dad and I used to gather in the fields!" I soon after began to lose all semblance of reality. I watched, my body froze in space and time, watching myself from a distance, muddling to myself like a drowning man, trying to speak while in deep water.
(Mr. Leousis demonstrates a fetal position by sitting on a chair in front of the class. He moves to the right side, raising his knees near his chest and then doing the same thing on his left. Several students show a sign of understanding when Mr. Leousis calls out.)
I am sure a number of you do sleep like this. In this dream or vision..., (Mr. Leousis continues),... I felt a glow of light; a pure Light, emanate from my forehead. The Light, was the same bright light, that I spoke about when I had this severe deep cut on my knee as I described in my first story of "In the beginning, there was "The Light." The vision of the sleeping position and appearance of the Light were not so unusual for me; I had many such "experiences," in the past as you will read in my stories. As with such past experiences, I knew some spectacular event was about to reveal itself:
Through this Light, a type of holographic projection showed the face of a young child.
(Mr. Leousis circles his head to demonstrate the small head appearing.).
I did not know at that time if the face I envisioned was that of a boy or a girl. What was frightening about this image was the look on this child's face. Through its gangling hair over its face, one could see two eyes staring out like a zombie, just staring out, looking into the void!
I woke up shivering and my heart racing. I got up from my bed, sweaty and all, just burning up. My bed was soaking wet, and I did not know what to do. I paced up and down for a long time, took a shower, and by six o'clock that morning, found myself asleep on my sofa; I must have passed out.
I got up, dressed, and left for school. Along my journey, this "face," I had never seen before, haunting my thoughts as I drove to this school. When I arrived, I went to the office, identified myself, and was given instructions by the school secretary. I was to replace Ms. Goodchild, the grade three teacher. I entered room 203 on the second floor and went on to examine the lesson plans left for me on what I had to do that day.
The plans read as follows: (a) Take attendance. (b) Take children to the library. (c) French, and so on. As I studied the lesson plans, the school bell began to ring. Simultaneously, I noticed the classroom door set ajar by a young boy, who popped his head through the opening. Upon, seeing me, turned about, and yelled for everyone to hear, "It’s a supply, a supply teacher!" Thunderous cheers could be heard. Annoyed with this disturbance, I began to move towards the door when another small head popped in front of me. It was that of a young girl, who also returned to assure the others, "yes," it was a supply teacher indeed. By the time I got out to attend to the students, pandemonium had broken out. They were yelling and talking, cheering, and shouting. "Quiet, shhh, quiet!" I called out! "Are you our supply teacher?" One was heard to call out, while another called over that voice, "What is your name?"
I was able to get them into class, where it took some time to calm them down and get them into some proper order. I tried to give the students direction on how I expected them to behave: I advised them that they were to put up their hands and not call out when I called their names. With the attendance list in hand, I began to call out each student's names:
Joseph, "Here, here, I am!", a voice called out. Joseph, what did I say, just raise your hand. "Yes, Sir," was his reply. Let us all try this. Everyone raise your hand very high. With a surprised look on their faces, they slowly, reluctantly, raised their hands. That is it. That is what I want you to do. Is that clear? No calling out! "Yes, Sir," they all responded in unison. Fine, now let us try it again. Markus - "That’s him," another student calls out. "What, what, who are you?" I asked this child. The child lowered his head, saying, "sorry." "Markus?" I called out again. A shy young boy raised his hand just above his shoulder. It took some time for me to get halfway down the attendance list when suddenly, the bell rang.
I advised the students to get their books and ready for us to go to the library. Again, the noise broke out: "She has my book." "It's in my basket.", etc... All types of uncontrolled noise filled the air. Finally, the students were lined up, two by two. "Now, we are going to the library, and we will be passing other classes who are doing their work quietly. You too, need to be quiet as we move through the corridor. Is that clear? "Yes, sir." Anyone who is caught talking will stay outside the library and not participate, is that clear? "Yes, Sir," in unison they all called out.
Having entered this magnificent library, I had all the students sit on this beautiful carpet, situated in front, near a chair and piano: Now let me describe the library,
(Mr. Leousis addresses his current substitution class.)
It was oriented much as this class is. (Mr. Leousis, raises his arms in a sweeping fashion to address all parts of the room.) At least three times in size to this class. It was an old school, but the library had been renovated. What a library!
(Mr. Leousis moves across the class, describing various parts of the library, in which "the story" was to be staged.)
The door was about where this is. (Mr. Leousis points to the floor and ceiling.) Just about here, extending out from the wall, were huge bookshelves. They were protruding out to about here. They were lining the length of the wall, all the way down the library. It was an impressive library, almost like a college or university library.
(He now moves to the other side, where the windows are and refer to that part of the room.)
The supporting walls as you see here were removed entirely and replaced with all glass windows, down to the floor; really impressive with lots and lots of light coming through. Here, was an upright piano and its piano bench. A small teacher's desk was about here.
(Mr. Leousis returns to the story where he is addressing the children in the grade 2-3 split.)
O.K., now that you are all seated "quietly"... (Mr. Leousis, smiles as he brings his index finger to his lips to denote "quietly."), we will continue with the attendance. What must we do if we are present? "Raise our hand.", several students call out. Yes, but NO… calling out! Understood? "Yes, Sir.", the class would respond. Okay then, "Jennifer?" A careful hand goes up. Excellent Jennifer that is the proper way. After calling two or three names on the attendance list, with mixed behavior results, I called out, "Jessica." Pandemonium broke out once again, with the entire class calling out, "Phew!" What, what did you say? Quiet! What is this "phew"? (Mr. Leousis, shows an angered face to his current class, addressing them as if they are the children in his story. They are now the involuntary characters of his account of Jessica.)
(Addressing his current class.) With burning eyes of discontent in their reactive behavior, I dared myself, to call the name of this child again. "Jessica?" I called out once again. Immediately, the class once again responds, "Phew!" I am stunned at their defiant reaction. Even more so, I am exasperated when I see this little boy, midway down the second row, having turned his body almost perpendicular to his desk. He was pinching his nose while looking in between the two bookshelves in front of him. He was simultaneously calling out, "She stinks, phew, she stinks!" I was not going to tolerate such defiance, nor was I going to accept ANY form of bullying. I had lost control, and my anger had taken the best of me; "I was ready to pounce on this "darling boy!" (Mr. Leousis addresses his current class.)
(With fiery eyes of anger, moves towards the desk, where the boy is supposed to have been stationed. He continuous.)
As I moved slowly, ready, "To pounce!" (Mr. Leousis draws his arms forward like a witch in a horror movie; the current class nervously giggles at his serious classical acting performance.), I felt my right arm just drop; it dropped like a ragged doll. (Mr. Leousis focuses on his right arm as he lets it drop, to demonstrate his loss of arms control. While using his left hand to dangle his right arm, at showing its paralysis.) I became frightened, and for a moment, though, I was having a heart attack or something like that. I began to panic: I felt my blood rushing to my head as my pulse quickened, and my breath choked my lungs. Fear was now in control! Then there was the smell, a definite odor made me for a moment, consider if, by some chance, the nervousness has allowed my "loss of control" of my own bodily functions. Last this happened in my first story, "In the beginning, there was, The Light," I had peed on my underwear, way back when on the firing range in Greece, when I was a child. (The current class laughs).
I became even more horrified when I realized my arm, my arm... (He now looks down at his lame arm while simultaneously staring at the faces of his audience.), ... my arm, began to move! It had come alive "on its own"; it now had a life of its own, without my control; "It was alive!" Can you imagine, can you imagine... (He addresses his audience once again.), my arm was alive! It began to pull on my body, pulling me forward! Instead of focusing on the child, who had called out, I was now following and focusing on my arm! Do you know how frightened and scared, I was? (He again asks his audience.) By now, "my arm," had slowly propelled me far enough to see what the child was referring to as "smelly." There, to my left, between the bookshelves, another horror awaited me:
Sitting down on the floor, like this. (Mr. Leousis now leaves his current position by "the child's desk" and hurries to the front of the class to demonstrate. He repeats himself.) "Sitting on the floor, on her butt, just like this, was a little girl." Who do you think it was? (He asks his current audience.) Several students call out, "The girl in your dreams!" (In jest of two-faced masks of humor and sadness, Mr. Leousis, smiles and calls out.) - "There are some bright ones here."
(This enlists a new cry of laughter from some students. Mr. Leousis now regains his serious composure and proceeds to describe the girl sitting on the floor. He now leans against the wall in front of the class and pretends to be sitting on the floor.) Jessica, arms resting on her knees, she starred out, like a zombie! (He addresses his audience once again out of character.) Now you try this at home, see if you can get up from a sitting down position, without using your arms to push against the wall or anything else. It is impossible!
(Mr. Leousis now returns to the original position where "the arm" has taken over, in his story.)
As this immense fear of the situation tore into me, my senses were going into overload. I could see this child sitting there with her shirt, bhah..., (Mr. Leousis makes disgusting faces as if to throw up.), I was ready to throw up.
Her shirt was covered with, who knows what; I thought she must have recently thrown up all over her. Her pants, "bgieh!" (Again, Mr. Leousis mimes.) Her pants, especially her right side, were covered with mud. The mud had dried, and one could see the cracks. Her sneakers..., (Mr. Leousis repeats.), her sneakers, were as if the child had been lifted and dropped into a sewer! The smell, the sight, and the fear, all combined with having my stomach ready to erupt. If all this was not enough, there was more!
As soon as my hand began to match up with the child's face, I began to feel that it had grabbed onto it. Like Spider-man, zapping it with his mesh and lifting her up, pulling her slowly from her face to her feet. I was petrified! (Mr. Leousis calls out to his audience.) Soon after, we were walking down the aisle of desks, attached to one another, lockstep to one another, like congenital twins linked by an invisible force, "my arm" controlling it all! (Mr. Leousis scans his audience once again for them to acknowledge his dire predicament as his voice and facial expressions show a man in agonizing horror.) Before long, we had reached the front of the class, setting the stage for an incredible wonder.
As Jessica and I stopped in front of the class, I could see the children sitting there mesmerized from what they had witnessed thus far, their mouths opened and just staring at both of us. I was very concerned about them and looked about for the intercom to sound for help. More intensely, my thoughts wondered why I had not yet woken up from this "dream." I raised my left hand up to my face and gave myself a slap to come through, but all remained the same.
(As Mr. Leousis, addresses his current class, he slaps his left cheek, startling his audience by the intensity of the slap and the loud instance of its "clap.")
And then, and then... (Mr. Leousis, now looking out into his audience while his arm protrudes out towards, Jessica, his fingers locked into her still masked face), ...my hand that had drawn the child from her hideaway location, begins to descend, becoming parallel to the rest of the arm. As it drops, I begin to feel this warmness on its surface, almost like a slow hot burn when you are sitting out in the direct sun. At the same time, I bring my left hand to my face to rub my eyes; such when I do when I first wake up in the morning. I am not sure what I am beginning to see. ("What do you think is happening?" He asks his current class, who are themselves mesmerized by his detailed descriptions of the scene. He repeats himself again, to elicit participation. Various calls are spoken. But he interjects with...), "Yes, it’s the Light, a glowing light, a pure light, just like the light way back, many years ago at the firing range. The same Light I witnessed the night earlier in my dreams at home. I was ready to pass out, my heart was racing, I could feel my carotid vein protruding from the side of my neck as it rushed the blood to extinguish the fire in my brain.
While I was focused on the growing, glowing light on top of my hand, I began to hear small giggles nearby, and as I looked up. I could see, Jessica for the first time, reacting to her environment. A glowing smile equal in intensity to "The Light," taking over her sad face. She soon began to raise her hand, covering her mouth and from a giggle, moving to a burst of happy laughter, calling out... "Oh, Daddy, oh Daddy, "The Daisy, the daiiiiiiiissssseeeeeyyyyy".
(Mr. Leousis, now talks in a slow, deliberate moaning sound saying, "Elias, this is not happening, this is not happening, wake up. Mwaw, mmmwaaaaw." He now comes out of acting form and addresses his current class.)
And what do you think began to grow out of the top of my hand..., (With his face, cracking with concern, he moves his eyes, to connect with as many students. He repeats himself for effect.) What do you think begun to grow from my hand? (He asks once again, as he raises his right hand towards the class.) "A Daisy," (Some of the students venture to guess. He immediately slaps, his hands on the desk in front of him, causing the student in that desk to jump at the sudden noise. A nervous laughter breaks out.)
"Yes, a daisy, a real flower," (He calls out as he again raises his hand towards his audience. He now moves back into position, except now he pretends to be Jessica while he gets out of character and explains.) Jessica begins to jump slightly on the spot with joy and proceeds to extend her hand to reach out for the Daisy. As she reaches on top of my hand and begins to pull at the Daisy. (Mr. Leousis again, leaves, Jessica's character and addresses his audience directly. Raising his hand once again towards his audience, he asks.) How many of you have had your hair pulled out, and felt that short, sudden, a burst of pain? (He pretends to pull a tuft of his hair from his scalp. Some students respond by raising their hands.) Well, I felt it "people." I felt the daisy being plucked from the top of my hand. (He once again stares out into his audience with a bewildered face as if asking,) How can it be? (He now returns to Jessica's, character and continues.)
As she plucks the daisy from the top of my hand. She then brings it towards her face, simultaneously calling out at her stunned peers sitting in front of us, "Look, everybody, look, a daisy. Just like the ones my Daddy and I used to gather in the park as we laughed and played!" (He now turns to his "teacher's" character on the opposite side to keep the dynamics of "the show" active and says.) My mind in slow, slow motion, is thinking: "I am her Daaaaddieeeee, whawwww, whaghwww, whaghwww", in a slow-motion, I have just described?" (He moves to the other side, taking on Jessica's character, once again.) She now moves the daisy to her nose and begins to smell it in ever-increasing breaths, closing her eyes in total elation, breaking in smiles, here and there to draw the attention of her classmates. She now moves her hand towards her filthy shirt pocket, opens it, placing the daisy inside, while lowering her nose towards it, once again for one last sniff of paradise. She raises her head back in its forward position. She immediately places both her hands in front of her face and begins to laugh and call out, "Oh, no, Daddy, oh, no!" She jumps up and down on the spot. "Daddy, you remember, you remember, "The Dress"! (Mr. Leousis, once again, leaves, Jessica's character and addresses his audience, the class in front of him. Raising his voice indirect, and deliberate, slow, tone of voice.) What do you think came out on the top of my hand? (A more significant number of students now call out, "a dress," while an equal number of disbelievers, cry out in laughter, "sure oh, yeah, etc.").
I realize what you are probably thinking, (He tells his current class.), "What has this substitute teacher been smoking, this early morning?" I know how unbelievable all this may sound. For a moment, please, accept that this as being true, which it is. I have lived it, and it’s the story of "My life!" (Mr. Leousis quotes the words, "My life." with the extended fingers of his hands.) Accept for a moment, (He repeats himself.) that this is true. How would you feel if you found yourself in my position? A teacher is responsible for all these little kids. Drowning helplessly as these things were happening in your life. Would you not be chocking as I was, that day in that school, in Ontario? (Many heads bob, up and down in agreement. He now moves back to describe, "The dress," while holding up his extended arm.)
Imagine this., (He calls out to his current class.) This petite dress, just like those,.. (He reaches out for some descriptive words, eliciting the help of some girls in the audience.) "Barbie," a student calls out. Yes, a beautiful, tiny Barbie doll dress, just revolving, ever so slowly from the top of my hand. Turning ever so slowly, like those dresses on manikins; just sitting there, turning, ever so slowly; like the ones you see in shop windows downtown. Jessica has now stopped jumping up and down. Her smile deeply etched in her face, with her arms both extended, she begins to move away from me, ever so slowly, while doing this. (Mr. Leousis, now takes on the character of Jessica facing him, a massive smile on his face, while raising both extended arms by his side, higher and higher in unison. He now comes out of character and explains to the class.) While she was moving her arms higher and higher, so did the dress, become further removed from the top of my hand. As the dress rose up, it grew larger and larger. When it had reached a point above, near the ceiling, it had grown to be a full-sized child's Dress: A dress sized just for Jessica! By this time (He returns to the other side, taking up Jessica's character), Jessica had brought her arms up at a 45-degree angle to her upright body. As she continued to raise her arms further, the dress now began to move towards her. When the child's arms were in the full upright position, the dress started to descend over her body. As it lowered over her body, covering her arms, you could clearly see her hands tunneling through the garment, exposing her youthful hands and arms:
Her filthy, nails, saturated with dirt were now remarkably clean, pink and supple. When the dress continued to lower further still, over her head, an amazing young transformation was taking place. Her face was now clean and bright with a radiating "living," smile. There were small sparkles here and there, giving her that extra royal look: It was as if she had gone for a "lady look," facial; that grown-up ladies would do. Her hair was put back like this. (He moves his hands over his hair on either side as a young girl would bunch her hair backward, into a clump and calls out to some girls for their assistance.) What do we call this? "A bun.", (A girl responds to his call.) Yes, "a bun" (Mr. Leousis, repeats.) As the dress began to lower and stop its descent, just about her knees. (Mr. Leousis, now partly bent forward as if himself had worn the dress.), One could observe this dark shadow, a kind of sizeable colored sock, continuing the descent, exposing the young girl's naked legs. This shadow slowly moved down until it reached about here, (He points to the top of his ankle). A beautiful Cinderella-style, pink slipper, would now replace her disgusting sneakers. (He makes a disgusting facial expression to match his words.) At the end of this "dress up," Jessica, like a trained model, would begin to rotate about her stance. Her arms extended out with hands pointing upright like a skillful Chinese dancer, turning and turning as the center of the universe, her radiating smile filling the room.
The young, forgotten, girls sitting on the carpet floor, now active, would call out: "Oh, Jessica, you are soooo... beautiful." The boys are making uncertain facial gestures, not knowing if to complement or make unwelcome remarks, stayed peculiarly quiet and just observed. I was again totally lost in thought. Not accepting my painful reality, I was talking to myself in very slow motion, wondering what next. I began to notice a gradual fading of the natural light coming from the large windows. As if a "dimmer switch", was in coordination with each and every circular motion of Jessica, the classroom light began to darken and darken until…(Mr. Leousis, now out of character, addressing his current class, turns and turns his hand around his wrist to demonstrate the dimming of the light. Immediately, he again catches his audience by surprise by calling out!) Suddenly, Bherrrrr..., large droplets of rain began to pounce at the sizeable outside glass windows; only to be outdone by thunderous lighting that followed. "Bherr, boom, bang." (Mr. Leousis begins to imitate the sounds of thunder and lightning with noise and animation. The class is now transformed into the next theatrical scene.)
The thunder and noise were so loud and thunderous that you could now hear fright and panic from "the children of the carpet." I tried to take charge of my pitiful self, and mustered enough energy to call out, "Keep away, keep away from the window." The young children, now huddled close to each other, with their heads buried in their commonplace, like young pups pushing closer to nurse; satisfying their hunger but most importantly attaining the maternal security in numbers. With each lightning, the shadows of the walls transformed the library into a large ballroom for one, with Jessica continuing her "ballroom dance," without the slightest care of the thunderous noise of lightning. As she continued to rotate, by her second turn, the lightning stopped and its booming sound expired! Within a fraction of time, a young voice of a fearless boy, broke the sudden silence with the call, "The sky is opening up, the sky is opening!"
Unable to muster any more energy, clamored in the world of my mind, I urge my limbs to move towards the window and look up into the sky. There, in the distance, like window drapes into the black sky... (Mr. Leousis, now returns to his teacher profile and addresses the students.) I am sure you have all sometimes witnessed a cloudy sky, whereby the clouds just separate in two with the sun suddenly breaking through? (He gets the acknowledgment of nodding heads and "yes" from the class, and he continues.)
The more I stared at the sky, I began to notice this tiny dot in between the clouds getting larger and larger, an indication that it was hurling down towards the ground. "A spaceship" (A student calls out, followed by a laugh.) No, not a spaceship, Mr. Leousis, remarks, but. (He pauses, for a long time.) If I were to tell you or describe to you, what was coming, I am sure this time you will not hesitate to accuse me of having lost my mind. At least hallucinating or being on some drug. I will take a chance with you and describe what I saw, provided you do not pass judgment on me until I have completed my description. What I saw was, "A monster!" I call it that, not to describe any horror but to describe its massive size! A beast, so giant that it covered the length and breadth of one, two, three window partitions as you see here. (Mr. Leousis, walks the size and distance of the windows, expanding his arms upwards to outline a vast sized animal.) What I saw that day was impossible to fathom. In reality, it was a massive horse, yes, "AAAA horse!". Not just any horse but a monstrous, huge, white horse! (The class breaks into giggles and some smart remarks, under breath, are heard to be uttered.) That's it, go ahead and say what you want, but I WAS THERE, and I SAW WHAT I SAW! (He counts every word.) And wait till you hear the rest, and then you will think I am dreaming. (Mr. Leousis calls in a more serious tone. The students by now do not know what to believe or think, but their nervous questioning minds react with nervous giggles. )
With its colossal body now landing just outside the library, it raises its body on its hind legs. (Mr. Leousis now demonstrates the horse is rising on its hind legs and extrudes a wild sound of a horse, just like the black stallion of Zorro! As he pounds down his hoofs, Mr. Leousis, now raises his hands in a fist, imitating a thunderous shake of the room.) "Phwooooo, boommmmmmm". All of us were frightened beyond fear, except for one. She now looked at the beast, clasping her hands together in sheer joy as if she was anxiously waiting for a gift box to open, her face glowing with delight. As I was staring at this massive beast, thundering its pound to a seismic earthquake, for the third time, I suddenly noticed the children's gaze has turned away from this beast now staring at Jessica. As I turned, what do you think, I could see? What was Jessica doing? (Mr. Leousis, once again, repeats in his questioning tone towards his current classroom audience.)
She was le-vi-ta-ting, levitating; you all know what that is, don't you? (Mr. Leousis, asks.) As I witnessed this child rising up near the room's ceiling, she then began to move towards me, passing by me and moving towards the window. A sudden sarcastic thought came over me saying, "Wait till she gets to the window, "Clap," like a bug squished against the glass, she will just fall to the ground! But do you know what, (He again addresses his audience.) Do you know what? Nothing of the sort takes place… she just slides through the window; much like you jumping in a pool of water and "phooosssch", she just slides through! I then see Jessica mounting the animal and bending forward to grab the beast by its white manes and "whooosh" they disappear into the sky. Immediately after that, the young children rush to the window, weeping, and crying out, "Jessica, come back. Jessica!"
I was petrified and frozen, my body still, and my brain in perpetual shock. All types of thoughts came to my mind, like a speeding train. Thoughts came and left, but my body was unconscious to any message coming from my brain, and so I stood there still, staring at the wall above the door. I stared and stared where the class clock participated in the movement of one minute chasing the other. "Click, click..." I don't think more than ten minutes had passed, when I heard a child's voice again calling in exuberance, "She's coming back, she's coming back!" Sure enough, as I turned my sight a full 180 degrees from my gaze of the clock towards the window. Looked up, I could see "The horse," rushing towards us, like a hurling rocket towards its target.
Before long, once again, the colossal beast shadowed our window light, with Jessica in mount. Once again, the giant horse raised its front legs demonstrating its conquest of the sky. Once again, it came pounding the ground as if a meteorite had hit the earth. At that instance, its glowing young rider began to levitate and move back into the comfort of our presence, landing in the very same place she had risen... When her small toes touched the ground, "Pooooof...!" (Mr. Leousis claps his hands: The claps waking up his current audience from the mesmerizing monotony of his voice.) Within, seconds, the horse was gone. Instantly, Jessica's beautiful dress having vanished and having been replaced by her original clothing. Gone as well were her Cinderella shoes, now being replaced by her sneakers, except now, everything was clean. Her shirt was nice and neat, the mud on her pants all gone and that sickening repugnant odor, which had made my stomach turn, "no more." It was as if all her clothes "and herself" had been freshly laundered. (Mr. Leousis breaks into a short chuckle). Jessica, still smiling and staring at us all, just glowed with sheer happiness.
"Oh, sir," she addressed me. "What a wonderful time I had with my "Unicorn," he took me to all the beautiful places my Dad had promised me we would go,"; (She clasps her hands together as if to pray and calls out in joy.), "We went to Disney World!" I was stunned! Slowly, very carefully, I struggled to come out of my shell of fear, trying to gain control of my outer world of "the classroom." Soon enough, my brain was able to send a few signals to move my mouth and utter some not so understandable words. I began to stutter: "Bbbbbbut, Djesssissiica, you, you, had only left forrrrr nnno mmmmore than a few minuttts". Jessica, in a very assured manner, responds with a short giggle and smile. "On, no sir, we were gone for three days!"
(Mr. Leousis now comes out of character of the past and calmly addresses the class before him, he asks.)
How many of you have been to Disney World, multiple hands go up? Well, I have been there also. In fact, I have lived in Florida with my children, and I have lost count of how many times we had gone there, including Bush Gardens and the other multiple tourist areas of Florida. I am sure those of you who have been to Disney, would agree... (He turns to one of the girls nearby, who had put up her hand in response and seeks her agreement.),...that it takes at least, at least, three to five days to visit Disney World. (He puts out in two fingers on each hand and quotes.), "At least, at a minimum," three days if not longer, to visit the most famous attractions, if not more. (The student he is addressing nods her head in agreement.) Yet, I tell you; Jessica, who had only been away no more than ten minutes at most, was able to describe, "in detail." Rides, events, hotel accommodations, mascots, and animals, she had seen, including three-day breakfasts and what she ate, etc. (Mr. Leousis, calls out as if he is Syllabifying, and pronouncing slowly, each part of three words.) I WAS STUNNED!
I tried to get out some more words to say, but I was a captive in my body; I must have been suffering from what is known as a "traumatic experience." Thus, I remained still. The resilient students "Of the carpet," began to question Jessica, about this, that and the other, the bell went. I was saved! The girls stood up, took, Jessica by both hands and with a continuous chatter, like chicks following the hen, all left the class for recess. I DROPPED, in the chair nearby, staring out into space.
THE JESSICA STORY, PART II.
Within minutes of their exit, a woman appeared at the door. She introduced herself as Jessica's support worker. She moved towards the bookshelves, where Jessica was found initially. Not seeing her there, she returned and asked if I knew where "This child had gone to?" Unable to muster more than a few words, I responded, "She left with her friends for recess." She looked at me puzzled, feeling somewhat responsible and apologetic herself, that she had not informed me earlier about this "special-ed child," Jessica. Exhausted from my ordeal, I managed to move to the exit doors by the play area and pick up the class, following the recess bell. I walked them to their next French class; Jessica was visibly missing. I asked some girls where had Jessica gone, and they informed me that Ms. Caregiver had picked her up. A precious 45 minutes without the class, I was able to regain composure. Upon their return from French class, it was math time. I did little if anything constructive than to hand out some stencils. By the time lunch came around, there was "curious" behavior when I entered the staff room.
Feeling uncomfortable with some staring from the staff, I convinced myself that it was merely my exhaustion and the usual "staring," that one gets when they first arrive at a new school. I simply lodged myself in one of those comfortable sofas and closed my eyes. I began to drift into the familiar place of security; I had come to so many times after, an "enlightening" experience. The place I had come to call the "Elysium." Having recharged my batteries, I regained my strength to complete the substitution. I later sought the refuge of my apartment.
When I arrived at my apartment, I felt immense fatigue, so I lay down to have a nap. Unlike other "regular" days, this was to be a unique respite. I was again called to enter the Elysium for my "just reward." It must have been a few hours later when I was alerted to the sound of my telephone calling me. I picked up the receiver and in a very subdued posture said, "Hello." To my surprise, it was that of the school secretary, from the school I had visited that day. She politely asked how I was feeling and asked me if I would be available to go to the school and meet with the school principal, Ms. Sholarhi, at 10:45h. I agreed and hung up. At that moment, fear begun to grip me. I spoke to myself, saying, "I am finished, I am finished as a teacher!"
The next day, I arrived at Odysseus Elementary, went to the office, where a very cheerful secretary welcomed me and asked me to go next door to the principal's office and knock on the door. I did as instructed, my heart beating and pounding, I entered.
To the right side of the room, lay an elderly gray-haired lady, whom I surmised was Ms. Sholarhi. She greeted me with a smile by standing up when she engaged my sight and calling out, "Mr. Leousis, welcome, please come in." Hardly had she finished her sentence while I was entering the room when I heard a voice calling out, "Mr. Leousis, Mr. Leousis, you saved my child. Thank you, Mr. Leousis, you saved my little girl!":
This stocky young woman, begun to rush at me, like a football player in the tackle. She grabbed me by the waist to hug me and began to try to lift me up... (Laughter breaks out in the class audience.), ...repeating, "you saved my life! " With tears, now filling her eyes, her mascara running by her cheeks; this lady looked as if she had put on makeup for Halloween. (More laughter from the class.) Simultaneously, Ms. Sholarhi rushed over and began to pull her away, saying, "It's alright, Ms. Metera, let Mr. Leousis go. Please, let's all sit down."
Shaken to my foundation, I sat down in shock and tried to react in a positive light. "Mr. Leousis," Ms. Sholarhi began. "What happened in your classroom yesterday"? Immediately, I choked, struggling in the search for words and stuttering once again, "I, I, do not know. I cannot explain." By now, Ms. Sholarhi, noticing my discomfort interjected by saying, "It's alright, Mr. Leousis, I think, I know." She continued: "Mr. Leousis, what do you know about our special-ed student, Jessica, the one that was left in the library yesterday?" Not much," I responded. "I had not met the child until yesterday." Ms. Scholarhi smiled once again, and after receiving a reassuring smile from Ms. Metera, she proceeded to tell me about Jessica:
(At this moment, Mr. Leousis, in his present classroom, substitute teacher's role, lowers his head in preponderance. A solitary moment later, he slowly lifts his head and in a somber, melancholy voice, proceeds to explain what he learned about Jessica from her mother that day, in the principal's office. As he speaks, his eyes begin to water in tears. The class is now, still silent.)
You see..., (He describes to the class before him.) ...according to Jessica's mother, the child had the most traumatic experience. This was the cause of having Jessica to go into a comatose state. The mother explained that Jessica had been their single adopted child. A few months earlier, Jessica, her Mom, and Dad were driving to school as they had done so since Jessica had started school at Odysseus Elementary. In the morning, Jessica would be dropped off at school, and she and her husband would set off for their places of work. That morning of April 22nd, on their way to her school, Jessica, caught sight of some wild daisies, by the side of the road. She begged her Mom and Dad to stop the car while she shortly got out to collect some flowers. Her mother decided to accompany her so that the child would be safe and not make them late. Both Jessica and her mother quickly got out from the passenger side and headed for the wild daisies. As she bent down to collect the flowers, she spoke to her Mom. "I want to give these to Daddy because I love him so, Mommy," she called. "I am his princess, you know," as they, both broke into laughter. As Jessica's mother was relating this to me, she would often burst into tears.
(Mr. Leousis, now choking as he too is relating this to his current class. He pauses once again to catch, his breath.)
Mrs. Metera explained that very often, Jessica and her Dad would engage in a "Cinderella" story, as they drove to school. The discussion would begin when her husband would refer to Jessica as "his princes." Jessica, sitting in the front seat next to her Dad, would often cuddle up next to his side, most mornings. She would after that "instigate" a conversation between them as she had done so many times before: "Ah, Daddy, I am not a princess." Each time her Dad, would rattle on and describe, "his princess," by laughing and describing her "princely hair." As he stroked her head, he would describe the "princely dress," he would buy her for her wedding when she grew up. Including, her Cinderella shoes and so on. He would then describe how he would, one day, dance the most beautiful dance with his princess on her wedding day. Each time, with a gratifying smile, Jessica would laugh and smile by calling out, "Oh, Daddy, you are so silly." They would both break into laughter. Her Daddy would sometimes say, "And when my princess grows up and gets married, I would sneak under your wedding table and steal your Cinderella slipper!". Joyous, laughter would break out between them, followed by an expected, 'tickle, tickle,' of his child while calling out, "My Cinderella, the love of my life!" The three, would all laugh uncontrollably.
Not to be outdone by her Daddy's imagination, she would further remark: "Oh but Daddy, every princess should have a castle." At which point her father would respond, "Castle? Castle? My daughter will have the most beautiful castle of all! When you are a little older, I will take you to Disney World and show you your castle; it's Cinderella's castle since you are my Cinderella!" Again, they would get into wondrous laughter. "But Daddy, can Mommy, Grandpa, and Grandma come too?", "Why for sure," her father would respond. "Uncle, Zeus, and Aunt Artemis too and all of your friends." "But Daddy, how would we get there?" The next question would follow from Jessica. "Would we fly?" "Certainly!" her father would respond. "Would it take long to get there, Daddy?" Jessica would anxiously ask? "Not more than a flash of light," her father would respond. "We would all climb on board this gigantic white unicorn!"
And so it was that bright sunny day, by the road they stopped. When Jessica and her mom got out gathering the precious flowers, a "monstrous" truck, came around the bend, running into the parked car by the roadside. As the child and her mother looked on, her Daddy was no more!
(Mr. Leousis, once again lowers his head, visibly disturbed of what he has just described. He tries to regain his loss of emotional composure before the class. After a moment of total silence by all, he lifts up his head and continues once again.)
When Mrs. Metera could not continue anymore as tears flowed uncontrollably, Ms. Scholarhi continued: "You see, Mr. Leousis, Jessica, has been in total psychological collapse since that incident. We have had some temporary, successes with her by the child attending school but nothing of any consequence. She has been brought to school, each day so that she would be in her familiar school environment as part of her therapy; this was recommended by the school's psychologist, Dr. Warinklein. She would attend here for about two hours every other day. It just so happens that yesterday, when you arrived, she had "signed," Ms. Caregiver, that she wanted to be in the library and that she wanted to be left there alone. Ms. Caregiver was hesitant to leave her alone, so she called the school psychologist for assistance. He advised her that it would be all right as long as Jessica was with other children. When you arrived at the library yesterday, Ms. Caregiver left from the other door for a moment to respond to an urgent call from our office, it was from the psychologist. When she returned a few minutes later, "she swears," Jessica was not there, and the library was empty. She began to look for her, throughout the school and alerted me to this. Did you not hear our announcement on the intercom? "No, not a thing. I am sorry," I responded. "Unexplained, strange things have happened in this school these past 48 hours," Ms. Scholarhi remarked. "Anyway, Mr. Leousis, the stories are flying. I have had many calls from parents in your class, as well as the media." We must not react without knowing the facts. Jessica is now with Dr. Warinklein, the psychologist, and we should have some feedback soon. For now, let us stay positive." "And happy!" Mrs. Metera interjected.
"You see Mr. Leousis," Mrs. Metera continued, "before yesterday, Jessica had no interest in anything. I would not be able to bathe her or have her dress on new clothes or simply, try to comb her pretty curly hair, without her going into an uncontrolled rage. The only thing she liked to do was these sketches." (She reaches for a large sketchbook she has placed on the sofa and presents it to Mr. Leousis.)
(Addressing his class now, Mr. Leousis, remarks.)
"And I suppose by now, you can all guess what was drawn on those pages?" (Several students put up their hands, only to be outdone by those who call out.) "A unicorn!" "A Daisy!" "A dress," "A castle," and so on. "You are all correct" (Mr. Leousis, replies.) "If you were to view this sketchpad, it would be a series of drawings from the storybook of the events in that class. Amazing!". (He continues to describe Ms. Metera's revelations of that day.).
"But today, but today," she repeats herself as she turns to hug Mr. Leousis once again."But today, this morning, she was up early. Washed, got dressed in her favorite clothes, all by herself. She sat at the kitchen table, eager to have her breakfast. My daughter is saved; my daughter is back!" Ms. Metera emphasizes. "Thank you, thank you, Mr. Leousis."
Some two days later, I was called to a special meeting of the School Board. There, I met several administrators, the psychologist, Dr. Warinklein, and some social workers who had worked with Jessica. They, "grilled me" (Mr. Leousis, denotes with his usual two fingers on each hand.), with all types of questions of which I answered truthfully. (Mr. Leousis, chuckles, and smiles.). They thought I was hallucinating. A week later, I received an official letter advising me in "legalese," that according to their legal advisement, I was not to return to that school again. Nor have anything to do with Jessica or any members of her family. When I called Ms. Scholarhi, to ask what the letter was all about, she apologized for the tone of the message. She explained that it was not a judgment on anything I had done but rather a decision, "from the Board," which would best serve the interest of Jessica. Little did Ms. Scholari, know, "I understood completely." since I too, had grown up under such a "controlled" environment because "I. WAS. DIFFERENT!"
(Mr. Leousis addresses the students in his current class.)
"And that ladies and gentlemen is part of my story, the Jessica story."
(Applause breaks out by the class, with student's hands instantly going up, to ask multiple questions.)
By Elias Leousis,
(Η αγάπη είναι το μελάνι, η σοφία είναι το μήνυμα.)
Love is the ink; wisdom is the message!
CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO THE MAIN PAGE
[iii] https://secure.avaaz.org/en/before_the_bees_are_gone_nd_newlay/?link=NearED_633&bxAqtbb&v=39045&lang=en&cid=8643&c=CAD&a=20 http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140502-what-if-bees-went-extinct