A moment of teaching at Kaua`i Community College:
"Well, I probably won't be here next week."
"Well, there is family stuff and then there is dealing with the family stuff..."
"Like - "
"Well," he shifts his weight in the chair, looking at me briefly. "I already dropped all of my other classes to buy the plane ticket home to deal with the family stuff, and now I need money - "
I listen, heartbroken, but silent.
"And, so if I keep this class, then that means I can't work on Fridays at this job I just got because I have to be on campus - but only for 50 minutes - " and his eyes meet mine. We both know what is next.
"So this is it then," I say evenly to not insult him with "you can make it work's" and "it will all work out's."
"Yeah," he says with balanced acceptance.
"Sucks," I reply academically.
"And all this stuff, with the stuff, sounds like there is no other way," I have to try.
"Nah. But at least I tried. And what if I just have to put off college for one more semester," he says, not for the first time.
"Right," I play because there is no other role available. "Well," I inhale, "I do need you to know that this is a bummer, and not for the obvious reasons, and I wish you could stay... " I recross my legs. "However, since you can't, just know you will be missed."
We both exhale, except I simultaneously suck in my stomach and squelch the rising frustration that for the second semester in a row, a star student has had to willingly commit to dropping his education, again, for money.
And just like that, book bag over shoulder, they are gone.