can’t go to the meeting tonight because I’m working. In the dark he whips his head around and cringes when cars go by. I have to stand up again because the motion sensor in the empty classroom shut off the lights. The active shooter drill in the office is scheduled for Wednesday. He’s from Afghanistan and marked for death. The new apartment buildings are very beautiful.
I wave my arms in the dark with him, my only student. Last week was the meeting about what to do if ICE comes to the door. I stand up and wave my arms, but I don’t need to go that far in this classroom because the sensor is more sensitive. New apartment buildings are going up. Sometimes we jump up and down in the dark. My only student in that classroom is a former military translator.
The nice apartments are for the growing population of highly paid tech workers flooding the city from our software giant, Epic. The number of refugees accepted by the government is down, and even the refugees who get here have to find work right away, so as soon as I start teaching them English the job center finds them work. Two guys on a motorcycle on the streets of Kabul. The bus takes too long.
The lights were on for a while and then went off again, and we waved our arms and laughed. He told me that he couldn’t go outside here after dark. This sensor is better. Motorcycles are the worst. In this room I just need to lean forward and roll my shoulders a little. The students who still attend live in our low-income neighborhood, but affordable housing in this neighborhood is disappearing.
I rock like at the wailing wall or a mosque. It’s being redeveloped into higher rent properties. In the other classroom there are no refugee students at all. I sit in the dark and lean forward and rock. New arrivals live and work farther away. I haven’t rocked enough. It’s the preferred way to kill you in Kabul. Or stood up and moved around. He thinks he’s in Afghanistan again.
It means my students need to take one, two, three busses. They are cleaning or doing laundry or farm work or construction, and they stop coming to class. Tonight there’s a meeting at the radio station about the shooting there. The immigration and resettlement agencies I work with say we are now at less than half capacity. The lights shut off again.