Appearance

Dear Terrence,

I was speaking to one of your teachers, and she told me the fascinating way to predict the success of your day from the very early morning classes: your appearance.

“When he comes in with his hair in place, his clothes clean, it usually turns out to be a decent day. But when he comes in with ratty hair or dirty clothes, I think, ‘Watch out.'”

The correlation is obvious: your clothes serve as an indication of your previous evening. If your hair is unkempt and your clothes dirty, it could mean any number of things. Perhaps something happened and you couldn’t go home last night — or perhaps you simply didn’t. What would drive a fourteen-year-old to make such a choice — “It’s better if I don’t go home tonight” — is beyond me, and I don’t mean that in the sense that it’s so incomprehensible as to be stupid. It’s so incomprehensible as to be tragic. An untidy morning appearance could also indicate a rough morning. Or it could be a combination of both. Whatever the case, your occasional rough appearance means some kind of neglect, and that saddens me greatly. It makes my little efforts to be kind to you seem pathetically inadequate. It makes our first meeting — remember how rough that was? — all the more ridiculous. Did I even look at you that day? Did I see you in any way meaningful? Did I even take into consideration all that could have led up to our moment of confrontation?

You communicate your needs to us teachers so vividly sometimes and we don’t even see it. We’re too busy feeling disrespected and angered to open our eyes.

I apologize again for doing that to you.

Sadly,
Your Friend in Room 302

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