Safe Spaces

I was saved from the teacher’s lounge.

I am a teacher. It seems like a place where I should go to lounge.

I was sitting at a long table perpendicular to the door. I had just caught up with my teammate as we microwaved our frozen meals.

We exchanged the typical, “How’s your morning going?”

“Oh, no one threw up on your carpet today. Good day then!”

I had joined the microwave queue before him, and I had already begun digging into my now only half frozen entree. I heard the beeep, beeep, beeep of a timer. Next, I expected to her the creaaak, kerplud of the door opening and closing as my teammate headed back to his classroom.

Instead, I heard a whispered “tsssk, Torrey” and saw him motioning for me to come with him. Thinking he had some insider intel to share, I asked in a conspiratorial tone, “What’s going on?”

“Nothing,” he responded, “I just don’t love eating in the lounge. Come eat in my room.”

I don’t think the lounge is that bad, but I see his point. People have made concerted efforts to help it feel like a happy, encouraging place. I’ve met some wonderful colleagues in the lounge. However, just like a house doesn’t become a home without a family, the mood of the lounge changes with every shift of the lunch schedule.

I have thought a few times while conversing (eavesdropping) and eating in the lounge, “I don’t know you that well. But I know you have a lot of problems with your husband. But I don’t think he knows that. And that’s a problem.” Sometimes, when you’ve been with children all day, you just want to vent. I’m for it. I get it. But let’s make sure we share some joy too.

It was kind of my teammate to invite me to eat with him. Maybe next time I’ll invite him to the lounge.

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