What I didn’t expect

What I didn’t expect
at the complicated end of a complicated semester
was that he – who talked through the quiet and through the loud and through the movie and through the reading and through the writing and through it all – 
would declare “Done!”
then stand up and walk, ungainly, to the next table.

I didn’t expect him 
to land his tall body, still heavy with childhood,
in the small plastic chair
next to a slender child
who had embodied invisibility since September.

I didn’t expect him to say,
“You can give me feedback” 
unselfconsciously shoving his words in front of his silent peer.

What I didn’t expect  
was that the second boy
who had spent the semester shrouded in his hoodie, 
his face wrapped in the winding sheet of his wispy brown hair,
the boy who had only used his voice to say “no”
that boy
would use the excuse of a keyboard and “nothing else to do”
to lean towards the awkward offer
and accept.

(I was so stunned that I took a picture of the two of them, hard at work. I don’t have permission to share – I didn’t even ask – but I invite you to imagine it.)