There was an altercation at my job between two young men. The youngest and smallest of the two stormed into the computer lab, chest puffed and lips tight, while the oldest and biggest sat by one of the Dell computers. Cursing ensued. “Pussy. Mother fucker. Fuck you. Who’s soft now, pussy?” Suddenly, Young Small Boy towered over Old Big Boy and slammed his short hands on his broad chest. Old Big Boy’s nostrils flared. He gripped the chairs arms and seethed like a venomous Cobra. His eyes glared at his attacker. My breath stopped for an instant. I heard my voice. I heard myself exclaim, “Don’t hit him back!” I felt my pepa™ clench in fear. My heart accelerated. I felt myself in trouble, in danger, and so I did the one thing I thought to do: looked up at the ceiling, hoping that God, my abuela, my Tia Argentina, would protect me from a potential physical brawl.
And they did.
In mere seconds, Young Small Boy’s sister grabbed him and led him out the door. Old Big Boy did not follow or retaliate. I thanked him for his self-control as things could have become chaotic and irreparable. I exhaled but know that this is the last straw.
I was the only staff on the scene. The only “mentor” in the office at the time. I was left alone with 12 students who can become aggressive, rude, and uncontrollable in a heart beat. And so I am ready to bow out. I am ready to spread my wings and float above my role of “caseworker,” if only for my sanity and safety.