Thursday, March 27, 2008

Last night, in the middle of my college class, my students and I heard a knock on the classroom door. I looked at the open doorway, but didn’t see anyone, so I continued talking. Then the knock came again, a very faint tapping. I called out, “Come in”, and was answered by a quiet voice: “Could you please come out in the hall?” I was puzzled, as I’m sure we all were, but I excused myself from the class and went out into the hall. There I met a young, dark-haired woman who was visibly nervous, and who seemed, as I talked with her, strangely sorrowful and scared. She motioned to me to come away from the door so no one would hear, and then she asked me if it was too late to be in my class. She said she was enrolled in the class but that she missed the first two classes because of what she called a “domestic violence” situation. She didn’t describe the situation, but I could tell from her trembling body and frightened voice that she had been through a painful experience. I also couldn’t help but notice the bruise marks around one of her eyes. I assured her that it was not too late to join the class, and I brought out to her the important papers for the class. She smiled uncertainly, thanked me, and turned and walked down the hall to the stairs.

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