last week i ran into one of my first year students in mos burger. it was the first time i had seen her wear something other than her school uniform. i was startled at how beautiful and grown-up she looked in little heels and spring colors. she was all enthusiasm when she saw me. she hooked my arm like an old friend and peppered me with questions. when i sat down near her table, she introduced me to both her older sister and her little sister. she was glowing.
i was disappointed in myself for not knowing her name--she was one of the 300 students i had only once per week, but i did remember she had asked me if she looked truly japanese. after some consideration, i decided, no, not entirely...she looked like she could be from spain, maybe. when i told her this, it clearly thrilled her to be considered exotic-looking.
the next week i discovered her name was kaori. i was looking forward to seeing her again so i could call her by name, so i could demonstrate that i knew who she was and cared about her too.
i just found out kaori was killed in an accident two days ago.
my grief is startling. i feel she was stolen from my very hands. she was just here! there are no words.