Saturday, March 3, 2007

688 days, 3 hours, 50 minutes, 17 seconds

The woman beside her on the plane back from Atlanta doesn't seem to mind when she puts her coat then her computer on the middle seat, between them. They don't speak until the plane's landed on the tarmac (early) and has to wait before it can get to the gate. The woman asks first if she lives in New York, then says she used to live here, they moved to Atlanta a year ago. Her husband's building was destroyed in 9/11. He applied for a transfer just after that, but it took until last year. She's a reading specialist. The day she found out she'd been promoted to principal was the same day her husband's transfer came through.

She's coming back for a court case, the woman says. A student she taught in middle school seven years ago became a drug addict. Now the mother's suing her – not the school, her – because she taught the class Harry Potter and that was her son's introduction to first magic, then drugs. It was all over the papers seven years ago. The statute of limitations is about to run out. So now she has to spend a week away from her eight-year-old and her two-year-old. Six former colleagues have been called in to testify (two others have since died). And of course if she's cleared of the charges she'll counter-sue.

Stay tuned.