TALKING BODY: SCARS

by Hannah Kloepfer

SCENE 1: A PLACE OF LEARNING

(YOU have just entered a parent/teacher conference. When you arrive, there is soft music playing in the classroom, and TEACHER is sitting at her desk grading history tests. She’s got an interesting look -YOU bet she’s got a story to tell. A nameplate on her desk reads (in perfect cursive) S. Carr. The classroom is at once familiar and overwhelming, filled to the brim with ideas and dreams. Bookshelves lined with journals. Self portraits-- some flattering, some worrisome-- hang from clothespins on fishing wire. Those Mr. Sketch scented markers from your childhood sit neatly on TEACHER’s desk. YOU take a quick whiff of the dark blue one (the best one!) before having a seat.)

Image:  Pinterest

Image: Pinterest

YOU

Sorry I’m late.

TEACHER

Thanks for coming in.

YOU

What do we need to talk about? Is she okay?

TEACHER

Let me begin by saying, your inner child has been a delight this semester.

(YOU check your phone three quick times in the row. Once for messages. Once to check the time. Again to check the time because you forgot what it said. TEACHER continues.)

She is wildly artistic.

YOU

(overly friendly)

Yes! She always has been. I wish she had more time to draw.

TEACHER

What’s keeping her?



YOU

Oh, we keep busy. And too much screen time? And lots of work at home, but you know that.

Image:  Pinterest

Image: Pinterest

TEACHER

It’s good you bring that up. I’ve noticed she works best when she has an accountability partner. That is, her work in a group is incredibly clear, but work done at home lacks a certain organization that I’ve come to expect from her. Often times, this pattern is a result of some sort of anxiety at home.

I wonder if you worked with her on certain projects, she might be more efficient and then maybe even have more time to play?

YOU

What do you mean anxiety? Like she’s troubled?

TEACHER

She just seems strained. Maybe something in her environment is causing pressure or fear. I suggest that you spend a little time together to recreate the teamwork energy she thrives in at school. You could even try a little game where she plays the teacher and you play the student.

YOU

(laughs)

I was always terrible at history. Never saw the point. But also have a terrible memory. Maybe she could help me with that.

TEACHER

I bet she could. She loves history.

YOU

(laughs again)

Lord knows where she gets that from. I’m always telling her to look forward,  plan ahead. Set goals.

TEACHER

Really.

YOU

Of course. Fast track to success, we say.

TEACHER

She had the most interesting comment in class the other day. We were doing a unit on sustainable development, and I’ll do a disservice to the moment, but... she came across the adage “children are our future” and questioned how it could be true-- she sees so much of herself in you, so she argued that “grown ups” are the future. Then she stopped and said “but they’re also the past. Can a person be both?”

YOU

She really said that?

TEACHER

Which part?

YOU

Seeing herself in me.

TEACHER

Oh. Yes.

(The phone rings. YOU rifle through your bag to tend to it.  YOU raise your hand as if to say “one sec.” YOU answer the phone.)

YOU

No, no, it’s not a bad time. … Yes I can get that in by end of day… What’s end of day? Oh. 8PM? Eastern? I can work through dinner… you know, let me call you back in a few minutes.

(YOU hang up)

So sorry about that. What were we saying?

Image:  Pinterest

Image: Pinterest

TEACHER

I won’t keep you too long. But there is something I’m eager to share with you. Your child, as I mentioned, is a talented artist and burgeoning historia--

YOU

(scoffs)

Really employable skills.

TEACHER

Right. So. She really excelled in our art history unit. We explored traditions from different cultures, and she was particularly moved by the Japanese practice of kintsuji.

This art is the practice of repairing broken items (such as pottery) with precious metals such as gold, silver, or platinum. So we painted plates, wrapped them in towels to gently crack them with mallets, and then reassembled them with gold-colored paste. It embraces broken things as beautiful while teaching creative problem solving, and positive psychology.

Image:  Pinterest

Image: Pinterest

(TEACHER pulls a reconstructed  plate out from under the desk)

She called her work, MEmories. Sophisticated wordplay for her age.

(YOU pick up the plate. It’s a portrait. Two women hold hands, one smaller than the other. The crack drives right through their hands, mended with a new sparkle. YOU stare at it for a few moments.)

TEACHER

Lovely work, no? Maybe kintsuji is something you two could explore together at home.

YOU

(pauses)

Oh, I haven’t the tim--

TEACHER

In fact, consider it homework. A cracked plate and some glitter can work wonders for the soul.

YOU

Well… I do love a deadline.

(A phone rings. YOU ignore it, writing down your assignment in your planner)

YOU

But you think she’s doing okay in general? Math? Socially? I’m worried she doesn’t have a lot of friends. Kids can be mean.

TEACHER

She’s doing just fine.

YOU

I had the worst time at her age. I don’t want her to get hurt.

TEACHER

If she gets hurt, she’ll heal. I think a little personal attention is all she needs, and she’ll be on the, what did you say? Fast track.

YOU

To success.

TEACHER

Whatever that means.

YOU

What else can she do to improve?

TEACHER

Image:  Pinterest

Image: Pinterest

Naps are always good. Never too old for naps. Healthy lunch. Lots of water. Plenty of playtime.

YOU

Sounds like good advice for both of us.

(TEACHER rises from the desk to shake your hand. Hint of a smirk on her face. For the first time YOU notice she’s covered in marks-- little scrapes, paint under her fingernails, calluses on her hands, tattoos on her arms. Every inch a story earned.)

TEACHER

Have a great summer.  You know I’m always here if you want to reach out. Or study some history.

(TEACHER winks. YOU shake her hand. TEACHER then gives YOU a small piece of paper. The whole experience reduced to some scribbled notes. It reads: Good participation but distractible. Handwriting needs to be improved. Pleasure to have in class. As YOU leave Miss Carr’s space, you slip the dark blue marker into your bag.)

Hannah Kloepfer is a PAW: Producer, Actor, Writer based in NYC. This multi-hyphenate is currently working as a writer’s assistant, developing content and culture for DonorUP, and lending her voice to various animated characters and commercials. Her migraine hasn’t reared its ugly head in some time; she hopes it’s found peace...wherever it went; life’s a whole lot better without it. Follow Hannah @hannahkloepfer and visit the magic that is www.sedimentcreative.com and www.donorup.org