Mornings

     I drive there every morning.
Santa Barbara City College sits on a cliff overlooking the beach and staring at the Pacific Ocean.
     I make a right into the curving driveway, pass the brown tube like booth at the entrance, the yellow bar rises as I pass on to the campus. I shift in my seat, unloose my safety belt and check my lips in the rear view mirror of my red Honda CRV.
     Am I ready for the day? I smile. I look forward to Alex, Yacoob and Maha. They always arrive early. Alex is interesting. He’s Bulgarian, tall and lean and eager to learn English. Yacoob and Maha are husband and wife. They are a 50ish year old couple. Yacoob was a teacher of mathematics back in Syria and Maha a teacher of economics. I think of them as my mind anticipates my morning. I expect it will be the usual.
     I follow the black tar road and it curves to the east. The cream walls and black framed windows of the Administration building slide by on the left and a green jacket moving behind a tree catches my eye. Juan, the regular landscape worker is on the lawn clipping and chipping away at the grass. I let my left hand uncurl from its grip on the car frame and I wave and smile. In another second, I slow down for a road bump as I push on the accelerator to ride toward my office I look to the right and my eyes are captured by the view. It never grows old.
     The blue rises in the distance and strings of white clouds decorate the sky. At the bottom of the canvas are the white frilly waves. As I let my eyes move down and back up, I sigh with the comfort of familiarity.
     I drive slowly to the end of the car park, pull the car into a spot facing the ocean and I stop, breathe, check my watch and step out of the car. I turn my back on the ocean and make my way up the white concrete slope to my classroom. As I reach the long low lying cream building to the left, I walk toward room CC #226 and push open the black steel door and enter. I stop for a minute, adjust my bag and say “Good morning Alex, you are here early as usual.” Alex does not turn or raise his head from the book. “Hello Ms. Bacchus, I’m trying to finish the reading.” I laugh. Students are always trying to catch up.
     I open the cabinet, get out my books, my black erase pens and walk over to the right side of the classroom and punch the button on the computer. A green light, a vibration and a slow glow slowly expands on the screen, eventually light and one by one icons pop at the bottom. I grab a black erase pen turn completely around and write out the agenda for the day. As I proceed to the desk I hear the hinge of the door give a little squeak and I know it is Cole. He bounces in .. white headphones stuck into his ears, huge grin on his smooth baby face and “Hi Ms. B, what’s doin’ … had a great weekend.” He drags out his chair at the end of the back row and drops into it. His desk bumps the one in front, it rocks forward. My gaze sweeps over the twelve six feet grey desks sitting in straight rows. I groan when my eyes hit the well trodden blackish greyish rug dying on the floor.  And, then I look up and laugh as Cole rocks back to cock his feet on the desk.
     As I curse the dean and recall the many complaints emailed, I hear the chatter of voices in the open air of the door. I turn; I smile. Like sunshine young faces brighten my day.
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