The little classroom smelled of energy. Fizz. It was not a smell, I don\’t believe, immediately familiar to those adult bodies squeezed into chairs several sizes too small. It was not a smell of skin. Finger paint. Cleaning products. Its totality was greater than its parts.
The children came in in pairs. Loosely joined at the wrists.
The murmuring unsettled them just a tiny bit. The raw skirts on the Christmas tree they had helped decorate. The fluorescent strip lights striking baubles; the cotton wool on the walls.
Rudolph\’s shiny nose.
My son was one of the last to be seated. One fist fluttering up in salute. I waved back.
The handbell sounded. The children gasped. Santa Claus approached with his sack full of gifts.