Written on a note slipped onto my desk:
Mrs. SmartOne, can u please help me? i think i might be pregnant. but I don't really know cuz my stomach has been hurting. I am late i didn't have a period in all of december. i think maybe we used protection but i don't remember for sure.
This is not the first time that I've had to handle a crisis like this. In some distant place far behind, this would have killed me. I would have held it together through the day so that I could be the supporting adult that the child obviously trusted me to be. I would have discretely gotten all relevant information concerning her last period, sexual activity, and her parents' awareness levels of said sexual activity. I would have done that because I would have recognized that it took a huge amount of courage for her to have told me as an adult she works with everyday, and if I know the important information, then I can repeat it to the nurse — a relative stranger — so that my student wouldn't have to. I would have let her know that no matter what happened, I would be there for her however and whenever she needed me to be.
Today, I will be all that she depends on me to be. But instead of going home to cry myself to sleep as I once would have, I will say a prayer for those of you whose hearts are heavy with the ache of that kind of pain.