Branson is… Branson

Branson is… Branson.gang

Foulest mouth in school, knows an awful lot about the Italian mafia, a kid or two out of wedlock, 21, and beligererent. We bonded over saving a professor some obvious agony from another student, I think. Or something. And then one day he was gone. For three weeks.

He* came back in desperation, the day OF finals, and I learned the whole story. Of a kid who had totally gone wrong after his father had died. The angry boy had left home and dropped out of school at 17, ended up in a street-gang of sorts, I suspect, and in jail a few times. He had no money, no life, no tomorrow. He spent his weekends at the Locker Room, a notorious place downtown.

And he tried to change. He got a job. He went back to school. And he found out about a child he never knew he had, a three-year-old son. He engaged himself to the mother, and he was trying. Trying SO hard. He was so close.

And then the mother turned on him, because he suspected his son was not his own. She threw his laptop on the sidewalk and broke it. And his cell phone. And EVERYTHING he had.

And now he was going to finish with Fs.

A professor told me that he was going to try to save Branson’s grade.

I saw the desperation in Branson’s eyes that day. The Italian Mafia look was almost convincing, but I could tell he wasn‘t okay. He was smoking an awful lot, and pale under his dark skin.

I mentioned it as off-handedly as possible. I am a tutor, you know. I can help. I didn’t want to help though. I’m no amazing person. I was beyond exhausted.

We sat there at the cafeteria and crammed information into him, an hour before the final. We went to one teacher together and told her the story. She agreed to help him make it up. We sat down and crammed again. And crammed. And cracked jokes. And he made it. With good grades.

I didn’t get any thanks. I didn’t want any. I felt raw as I saw the man who was trying to pull his life together trying so hard. He brought me lunch, for helping him. Granted, he let another guy [Jay] eat it, because I didn’t get there in time {I ended up kicking Jay in the shins, much to the amusement of everyone around}. And I was exhausted and torn.

He finished.

I have no lesson. No great insight. Helping people hurts. Loving people hurts. It tears your insides out like a devil in a blender. And I help because I see my parents help… I’m no hero. I see those around me helping.

So unworthy to love those around me.

How dare I look down?

Teach me.

*all names have been changed for the protection of those involved


2 thoughts on “Branson is… Branson

  1. The hardest thing about helping others is to not expect any thanks or appreciation for all your hard work. Human nature causes us to be disappointed when we don’t get any praise when we “deserve” it. But then, you didn’t do it for praise, you did it because it is your nature to help when you can; you did it because you are a child of God.

  2. It’s amazing what happens when you start looking past exteriors and see the people…and it’s amazing when you can help them. Some of my most rewarding college experiences came from my brief periods of tutoring. Keep your heart, eyes, and ears open. 🙂

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