“You must never let him draw a triangle!” Mrs. June’s strange demand played in the back of Caroline’s head throughout the morning. The young, gaunt mother seemed worn out when she pulled Caroline aside while dropping off her son. Caroline could not help but notice Mrs. June’s haggard appearance.
The dark bags under her sparkling brown eyes hinted at days, if not weeks of insomnia. A faint odor made Caroline worry that one of her students had an accident before she realized it originated from Mrs. June. The kindergarten teacher tried not to be too judgemental. No matter how poor the mother’s hygiene seemed to be; her son appeared to be healthy and clean. Caroline did not know what the mother was going through, but she seemed to have a lot on her mind.
The morning passed quickly while Caroline got to know her class. She planned out several activities and everyone had a good time. Everyone, except Gemi. The dark-haired boy sat quietly at the back and only participated as much as he needed to. During one walk through the class, Caroline noticed that a notebook sat on Gemi’s desk. It was opened to a blank page while he twiddled a pencil in his fingers.
“He wants to draw one!” The odd realization crystallized in Caroline’s head; it only added to the mystery. “He knows he’s not supposed to, but he wants to! Why?” The teacher’s question was answered by the lunch bell. Even before she dismissed them, most of the class was gone in seconds.
“We’re going to have to work on their bell discipline.” Caroline was glad to see that Gemi was the last student left; he did not even seem in a hurry to leave his desk.
“Everything okay, Gemi?” She asked. Caroline sat on the desk next to his.
“Uhuh,” he said while keeping his gaze on the blank notebook.
“Don’t you want to go to the cafeteria? Eat, maybe make some friends?” Caroline asked. Gemi shook his head, but did not look up at her.
“I already have a friend.”
“Oh, I’m sure you do,” Caroline said. She guessed it was an imaginary friend and wanted to encourage some real friends. “But, you can always use more friends, right? Both of you. What’s his name?” Gemi looked up from the notebook at that question.
“Her name is Geni,” he said.
“Oh? What class is she in?” Caroline genuinely hoped there was a class.
“She doesn’t go to school,” Gemi said.
“Of course not,” Caroline thought. “Well,” she said. “What kinds of things do you and Geni do together? I’m sure some of the kids would love to play too?”
“My mom said I can’t,” Gemi shook his head quickly. Caroline felt a sudden twinge of concern.
“You can’t… what? Play with other kids?” Gemi shook his head again, but it was less frantic this time.
“I can play. But, Geni and I like to draw triangles. Mom said I can’t draw triangles anymore, and I can’t play with my sister anymore.”
“Your sister?” Caroline was stunned. “Why can’t you play with your sister?” Gemi glanced around the classroom to make sure they were still alone. Then, he leaned closer to Caroline; she hunched closer as well. “Mom says she’s evil. That’s why she has to stay on the other side.”
“The other side of what?” Caroline asked. Her mind began planning what she was going to say when she reported it; she wasn’t ready for Gemi’s answer.
“The triangle,” he said.
“The one mom won’t let me draw.” Caroline was surprised when she did not even debate the action; she put a pen on the lined, blank paper.
“I’ll let you,” she said. “Maybe Geni wants to come to school too?” Gemi’s dark brown eyes widened; he smiled and nodded.
“Please!” He grabbed the pen, but stopped and stared at the notebook. Then, he looked up with pleading eyes.
“It’s too small,” he said. “She can’t fit out of there,” he said the next part while staring through Caroline. She turned and realized he was eyeing the blackboard. The kindergarten teacher was determined to play this out. If nothing else, she hoped having nothing happen after drawing a triangle would help settle his imagination.
“Go ahead,” she smiled. “Draw me a huge triangle!” Gemi bolted to the chalkboard and grabbed the longest piece. He stared at the board for a long moment, then he drew a long, angled line from the middle of the board to the bottom. He added a second coming up from the bottom to somewhere in the middle at a 45-degree angle. He started to connect them, but stopped halfway.
“Are you sure it’s okay if she comes?” Gemi asked. Caroline nodded with a smile.
“The sooner the better! She can join us for the rest of the class.”
“‘Kay!” Gemi chirped then he turned back and connected the last line necessary to form a triangle. Caroline did not realize she was holding her breath until she relaxed.
“Of course nothing happened,” she berated herself mentally. She took a single step forward to talk to Gemi, but stopped in her tracks. The blackboard got blacker; the interior of the triangle suddenly looked darker than the rest of the board.
“Did that,-” she pointed at the board to ask Gemi a question; she was not ready for the pale, child’s hand that shot out of the triangle. Gemi reached up, grabbed the hand and pulled.