“Good morning, may I please speak with Mr. Meniconi?”
“Mr. Meniconi, this is Linda Hart, the counselor from Holy Trinity. We have an issue with Marisol and we need you to come to the school immediately.”
“She’s fine right now. We will talk about the details when you arrive.”
Marisol sits in the chair blinking from Principal Newman to Ms. Hart as she makes this phone call. She knows her dad must be freaking out on the other end. This morning was the same as every morning. She eating her yogurt at the counter, grabbing a banana to go, asking him for five dollars that he gave to her, kissing her on the top of her head as he moved to the refrigerator to get the cream for his coffee.
Everything about today was normal. Except this phone call.
“Hi, I’m Mr. Meniconi. I got a call from the counselor that I need to come in about my daughter, Marisol. Is she here?”
Marisol looks to where he stands in the office to be brought back to have the talk. Their eyes meet but Marisol looks away when she sees the worry in his face.
“Mr. Meniconi, please come in and have a seat next to Marisol.”
“Will someone please tell me what this is all about?”
“Marisol seems to be cutting herself.”
“What? I don’t understand.”
“She asked to go to the restroom during Algebra. When she returned, her teacher noticed blood on Marisol’s blouse. The school nurse was called and bandaged Marisol’s arms but older cuts were discovered on her legs. We also found a pocketknife in Marisol’s backpack.”
“I still don’t understand. She’s fourteen-years-old. I give her everything a teenager can want. How is this happening? What are we going to do?”
“I am sorry. We’re not equipped to deal with the issues that Marisol presents. Her psychological needs are too many. Then, there is the matter of having brought a weapon to school.”
“Excuse me. You call me to tell me that my daughter is hurting herself and you’re talking about a weapon? I’ve paid the tuition here. I’ve paid the tuition all the way from when she attended kindergarten in this system. You don’t have the resources to help?”
“As stated in the handbook, we have a zero tolerance policy for weapons. We don’t plan to expel her to tarnish her record but we cannot help in matters such as this. We can provide resources to help but she cannot remain a student here at Holy Trinity.”
“This is beyond words. You know her mother is not around, right? That it’s just me and her and now you abandon her. What kind of ungodly institution is this?”
“We’re very sorry to both you and to Marisol. We understand life has not been easy on either of you. However, there is nothing more we can do to help at this point. We suggest you contact your family doctor who can assist you further.”
Marisol looks to her dad, the shoulders of six foot two frame slump in the chair next to hers and the gray hair about which she jokes with him about dying, seems duller. He looks back to her.
“Marisol, let’s go. We’ll figure this out. We always do.”