What kind of a boy would it take to convince two high school teachers to risk their careers?
“Let me tell you what I’m willin’ to do for you. We start a new gang. Very exclusive. You and me.”
Times have changed since Jim Stevens chose to teach. Protocol designed to protect children now makes all pupil/teacher relationships taboo – even those that might benefit a student.
“Promise me one thing, Sir. If you decide you gotta pick up that phone, you tell me first so that I can disappear myself. Because I ain’t havin’ none of that.”
What kind of boy would cause Jim to risk his career? A boy who can clothe a word in sarcasm; disguise disdain with respect. So what is it that Jim finds he has in common with 14-year-old Shamayal Thomas as they study the large framed photograph of an owl that hangs above the fireplace? It is Aimee White’s owl, to be specific. At least, that’s how Jim thinks of it.
“The wings, all spread out and that? They’re kind of like an angel’s.”
A rule-keeper, Ayisha Emmanuelle believes the best way to avoid trouble is by walking away. But, arriving on the scene of what appears to be a playground fight, that isn’t an option. To her horror she finds her colleague Jim Stevens has been stabbed. In the messy aftermath, when Shamayal discloses that he and Jim are friends, Ayisha’s first duty is to report her colleague. But, not knowing if he will pull through, something makes her hesitate. Now, all she can do is wait to see if her instinct was justified. And waiting is something Ayisha has never been very good at.
A powerful exploration of the ache of loss, set in a landscape where broken people can find each other.