The announcement arrives at 5pm

On a Friday.

I’m moments out of a 45-minute plus 30-minute avalanche of info, parent meeting plus internal logistics of safely reopening.

An exhausting week of planning, replanning, planning again. Managing the safe reentry of 450 kids in the midst of of a pandemic is no longer easy. It probably never was.

I’m hopeful. And ready.

I slowly reach down to lace up my boots and extend my left leg, trying to get a stretch in before footie. 

Looks wet out there

I pause and try to decide whether to tie my shoes now or later. For some reason I’ve never felt compulsive about tying before walking. Something in me likes the flip flap of loose string trailing behind in the grass.

I’m halfway out the door when I remember my mask

Probably need that

I step into the cool evening, mind overloaded and spilling over, when I see the arc of the ball.

I pick up my pace, ready to forget about school and life for a while and just kick things, when Mr. T says a quick hello and holds up his phone

I got a letter from the government.

Suddenly Chuck D takes over

…the other day, I opened and read it, it said they were suckers. They wanted me for their army or whatever

But am quickly jolted back to reality as he, not Chuck, informs me

It’s not good

I see the official stamp and detailed paragraphs in what appears to be some sort of government comm

We will not open Monday.


I pause, waiting for him to say he’s just kidding

The letter just arrived in my email. No schools in Hanoi will open Monday for grades 1-6.



I pause and wait for this turn of events to sink


So it goes, in these COVID times. We sit. And wait. And wonder about the best way forward.

That ball is going to get knocked tonight.

Published by Radutti

Teaching in Ha Noi, screwing things up daily but surviving to write about it. ...everything's perfectly all right now. We're fine. We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you?

Join the Conversation


  1. I like how you included all the small details to slow down this moment. It creates a mood that truly shows your frustration with this time of always needing to stay flexible with Covid in the air. Thanks for sharing. Hang in there.


  2. I really love your style of writing! I was swept right along — and also felt the pauses of Covid life woven through. I giggled about the shoe laces — I’ve noticed a lot of guys are like that and it always drives me crazy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, take it out on the ball. I am glad to be reading your powerful bursts of prose- I looked for your name this year! The details that stood out to me were the cool evening air, the trailing shoelace, the turning back for the mask. I knew we would still be writing covid pieces this year.


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