Today I was approached by a geometry teacher that sends me a lot of tutoring business. I used to teach with her, so anytime a kid is having trouble and the parents ask who she’d recommend as a tutor, she recommends me. She also was my teacher when I took pre-calculus, so I’ve known this woman a long time.

She said, “Hey, come talk to me when you’re done tutoring today. I need to ask you a favor.” As I tried to figure out what that favor might be, she said, “It’s not bad. Just come talk to me.”

So I went to see her after I was finished, and she asked me to do something that makes me happy and very very sad at the same time. Starting tomorrow, I will be helping a student from New Orleans get caught up in Geometry. I met her, and she looks terrified. She probably is terrified. Fourteen years old, I’d guess, in a school where she knows no one, where teachers are all making a huge fuss, and she doesn’t know the status of her home.

Carolyn, my friend, said, “I don’t know what the situation is with money–” and I said, “Carolyn. This is free. I’ll help her for free.”

I cannot ask for money from someone who has lost so much. If anyone insists on paying me for this, and I hope they don’t, I will turn around and donate it to Katrina Relief somehow.

I am so very, very blessed. I’ve always known it. But seeing the fear in this girl’s eyes made my heart smash into a billion pieces today. I ache for her, and there’s not much I can do — except help her in math and be kind to her while I do it.

Hopefully, I will not cry, though I make no promises for when I get back to my car afterwards. I’ll make sure to have a box of tissue at the ready just in case.