Second term had begun, and in the teacher’s lounge surprise, and even disappointment, was expressed at Robin’s class selections, spoken as if the woodshop teacher wasn’t even in the room. Because of their daily talk he knew that this was an uncharacteristic choice for his new student, and that she had been increasingly less academically inclined, was no longer involved in sports and afterschool activities.

The woodshop teacher didn’t need his colleagues’ comments to recognize that Robin wasn’t the typical disenchanted and disenfranchised doper that he usually got in his classes, and he made sure to present her with challenging projects, encouraged her to be creative. Today he showed her the scoring saw and was impressed by her interest and her questions, smiling with her at her delight in the word kerf, which she defined as being “the nothing that is left that is bigger than the cut itself”.

“I want to use the scoring saw to make a design in my table top”, she said, “beautiful kerfs for all to see.”

He agreed, gave some procedural advice, insisted that she roll up her customary long-sleeves, and was more surprised that she readily did so while looking him right in the eye than by the meticulous scoring on her forearms.


Six Sentence Story prompt at  Recording Life Under the Radar using the word score.  


28 thoughts on “Scoring

  1. “…beautiful kerfs for all to see…”
    “…the nothing that is left that is bigger than the cut itself…”
    Such painful beauty in exposing one’s vulnerability to another willing to see beyond what others see. Amazing piece of writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Don’t give me the word “score” and expect a football story. I don’t know much about woodworking either and don’t get “cutting”, but I know it happens and it’s usually girls. Cutting that is. I believe it is anxiety or depression driven then becomes a compulsion. It is not generally thought to be a precursor to suicide. Not sure about woodworking. But who doesn’t enjoy the word kerf?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Moon. I knew I wanted to use this definition of score and then was led to this girl. Her definition of kerf is just that, hers, but I have read one somewhat similar to hers in an old fashioned fat print dictionary. Other definitions simply give it as a scoring cut or beginning cut. It is Old English, could be related to carve.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My pleasure.Rnjoyed your story. This definition of score is also something new. So, thanks for that too.🙂 Carve and kerf do sound like words of the same family .

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember Woodshop! It was during the serenity-laden years I attended William Golding Junior High School.
    My god! All of what you describe in your story (minus the genuine interest in wood-working and tools) and….and! table saws.*

    I’ve encountered only one person (young woman) with the signs of cutting. The most chilling thing about this mindset, (as it is with so many of the household self-destructive aberrations), was the matter of fact way she described the scars. The world is a very strange place.1

    *the second most dangerous tool available without a death wish**
    ** came in second to everyone’s favorite ‘gas-powered, fireworks-like chain saw’***
    *** chain saw motto: “ It’s like being given a live Tiger shark and taking him for a walk in the woods…fun
    1) I wouldn’t have it any other way, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOVE your comments. Yes, this is a chilling story if only because of the setting, middle school. We used to be able to bring our guns to woodshop to refinish the wood and blue the barrels. Then cutting meant skipping school. Times have changed.


  4. Oh Lord, that ending grabbed us firmly by the heart, one could sense from the lines before it that this was a girl who was struggling, but the wounds were much deeper than the callous staff realized. Thankfully one instructor saw beyond her choices and tossed her what could well prove to be a life preserver. I know, I had a woodshop instructor in high school too, and while an honor student, it was my favorite class, having fought administration for three years for girls to be allowed to take it. I still have the walnut stereo table I made in that class 45 years ago!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, sometimes there is talk but no action. I like this shop teacher who is action and little talk. In schools connections are key. I want to thank you for coming by and leaving your thoughts. I am still not able to leave a comment at your site, I am not good with these machines, but was glad to see you continuing the story of the runaway from last week. I look forward to seeing how that unfolds.

      Liked by 1 person

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