Serile a decende com
Fralie monshew flope
Al lad hel
Seven near tears left my eyes writing this. For the first time in a thousand, my heart had been dashed with a dagger which struck a harder blow than any man’s sword could. A beautiful young girl did it. Whether or not this dagger stayed in was my choice. Since leaving us, the pain was the only way I could remember her.
Jane Berra was her name. My age. In my English, Maths, and Languages class. Friends with everyone, enemies only to people smeared in animosity. Jane was still kind to those people. She was kind to everyone. Everyone wanted to know her. I admired her and oft hoped she’d become my friend one day. Staring affectionately in sight of her strolling down the hall with her stockpiled friends mobile each time languages class began, served to remind others they bloody well treat her nicely, or else.
“Buenas tardes clase binevenido a la clase de Espanol. Lean los libros y pronto, hablar con las parajas,” the teacher hiccuped through two blue festered lozenges. I poked holes through the foreign textbook. An adventure waited through thick snubbed grammar. Spanish was a brilliant language, boasting a fine sound of rhythmical run ons and grand floating words you hoped wouldn’t end to avoid the rush each ring brought. Nobody else took such a joy. They consumed their minds in the bottom of their pockets, with stories of their weekends, past or forthcoming. Or they stared menacingly at me. I took no notice, which confused them a lot more. A hot headed response was what they wanted. I took no notice.
The teacher woozled three stars in a finger, stealing all distractions out the sky. “Never get’s old does it. Right, we’re moving onto group discussion. We’re going to mix it up though. You boys go and pair up with the girls over there. Eric, Sandy and Cheyanne go pair up with those people. And ah Mr. Coy, you can pair up with Miss. Berra. For the rest of the lesson while I make a call elsewhere, practice your Espanol.” He wizzled his hands again, all the way to the office. Not all teachers were unique like Mr. Rodrigo. Unashamed of using flailing arms to grab attention there was a certain respect students had for such ambiguous mannerisms because so often they dared to be different to hide their own insecurities.
Jane shuffled in alignment with me. This was the first time I’d ever been so close to her. Too embarrassed to try any talk in English, I hid under the Spanish flower bed, gathering a bouquet soft, warm, full of care.
“Buenas tardes, me llamo Jim y todos los dias me encanta leer en la biblioteca. Mis novellas favoritas son historias con jiros y se convierte. a ademas quedaba dormido. Y tu? Te Gustas hacer en el libro tiempo?” When learning a foreing language, speaking slowly seemed made the whole process simple and relaxing. Trying to eclipse the Native speakers in speed talk...well first I better dam well know how to speak the language. If it comes out wrong, fast or slow, you’d see a lot of people with warm teeth looking at you. I could see Jane’s teeth now; they were crystal white, perfectly aligned.
“That was really beautiful Jim. You’ve got a lovely voice. It’s well suited to speaking Spanish,” she said, with a wide eyed smile.
I stared at the ground. It was the first time anyone had ever said something nice to me in High School. “Thank you.” She seemed a bit bewildered so, without pause and assessing the potential consequences, I spoke again. “I’m really sorry. It’s my fault for using vocabulary that won’t be used until Semester 4. I really shoul....”
Jane raised her hand giggling innocently. Her face had gone cuddly, as if she were holding a teddy bear as the words trickled out sweetly into the air. “Oh don’t be sorry, you did great. It’s so cute that you read so far ahead to learn that Spanish. Just by what you said, I don’t think anyone here could speak the language better than you.” Her face had gone cuddly, as if she were holding a teddy bear as the words trickled out sweetly into the air.
I stared down again, gathering thought. Here was the most popular girl in school, complementing me.
“Thank you” I muttered quickly again, diving onto the cushioning grace of a hardback text book. “Te gustar ver las peliculas con los amigos?”
We stared in polar opposite directions, meeting in the middle; Jane was ready. “Si, en el fin de semana, con mis amigos veas las peliculas en mi casa porque mi dinero gastaba en ropa.”
Falling in love takes time. Falling for a girl can happen in an instant. Jane had managed to chime that small bell inside of me, more so than she had done with others. It was amazing she could speak with such fluidity. The upper four inches searched for ideas into how such brilliance of a foreign language could be mastered. Nothing. She was still smiling. Oh the joy of having such a beautiful girl smiling and staring at you.
The next six weeks of school melted up into a hazy recollection of daydreams and rather forgetful moments. I finished Call of the Wild three times; centred around a dog called Buck, who gets smuggled and sold into a life of hardship as a sled dog; over time, Buck becomes accustomed to the hard life, developing into the leader of the pack but is unable to resist the calling he feels to be a wild dog. I developed a fond respect and admiration for Buck because he bore resemblance of somebody I so badly wanted to be; the leader who people revered, someone adept to the conditions, capable of blending into any environment he’s shoved into. Books may be make believe but what we can learn from them is amazing. After the Spanish class with Jane, her persona stood out to me a lot more. You never needed to glance far without seeing the influence she had made on others. Such a bright, quick loving soul, full of energy and vigour, qualities so many people lacked, she popularized them. She was the real life version of Buck. Adaptable, a natural leader, caring and honest.
Walking home three weeks before break, there was an incident at the intersection on the main road. Frankie, one of Jane’s best friends thought it funny to let out a million papers, effectively making it someone else’s problem. A small crowd had build up to witness the huge catastrophe. People that do silly things are annoying but oddly the scene seemed beautiful, with hundreds of loose leaf paper flying about in the swirling wind. I watched from afar, to make sure Frankie or his friends saw me. They didn’t really like me too much, which was fine. Not liking unpopular people was part of their reputation. Turning around for the round trip home, I silently humiliated myself by walking into a pole. From a walk to a jog, it was about time to walk those 10 blocks home.
“You really are the most innocent little boy around Jim,” a gentle voice said from behind. Jane stood there, three books in her hand, a green backpack on. “Such a shame isn’t it,” she nodded in the direction of paper flow, “Frankie isn’t a bad guy Jim, he’s a wonderful young man. Just misunderstood that’s all.”
I loved how she always saw the good in him, despite his notoriety for bullying quieter people like me.
“Say, we’re heading in the same direction. You want to join me on the walk home?”
“Uh, I don’t know. You’d get very bored around me. I’m not very interesting.”
Jane ambled down the road majestically, oblivious about Jim’s remarks. In that moment it became clear she’d had a go at collecting every experience she could, squeezing everything into her life jar. Beauty pageants likely came first. You got the feeling Jane didn’t have pushy parents, else she wouldn’t have that kind of elegant strut. I watched her walk but kept my guard up. Looking at her gave away cues about her life, family and experiences. I hoped she didn’t notice things as easily as it seemed. Her hair was perfectly aligned and her books neatly ordered in her arms. Not a speck of dust on the pink swirly, where she stood proud with her parents.
“I like the way you walk.”
Jane nearly dropped her books. Her face became mysterious. She looked up at the sky.
“Oh Jim you are one funny guy. You really do notice things many people don’t, I like that. What else do you notice when you look at me?”
“Um, I dunno if I can do this Jane. What if you go about telling people these things. I’d never be left alone by Frankie and his buddies. So I’m not sure.”
“Oh Jim don’t be silly.”
It seemed sincere enough how she said it. The tone people communicate in is a dead giveaway on how truthful they are. Too unnaturally monotonous or pitchy patchy and they’re lying. Jane didn’t alter at all. Scared stiff and completely lost track of how I’d even ended up walking with her. After a few deep breaths, I lowered the plates of inner protection and went for it
“I see a girl that likes to try new things. You were in beauty pageants from a young age and sometimes when you’re alone; pretend to be on the catwalk in your mirror.” Jane smiled and affirmed this. “Your parents have never been pushy and always trusted you a lot more at a young age than other parents, which is why everyone likes you, even people who don’t like you find a way to love you. Trusting and loving. During the morning you always tie your hair up. I think you like being organised. And you like to spend money too. You said so in Spanish class six weeks ago.”
Taking in heavy breaths, my heart nearly came out my mouth. What was Jane thinking? My gut told me she was trying to think of something nice to say but really she thought I was a creep. I was a creep. What use is it having these gifts? No good. A good memory is good for nothing more than memory snap. An ability to read body language ain’t much use considering I could hardly string two sentences together. And we’re not even living in a Spanish speaking country so learning a language faster than others wasn’t much help. I wasn’t brave, strong, charming or rich, which seemed to be what everyone in my class liked in others. Jane snapped me out the goggled thoughts.
“Oh Jim, that’s amazing, I don’t know how you managed to figure all of that out. But what you said is so right. I was in beauty pageants, have very supportive parents, keep everything very clean and spend money on clothes. All girls love to.”
My heart sang a song for her which she could not hear
Long and romantic, it sailed out from my heart
It ran to her in silence, from my panic and fear
It was scary talking to her from the start
I was shy and she was not
Onwards and forwards, out of the trot
Poetry is beautiful. Just throwing words up into the sky, they fall down suavely into symbolic poetic majesty. My heart became a poem for Jane. I knew her. I wished she could know me. But I had to retreat once again behind the corrugated iron walls. Being out in the open was unnerving and drained me of my energy, despite enjoying Jane’s company.
“You know what Jim. I really like you. There’s something different about you I really can’t figure out and I enjoy that. You’ve got a great niche for languages, a memory which never fails and an ability to see things about people in the smallest things. I really like that. You’re a really great person. I’ll see you around. This is my street.”
As her perfectly arranged hair bounced up and down, tramping onwards towards my place, I looked at the ground. Perhaps some things weren’t so bad after all.