L’enfer, C’est Les Autres | Quick Piece

She drooped her head and let her dirty blond hair touch the desk. “What’s wrong?” her friend asked, ducking under her head and tried to peer at her. “I got an 82 on my test.” she said with a voice full of sorrow. She sniffled and pushed away the test. I had to force myself to not roll my eyes. I looked down at my test and saw a glaring red 35. “Yeah, you’re stupid too.” I mentally told my test. I walked over to the pencil sharpener and deliberately made sure to pass her desk where two more people counseling her surrounded her. I threw her a nasty look, but she was too busy telling her pity story to even notice. As I ground the pencil into the sharpener, I wondered what it would be like if she had gotten my 35 instead of her 82. I smirked and walked back to my desk and felt the grade boring a hole into me. I shoved it into my backpack and waited for the class to end.

All day in my classes, I couldn’t stop thinking about her stupid reaction to a decent grade, how her face was red and puffy just like the red marks scribbled all over my page. When I came home from school, I crumpled up the test and tossed it into a corner of my room. I opened up my French notebook and took out a worksheet that the teacher handed out to help us practice the future tense. To be, to have, to eat. It was an endless list of verbs that we needed to conjugate. My eyes started blurring and the verbs started to shift. To maim, to stab, to kill. I furiously rubbed my eyes, but the verbs stayed the same. I scanned further down the page and saw, To kill, to torture, to burn. I crumpled up my assignment and the next day, my teacher scolded me. I looked to my left where she usually sat, but she wasn’t there which was odd because she never missed a day of class. My teacher handed out more worksheets to practice the imperfect tense and when I reached for my pencil, my hands were stained with a crimson red. The verbs on my sheet read, to be fulfilled.

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Unconfined Thoughts 25 – Language Barrier

I think in French, my mind rolling around repeating Je ne sais pas. Je ne sais rein. And I painfully reel back, hold myself back and go back to writing dreams in English. I head down the street for a coffee, but I don’t drink coffee, so I stop inside and inhale all the scents and memories. Memories of you and a sly and satisfied smile behind the recyclable coffee cup, your tongue stained and your breath smelling of a routine morning strike me and I pause to avoid an onslaught of tears. I order a cookie even though I already have a bunch of cookies and my mind reverberates Je t’aime. Je t’aime beaucoup. Back to work. Back home again.

I yell in Cantonese, the pitched notes, the sharp tongue and suddenly I’m reminded when I sprinted down the halls, barely missing the corners to avoid facing my punishments. Screaming and yelling, hearing only my voice in my head and feeling powerless with Stop it! I didn’t mean it! I’m sorry! And the Cantonese got closer until I grew up, but I guess I could order a heaping bowl of noodles instead of hearing how worthless I can be.

I insult myself in Mandarin, a classic, yet difficult language and demonstration of your truest skill and culture as I struggle to pronounce who I am, maintaining my goofiness without fail only to appear rude and of a child. With a singular glance and formal smile, I’m deemed as unworthy as the silence fills the spaces between us until I’m no longer close enough to understand. What a pity.

I dream in Korean, a light weighted and song-like whisper. Even the most vulgar and harshest phrases, come out as balls of marshmallow, melting your mouth and coating it with a light kiss. Yet, I’m lost and I wonder how do I find the correct recipe to success to treat your heart to newfound memories of joy.

Written: 6/16/17 12:16am