Sunday, May 01, 2005

A story to remember

I wrote this back in my high school senior year, as my contribution to our Yearbook. This was the first and last time I ever shared any of my “literary work” with someone other than my pillow, but today I felt like sharing it with the rest of the world.

As I entered the empty classroom, a sudden feeling of desolation crossed my heart. I turned the lights on and looked around. Not a single paper on the floor, the chairs in perfect order, the fans were off, the blackboard was clean, no books in the shelves, nothing related to us or the days we spent there. I walked across and found my old chair. I laid back trying to place myself in a gone school day. As I closed my eyes I felt a paper flying by near my face. Amazed, I opened my eyes, and to my surprise I saw my fellow classmates in their old school uniforms, sitting with me in the room. I blinked once or twice, not believing what I had just seen. I was in 1991!

I was amazed at the discovery that I wasn’t dreaming or anything of that sort, since somebody had just pinched me in the arm because the teacher had just asked me something. Surprisingly, I hear myself say “Look Vásquez, I don’t understand!” Everybody in the class started laughing, I even heard myself laugh. I looked at the man standing in front of the class. I recognized him as the man that had taught me Geometry and Physics in Spanish. I tried to stand up but couldn’t. I tried to talk, but what my head was thinking wasn’t what was going out of my mouth.

I looked around the class and recognized everybody, even people I hadn’t seen in years. While trying to figure out what was happening, I heard a female voice saying “Composition 3207.” My Spanish Literature teacher had just come in the classroom and was starting to teach her class. I tried to call her, but no sound came out of my mouth.
That moment I looked down at myself and noticed I was wearing my uniform too. I heard a voice; my Spanish Algebra teacher was saying “turn those radios off!” I heard a friend of mine saying “what time is it” Still forty minutes left and 5 people have already gone to the blackboard!”

Everything seemed strange. When I stared at the teacher’s desk I saw my English Grammar and Literature teacher talking to somebody and saying “the grade will tell you. Class, you’re having recess now!” As a blinding flash of light, my English Math and Physics teacher came into the room and said “guys, what’s the matter with you? You failed again. Come on!” A female voice said “have you heard the latest news about the war?”

I was trying to look for my purse when I heard a man say “I’m happy.” I recognized him as my religion teacher, whom I had seen in church 5 years ago, but never heard of him again.

I felt somebody grabbing a notebook I had in my hands and saying in French “Who did this? You didn’t do this work on your own!” I tried to reply, but when I tried to face the teacher, instead of him I saw my spanish Social Studies teacher handing me a paper with a red big zero written on it.

I felt really mad about what had just happened, and when I opened my mouth to talk, I looked around and found myself alone in the classroom. In the distance, I heard a bell ring and a group of students rushing out of their classrooms. I looked at my watch; it was 2:30 p.m. I looked at myself. I was wearing the suit that I normally wear to court. Everything has to have an explanation, I said to myself. I had drifted away in my memories. It had to be that. I became aware of the time. I had to go home to my husband and children. What I didn’t understood before was the anxiety I had felt hours before at court, to go back to my old school, now I understood.

As I stood up to go home, a paper fell from my lap. A paper with a big red zero marked on it. Before, I would have been amazed at this. Now, I just folded it, and smiling, slipped it into my purse and went home.

June 1991


Gabs said...

I too enjoyed the teachings of the wise Profesor Vasquez. An unforgettable character that one...