Monday, October 10, 2011


I am suffering from a bout of writer's block, and no matter how many times I start to write a poem, it just doesn't flow. So instead of letting the blog go without any posts, I've decided to post a story I had started some months back. It doesn't have a title and it's a work in progress. Show some love by commenting and be on the look out for some long overdue revamping of Little Red Hoodie. Once again, thanks for the support through your following this blog. Hope you like the story.

It was the start of a new semester at Oakland Community College and Martine Carter was on her way to her first class of the new academic year. As a junior professor in the Foreign Language Department, she had the “pleasure” of teaching college students her native tongue, French. Hopefully, this class of students will be as interested in the language as her last class.

Upon entering Room 305, she put on a bright smile and surveyed the room. As expected, there were the jocks taking the mandatory Humanity course. There were the hopeful romantics who were taking the course because the language is supposed to be the language of love. There were also the “regular” students, probably taking the course so they can speak the language when they travel around Europe during the next summer break.

Only one student stuck out to Martine, a young man with a light complexion, but it was his features that caught her attention. They were so familiar, but she never saw this individual before. “Why did he look so familiar,” she asked herself.

Pushing her thoughts aside, Martine went into professor mode and introduced herself to her class.

“Bonjour et bienvenue A Francais Un Cent et Un. Je suis votre professore, Prof. Martine Carter!” she began. “I like my students to be immersed in the French language, so I will be speaking French most of the time. It is my aim for you to become accustomed to hearing the language and in turn speak it. To start, we will be introducing ourselves by answering two questions.”

Martine turned to the black board and wrote the questions. Pointing at the first question, she said, “Comment vous appellez vous? What is you name?” Then she pointed at the second question and said, “D’ou etes vous? Where are you from?”

She turned back to the class and answered the questions, “Je m’appelle Martine Carter. Je suis de l’Avignon, France.” Pointing at the first student in the first row, she asked, “Comment vous appellez vous? D’ou etes vous?”

As the young woman answered her questions, Martine reached for her roster and found the students name, checking it off. One by one, she asked each student the two questions written on the black board and checked off their names off of her roster.

Soon it was the turn of the mystery student. “Je m’appelle Allain Bouvier. Je suis de l’Avignon, France,” he said in an impeccable French accent.

This took Martine aback, yes, he was on the roster, but his last name and his obvious command of the French language made her wonder why he was in her lass. Also she never would have expected a student claiming to be from her small province to be taking her French class.

She stared at him for what would have been too long because the room was very quiet and some of the other students were beginning to fidget nervously. Martine turned to the next student and continued the exercise, trying not to think about Allain and why he was in her class.

Upon completing the introductions, Martine taught the class how to ask someone their age and what they are studying. She then put them into pairs where why would ask their partners what their names were, where whey were from, how old they were and what they were studying.

Unfortunately, the period ended before she got the class back together, so she asked them to remember who their partners were and make a note of their answers for the next class.

As the students exited Room 305, Martine made notes on how the class went and where she had reached in her class plan. When she looked up from her paper work, she noticed that Allain was still in the class, still seated at his desk.

“Is there something wrong Allain?” she asked.

“Non, professore.”

“Is your next class in this room?”

“Non, progessore.”

“So why are you still here, Allain?”

“Parce que de toi,” Allain answered, timidly. Because of you.

This took Martine of guard, forcing her to stand hoping that it would put her in a dominant position. As all his answers were in French, she spoke in her native language.

“Why are you here for me?”

“Because I wanted to meet you,” Allain replied. He looked out the window, but Martine wondered if he was seeing the students and teachers crossing the courtyard. “Doesn’t my last name sound familiar to you? I’m sure you have met my parents at least once, Brigitte and Henri Bouvier.”

At first the names did not sound familiar, but then Martine started to remember. Their faces flashed across her mind and all she saw in her mind’s eye was a young white couple holding a little newborn boy with pale skin but the tips of his ears were dark.

“Why did you give me away, maman?” Allain was now looking at her, a sole tear had streaked down his cheek.

Martine started to walk to him, intending to embrace him, wipe away the tear, to tell him that she thought about him every day of his life, but students started to walk in. The next class was to start in five minutes. This was not the place for an emotional reunion of a mother and son.

She returned to the desk at the front of the room and retrieved a scrap of paper and a pen. She quickly wrote down her address and directions, and then beckoned Allain to the front.

“There is a lot we have to talk about, so come for dinner at my house. This is the address and the directions. Come around ,” Martine said while Allain the scrap of paper.

He nodded and left the classroom while Martine put away her paperwork, her fingers trembling. Throughout the day, her mind returned to the young French man. At times she would space out in the middle of a class exercise. If anything, the students now knew how to say “I’m sorry” in French.

No comments: