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Entry 7 -- Two Periods in One

I had free period for seventh period so got to go to the library and work on reading the Fountainhead. After mechanical drawing sitting at a table and reading felt good, except that Tai, the kid who is too shy to go to the board in geometry was sitting at my table. Tai is not bad maybe but being shy and sensitive means he draws all kinds of attention to himself that's not necessary. That's kind of weird for a shy kid.

Anyway, there he sat with his bangs over his eyes looking real sad and hangdog and reading a comic book. Some people call these big thick comics manga which is a kind of Japanese comic that can sometimes have porn in it or they call them graphic novels. That's like calling toilet paper bathroom tissue if you know what I mean.

Tai was in regular English and he could read graphic novels or comic books for his papers. I had to read literature. Comics were off limits.

Yes, it bothers me when people get away easy. I knew Tai would not lose points for not going up to the board today. Tai's parents were probably wealthy new people instead of ordinary new people like my parents were and still are.

Suddenly Tai turned to me. "Did you hear about the kids who stuck a wad of gum in Ms. Garcia's seat?"

I had to answer "no."

"Oh...yeah you take French don't you?" the words came out as almost a snear.

"Yes," I answered. Joshua's parents had wanted to get enough kids for there to be a French class with the hopes of there some day being French four and five in our district. I had volunteered because I thought a small class with really s mart kids would be better. Lenny volunteered because he wanted to breathe easy for forty-five minutes. Then we got other kids who joined up because French was "pretty and classy" or it was the "harder language" with all those vowels strung together. Honors English was also in French Two and so too was a girl named Koli who was the Queen of French, La Reine, if you will.

Ms. Garcia taught Spanish. She was the "foreign language teacher" as if it was good enough to offer just two or three years of one foreign language. I felt bad for her.

"Who did it?" I asked.

"Tiny," answered Tai. Tiny was the freshman varsity footback of the Falcons football team.

"Just what we need...One of the girls in my social studies class called Tiny an idiot."


"I don't want to say."

"How come...."

"I don't want it to spread."

"You just told me."

"I didn't tell you who though. So what's Tiny got against Ms. Garcia."

"She's a teacher, and Spanish sucks."

"You could have taken French."

"That sucks worse. Most of us don't want to be here, Oisin. You like school."

"I'd like it better...Yes, I like it, so fucking what."

Just then the librarian gave us both dirty looks and she'd been so helpful to me at lunch. We kids really do need a place where we can talk during free periods.

I was glad when free was over and I could go to French. We had our own section of the computer room this year. There is a partition they can pull shut and that left the eight of us with a table full of computers and the speaker turned up and the mike on and a video feed of Madame Arkanne, our French teacher whom we also had last year in middle school.

I'd looked at my French book last night. I wasn't ready for the fact that French 2 is nearly all in French. I had a hard time keeping up. The only one who hung one with ease was Koli, La Reine. That girl could just think on her feet. She must have been born like that. Watching her is better than watching a freshman varsity first string quarterback.

I just stumbled along. I was glad though when I got to type in conjugated verbs. I can always do those and I can answer questions. I am better written than oral any day of the week.

Madame Arkanne even suggested we find a way to study together since there just aren't that many kids taking French.

"C'est difficile," remarked Koli. "J'habite en Myrtle Hollow."

"Pourquoi-pas le dejeuner?" asked Madame Arkanne.

"Nous avons besoin d'un classroom," I replied. I could just picture a French table in our cafeteria. We'd face merciless attacks.

"Parlez au principeau," Madame Arkanne suggested. Actually I did know someone I could talk to but not this afternoon. I remembered that my dad and my stepmom were on my case about the state of our apartment, particularly the living room. Stasch and I were scheduled to clean it up this afternoon which meant crawling around in the carpet digging out bits of Leggos and broken toys, and all that before I could begin to run the vacuum cleaner without destroying it.

After this class broke up. Koli said she had to walk over to Hanafords and buy some mangoes and tropical fruit for "ma grand mere. Elle a malade, tres malade." From the shopping center, Koli could catch a YGTA bus to the Common Center and then another YGTA to Myrtle Hollow.

Koli's parents are not "new people." They've probably lived in this part of the country for over a hundred years. Koli in English has the "local accent" though she says hollow instead of holler. Actually, only hillbillies in movies say "holler." Here they say hollow instead of valley.

I tried to imagine what it was like not to have to move around the country to find new business or chase opportunities that came up but came up blank. I don't think old people can understand new people either. I walked Koli out. Joshua's mother hand picks him up and delivers him so he waited by the ride circle. Lenny took a bus. I avoided the bus by riding my bike.

Koli walked me to the bike rack and watched me unlock the bike which I've fixed and modified a few times. "Is that thing safe?" she asked.

"Yeah or I wouldn't ride it," I told her.

Koli is as tall as I am, broadly built with a flat plain face and washed out turquoise eyes and dark blond hair that is wispy and a shade more golden than my own. It is also shorter.

"See you tomorrow," I told her.

"See you tomorrow, I answered and I hopped on my bike and pedaled over to the elemenetary building to pick up Stasch. Yes, he rides home on my handlebars most days. I think this is kind of cool. It's a challenge to steer a bike when your younger brother rides on the handlebars, but we manage and we don't worry about wheather it is safe either.

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