Thursday, November 19, 2015

Italian School - The American Foreign Exchange Student


Many of the people here look familiar, as if I've seen them before, as if I know them from before. I do know them. I know her, the very smart girl at the front of the class and the boy who sits next to her just to copy her work.

And I know him, the smart boy who sits at the back but doesn't try. The boy who wears the mask of someone stupid, so that no one expects anything of him.
"Ah, Federico? Lui non fa niente."
But I see through him. I know him. I've seen him in America.

I know her, the pretty girl on the side, the one with the red lips. The principal's daughter who talks back to the teacher and fixes her makeup in class.

I know the professor of philosophy, "Il Pazzo," they call him, Crazy. Everyone stops talking or using their phones when he starts talking about il verbo essere. In Italian he says existentially,
"Come state? Tell me how you are. I mean how you truly are. How you exist." Veramente.

Most of all though, I know the girl to the left of me, at the back of the class, Carol. She's intelligent but she doesn't sit at the front with the others. She prefers to watch from afar. Observant. From here, she can see everything. She is quiet because she doesn't feel she can say anything until she has a view of the entire room. She is lost. She is different. I know her well.

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