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Monday, April 27, 2009

Detours.




He was looking up and down the street, moving back and forth on his heels, as though a tune was beating in his limbs. I offered him a ride. His trousers and bag were wet, and he smelled of sea-foam and wet sand. He substituted for the teacher next door to me. I knew him well enough to drive him home.


I dropped him off at the corner of Ventura, a short walk to his place. Two days later, my daughter shouted for me to hurry to the phone just as I was getting in the tub.
“Mom, phone for you.” Carlie had hung up the phone before I got to her.
“Was it Dad? Carlie? Who was that?”
“ I don’t know.” My eight year old said calmly, already sitting in front of her television show. I waited for the phone to ring again.
“Jen?”
“Yes?”
“Hi. I’m Ron, the substitute for Mrs. Pierce? You gave me a ride last week?
“What can I do for you?”
“I was wondering if I could impose on you again.”
“Your car isn't ready?”
“Yes. No. I’m trying to get enough money to buy a new one, actually. The other one isn’t working out. I thought you wouldn’t mind. I’ll pay for the gas.”
“O.k. Be prompt. I'll pick you up at Ventura and Topanga at six-thirty.”
“Great. Thanks again. I usually don’t get assignments so far from home; it’s a favor for Helen, actually.”
“Oh? Mrs. Pierce requested you?”
“She asked me even before she had surgery. We are good friends.”


I said yes, before I thought about the commitment I was making. I didn’t need another irritant in my life. But, I couldn’t very well refuse.


Our school in East Los Angeles was poor, angry, and full of children whose families did not speak English. The substitute had noticed something I hadn’t. These children, he had said, all love to draw and paint. They can’t get enough of it. If I included drawings and paintings with my lessons, they would love it, he said. What did he know? A week, and now he's an expert with these children. He'd change his mind in a couple of weeks.




(To be continued: Part one of six.)

25 comments:

Bogey said...

Captivating. I look forward to more.

Mervat said...

You have me hooked. I look forward to the other five!

Helen said...

You had me with the period after the word Detour.

Delwyn said...

A suspense story!!!!
thanks Rosaria

Delwyn said...

P.S. Glad to see your Followers have vanished too?????

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 said...

He sounds like a man we want to hear more about.

An English Shepherd said...

Nice start to the tail, so to speak ;-)

Wizz :-)

Tessa said...

There is a distinct Patricia Highsmith quality to your tale, lakeviewer. Something dark and foreboding, despite the relatively light eloquence of the tone. Can't wait for more!

Beth said...

Was this a hook like you used with your students? Dang it! Write the next post! Come on. I want to know what happened.

I love your blog!

Moannie said...

You tease! More please, and soon.

Paul Costopoulos said...

You mean there are still teachers out there sensitive to their pupils' ways of learning...even if unorthodox? How very refreshing. I'm sure it turned out all right but he must have faced much resitance from his peers.

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

This is an intriguing start - I look forward to reading more!

Kikit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kikit said...

Curiouser and curiouser! Can't wait to read the next part.

Susan said...

I love the idea of a short story in a blog - it's so 19th-century-newspaperish!

Angela Recada said...

I look forward to reading more!

willow said...

Looking forward to part two!

The Things We Carried said...

I love the stories you tell! I am waiting on the next installment!

Helen said...

Came back this morning to see if you had published installment #2 and realized I meant to say "the word Detours."

Can't wait to see what's coming ..

Mairi said...

Hi. Nice to see you over at Plumbline. Thanks for coming by. I'm interested in your serial short story publication. I decided to do something of the sort with a novel and will be sure to pay attention to how your's is going. I look forward to more.

Eddie Bluelights said...

Great - Got here at last and I'm on to Part 2, Eddie x
PS Thanks for the encouraging comment and yes, I appreciate all the early ones very much.

Woman in a Window said...

Onto part two!

C. Michael Cox said...

Oh my, gone a day and missed three posts. Off to read the other two segments.

Renee said...

Rosaria I love how you are writing these stories. I have read the three of them backwards and I love them.

They are intense. Nice sentences that tell you exactly what you need to know.

Thank you for the birthday wishes for Nathan, those I will show him tomorrow.

Love Renee xoxo

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