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AUGUSTINE’S SESSION pt.2

“How does it begin?”

“With the stammer… Then I read a suspicion, a hint of derision in the other’s eyes. The moment I see it, I fire up. First there’s a shout like a war cry and then… everything grows dim… A few seconds later I come to. I don’t remember much… just pain and numbness all over”.

“Tell me about your right hand”.

“What can I tell you? I always hurt it, like back then…”

“When?”

“Then when I was kept standing for hours in the teachers’ office. Exposed to the claws they sharpened in order to fight or legitimately tear apart –adhering to the letter of school regulations– their would-be victim, namely myself…”

“Would you like to tell me about it?”

“Why not? This story’s been choking me for years. Time I let it all out at last!”

“I’m listening”.

“Yeah… where was I? Ohhh… I remember! Their eyes hurt me. You see I stood out quite a lot and exceeded my body image. I was very tall and slim. I looked them in the eyes down my nose. I only lowered my eyes once to say I’m sorry for…”

“For?”

“Well… with my right hand clenched in a fist I ‘brought down’ a window in my class in infinitesimal pieces… There was a sound like a high pitched squeak. Next frame, I was running with my hand covered in blood and my classmates twisting around left and right yelling:

”‘Blood, blood!’”

”But they knew nothing of the hematoma that hurt me”.

“What hematoma?”

“The blood wasn’t coming from my hand. It was my soul slowly bleeding…”

“Like a trauma…”

“Exactly like that. My trauma bled from the indifferent side-glances I got from the teachers, as well”.

“Another crime at school!”

“Wait till you hear what happened next… The headmaster, Mr. Velouchiotis1, went ballistic, launching threats and spewing suspensions”.

“Strange name. Was it a nickname?”

“No idea. He did pose as a radical, but he was a liberal cynic son of a bitch! You know the type… the red coat of a comrade on the inside and the ‘black’ opaque getup of a douchebag to every authority a head taller than him on the outside …”

“Interesting…”

”‘Dear colleagues, I registered the incident in the school records and it’s now time to administer justice! What do you have to say for yourself, young man?’ he asked me, cocky as a medieval inquisitor.

”‘Sir… I lost it, I didn’t mean it… I got a message saying my best buddy was killed in a motorcycle accident and… and… I wish it was me in his place…’ I said in all sincerity”.

“Did he believe you?”

“Far from it…

”‘Cut out the dramatics!’ he scowled. ‘You lost it, psychological trauma and bullshit. We’re talking facts here. You broke the window!’

”‘But… my parents paid for it straight away…’ I answered trying to contain my anger.

”‘So what?… Big deal!… Of course they’d pay for damage to our public property! Now it’s your turn… you’ll pay as well!’

”A stifled chuckle invested the room. The other teachers, bent behind penalty books and grade lists, rubbed their hands gleefully and muttered:

”‘He always horses around and chew’s gum in my class!’

”‘He pretends he’s asthmatic and stirs up the class in mine! He makes fun of me, the rascal!’

”‘You should hear what he does in my class… Instead of looking me in the eyes and parroting the lesson, he dares look out the window, at the trees in the yard. Out to lunch, most of the time!’

”‘I think he makes lewd gestures under his desk. Perhaps he should see a psychologist… he’s got issues…’

”‘Everyone lifted the gravestone of their tongue and buried me under increasingly more shovels of fresh dirt…”

“And the verdict of your Kafkaesque trial?”

“Guilty to death! They stood me up against the wall and executed me with a three-day suspension. It was exactly the amount of days necessary for me to fail the class. I never went to school again after that. I was buried for ever in the second class of senior high school…”

“Appalling!”

A scene unfolds before my eyes: Something as fleeting as a shiver makes the party of wolves arch their necks and sniff the air. Human flesh, tempting and fresh… The fur behind their ears stands on end and their brows turn to arches.

Arched, too, are the secret caves where they hide the half-eaten remains of their meal: records, sprawling signatures and penalties. Penalties everywhere!

“Worse than that. I broke out in cold sweat. My voice fell flat and there were tears running everywhere. It was raining tears and sweat from every pore of my skin. I remember wiping away with my sleeve a thick tear that looked like mucus and made me see everything double. I didn’t want it to give me away to the icy glances of the others aiming straight at me.

”‘Can animals think, or talk? Of course not…’ howled the old wolf from the Sub direction; his fur was the thickest of them all. ‘But they can suffer, colleagues…’”


Σημ.: Η φωτό είναι του Σπύρου-Ίωνα Μαρκάτη

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