little crumb.


there was this girl in my french class. i forgot her real name. her real name didn't translate properly into french, so maria leon, our french teacher, allowed her to choose her own name. she called herself miette (translated: little crumb). i think she got her name from the main character in the city of lost children. miette always sat at my table along with two other outcasts who didn't know any french at all, and who didn't really make an effort to learn. i remember her most, though, for all the strange things she said and did.

once, she grabbed a handful of her hair and started sniffing it like mad. "what are you doing?" i asked. she looked startled, as i was normally quiet, and definitely not one to question strangers sniffing themselves. "do i smell like pho?" she asked. "what's pho?" "it's like a vietnamese noodle. i just had some pho and now i'm worried i smell like it." "no," i said, "you don't smell like pho." another time, our french teacher asked us to call out some stereotypes we had about french people. "they're very boisterous," someone offered, "bon vivants!" "they like to drink a lot of wine and eat big lunches," said another. then, miette sheepishly raised her hand. "they're really good lovers?" maria couldn't believe what this girl was suggesting, possibly admitting, in front of the entire class. "what was that?" "they're good lovers," miette repeated. maria laughed uncomfortably, as did the rest of us. "umm, i'll let you find that out for yourself," she said.

at graduation, miette kept looking my way. after a few minutes, she finally came up to me. "hey," she said. "hey, how are you?" i asked. "good. i wanted to thank you for being my math tutor," she said. puzzled, i looked at her and tried to remember if she had come into the writing center during the past year. math and writing, after all, were easily confusable. i clearly remembered her, though: the pho, the comment about good french sex, the failed attempt at communicating in another language. i wouldn't have forgotten if little crumb had come to me and asked for help with her writing. "what are you talking about?" i said, "i was in your french class!" she slapped her forehead, something she did quite a bit, now that i think about it, whenever she couldn't remember how to say a certain phrase, or even how to answer: "ça va?" (the answer is 'ça va bien,' if you're good, 'comme ci comme ça" if you're just alright). "i thought you were my math tutor!" she said. "french class. that's where i remember you from." she walked away, obviously embarrassed.

it was exactly how i wanted to remember her.

3 comments:

ms.meggie said...

LOL. am i taking crazy pills or did you already write a post about this girl? or maybe i'm just psychic and have already read it in a dream or something. i've been having a lot of high anxiety dreams lately. like this morning, i found myself interviewing the librarian at the king county jail. which is actually what i have to do tomorrow morning. i am, as YES once put it, close to the edge.

talking about hard times. said...

i think i did post this story already. this blog's only over a year old, and i'm already in reruns...

EasilyEntertained said...

you fool! ya realllllllllllllly blew it!