Seven

When I was seven, my form teacher sent me to an after-school reading class because she found my English language proficiency to be less than adequate.

She probably saved my life. Or rather, nudged it unwittingly towards something better than an un-reading one.

At the reading class, a well-groomed mother of an unknown school-mate read to us and have us read from hard-covered books filled with colorful pictures and brief sentences. I remembered that she was always kind in the way that people with very comfortable lives are – a bourgeois gentleness. Of course, I didn’t know it then, but in retrospect, I understand that now.

There was a book about a whale. I have to read the word “breath” but I said “breast” instead. She laughed, but it was amusement without malice. I felt sheepish but not embarrassed. In fact, I think she might have been more embarrassed, having to explain what a “breast” is to a bunch of 7 year olds.

Sometimes, I wonder about what happened to her after those classes stopped.

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