She was taller than the rest of us. I can’t remember her name, but I can see her face, always frightened, with her eyes looking around, a little lost, as searching for help. She had trouble understanding simple words. I had trouble too. But my case was different. I was an immigrant and I simply didn’t know the language.
I remember one day the teacher was asking us for the meaning of the word “maybe” and we had to compose sentences using that word properly. She did it wrong and everybody laughed. I didn’t. I thought it was cruel. I had experienced so many times the laughing of the other kids at my way of speaking, so strange for them, that I could figure out what my tall classmate was going through. The bewilderment, the uncertainty, the distress, the shame. The need to disappear, to go home and hide.
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