Saturday, July 29, 2006

Slaughter the fatted calf, prepaire my second best bed, because I'm coming home, finally! I had a good run but all this work really beat be down. Everything, well almost everything, is packed and ready to go.

On Friday we had our end of the term meeting with the Old Boys. Lasantha, Felix, Neil, Casey, Ravi, and Dudley were all there. We met in Brother Grandville's office. Some lemonade was brought out to us as we sat in a circle, I sat between Blair and Melissa, and Bro. Augustine sat next to Blair. Bro. Grandville sat behind his desk, quietly and overshadowed by the Old Boys. It was run like a buisness meeting. I was an Ed major to avoid such meetings, but it had to be done. Felix, Neil, and Casey all had notepads and took copious notes. "Would you come back?" "How did you benefit?" "What should we change?" We ourselves had a lot we wanted to say, maybe even to get off of our chests, but we were afraid of seeming too demanding. Yet the Old Boys were so receptive and understanding of what we had to say that we were able to say everything. We told them that teaching 5 classes and having 180 students a day, then after-school classes for 2 hours as well as Saturday classes was too much and anyone who would come for longer would have a hard time. Then one of the Old Boys asked the million dollar question.
"What I want to know is, what were the other teachers doing while you were teaching? They just had the time off?" They looked at each other saying things like "Thats what I want to know" and "good question." Bro. Grandville squirmed in his chair. I looked over at Bro. Augustine who whispered, "Nabbed!" at us. The Old Boys were upset that we were replacement teacehrs and not supplement teachers, as were we. We gave our suggestion for a smaller classroom size consisting of the most struggling students for next time. They all agreed. Titus -- the 10th grade teacher-- was in the room and tried to defend himself, making it seem that, although he wasnt teaching it gave him the opportunity to do other important things. Only Bro. Grandville agreed.

The next day Bro. Augustine Silva came over to go fishing down on the shore. Rasika bought me some prawns for bait. We went to one beach and caught nothing. We stook on a rock and fished off of that. As the tide came up we decided it would be best to get to a better fishing point. So we got down, and I must say for a 53 year old man Bro. Augustine is nimble, jumping from rock to slippery rock without ever even coming close to falling. We passed two boys with 3 fishing poles and one boy offered a pole to Bro. Augustine since we had to share mine. He said no thanks though. Then we went on some rocks that jutted out far into the sea. I heard someone yelling and it was Rasika, who stook on top of the hill by the provincial. I told her to come down. She raced down the hill with Judith and her little sister Loretta, and some boy holding a little baby. Bro. Augustine Nicoletti came only for a few minutes then went back up. The pole rotated between us and the sun was near its end. It splashed the most beautiful colors across the sky and the air was now cooler. I thought that some other fisherman, maybe in the Maldives or Africa must be waking up and seeing the other side of this beautiful illumination. The kids went back up. It was just me and Bro Augustine.
"Want to try again?" I asked.
"No no, you go." I casted out and pulled back nothing, not even my bait. I asked him again if he wanted to try.
"No no Michael, you go, I like just sitting here, watching you fish and the sky." He was sitting on a rock and his feet were on another, getting wet with each wave. He put more bait on my hook, I cast out and pulled in nothing.
"Let me know if you want to go." I now had an understanding that fishing for him at this moment was not about catching a fish, but about experiencing the calm ocean. I was glad to have a friend who could appreciate the beautiful sky and the soothing sound of the ocean slapping the rocks.
"Do you think we should go in before it gets dark?"
"Yes, but I think you must try once more." He said. He put the bait on my pole and I cast out again. I brought back nothing.
"Shall we go."
"Try once more." I did. "Once more."
"Sure." He didn't care if I caught anything, and neither did I. I saw that I had no bait but I left my hook in the water, pretending that I did have bait. I didn't want to make him get up to put some bait on. Neither of us said anything or removed our heads from the dipping sun.
"Okay Michael" he said. We packed up and climbed on the rocks to get back. It was almost dark and only a small flame peeked over the horizon. The little man in front of me hopped from rock to rock. "You know Michael, I think that we shall keep this friendship until the day we die." The sun was down completly and a four foot bat cruised above us. He jumped onto another rock.
"Yep, until we die."


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