I stalked through the corridors, my heels clanking hard against the ground. Students passed me giggling and stumbling over perfect linoleum. I reached my class and entered - late. The class fell silent immediately and to my delight our girl was sat at the back, she sat by herself absently running her fingers through her long hair. The sun - through the window lit her hair with a reddish colour. I scanned the room and smiled warmly to the other students who had clumped together.
"Buenas Dias" I said happily, sitting in my chair. "These lessons, every Wednesday and Thursday at this time will be for your Spanish oral...I will talk to you in as much Spanish as you need for your qualification. I hope that you all enjoy my classes and have fun learning the language. Now if you please, " I extended my arm and pointed "Starting anticlockwise tell me your names..." I smiled encouragingly to a small girl, her red hair illuminated by the sun. "G-Ginny" she said and I wrote it down mechanically. When we reached the girl she said her name louder than the others, some of them turned and I noticed the girls at the front exchange disgusted looks.
"Nola De La Torre" she said, her voice rang perfectly.
"Ahh...De La Torre..." I thought for a moment "of the tower?"
Nola turned scarlet and nodded "yes" she tried to smile but was embarrassed, I had not meant to embarrass her, for that brief moment I had forgot I was in the class with anyone else. Her dark eyes beamed out from her face, and gleamed with embarrassment. She did not dare to look at anyone but me; she seemed to be expected another question. But looking down I wrote the name, and beneath it ran the pencil lightly again and again forming a line.
Nola sat quietly throughout my lesson, she neither wanted or needed to say anything. The group of girls in front of her sat talking of her hair, her eyes, her nose, anything they could to make them feel better and more confident about themselves. I had to admit her presence was quite effective, even I found myself questioning her. From where I sat she rubbed her eyes tiredly, obviously wearing no make up to highlight her wide eyes or high cheek bones. My other pupils - of which were female, were caked in it, even Ginny who had the palest skin and red hair, wore black eye makeup. Natali wrote quickly, in a small jotter. I noticed several times when I had finished writing on the board and turned, that she too, had already finished and was waiting as I was, for the class to catch up. However, I could tell her mind was elsewhere. She would stare before her - her eyes glazed over and I wondered whether she was thinking of Tom Wolfe. When the class ended I sighed loudly,
"Eugh, I have to go back to my sociology class now, full of lads..." I shuddered and saw Nola's eyes widen at my words. It had worked, her full lips pulled into a little smile and the rest of the class laughed.
I watched her walk out, clutching her books to her chest. Her long thick hair pounced behind her almost reaching the small of her back. I walked behind her watching. She walked fast for a girl so small and turned the corner too quickly and to my astonishment bounced off the chest of none other than Tom Wolfe.
I had to move, I turned the corner and ran towards the cafeteria opposite, ordering a coffee and then turned to watch from across the hall. I had heard her apologize before even realizing who she had hit, embarrassed and red in the face. Her hair had stuck to her lips her eyes were panicked and surprised to have hit him. She still clutched her books to her chest. They talked, but her eyes remained guarded and embarrassed, until he walked past her where she smiled at him, a small smile quite like the one she had given at my mention of him. She bobbed her head and turned walking the opposite way, how odd that they had both met again at such a random incident. It almost seemed choreographed. I was surprised, the cliched moment had not let her to drop her books and he so gallantly, swooped to collect them. I dropped the cup full of coffee into the nearest bin, mentally apologizing to Dolores our head of maintenance and followed Tom Wolfe towards my class.