We arrived, after a few more forgettable turns through the maze of corridors, at the English department, and went into Mr Donald's, my new English teacher's, classroom. Mrs Lavender had retired, unfortunately, and I wasn't really sure what to expect. A few people had already arrived and were drawing their pencil cases from their bags. Looking at the clock, I found that we had a couple of minutes spare. I found an empty desk and sat down, Gabriel sitting beside me. Mr Donald closed the door as the last stragglers wandered in, then went from desk to desk dropping books 'one-between-two'. The binding was new, and the pages retained their novel, knowledgable scent. There were groans from around the classroom as they took in the title.
Collected Works of William Shakespeare.
Mr Donald began in his thick Scottish accent, "today we are reading through one of Shakespeare's sonnets. Ayla, what is a sonnet?"
"A sonnet is a poem of fourteen lines, which ends with a rhyming couplet." I replied. I loved sonnets, their simple structure, short length, but sheer beauty amazed me. Mr Donald spoke again.
"Now then, you, the new boy, Gabriel is it?" Gabriel nodded. "Turn to page fifty and read Sonnet 130 to the class." Gabriel turned through the pages carefully and, with my help, found the page. He held the book at the page, and stood up, clearing his throat. Then, he began to read, in a voice which rendered the class silent.
"My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun, coral is far more red than her lips red. If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;" At this, some of the more immature members of the class chuckled. Mr Donald glared at them; they were silenced, as he beckoned Gabriel continue. "If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head. I have seen roses damasked, red and white, but no such roses I see in her cheeks; and in some perfumes there is more delight than the breath that from my mistress reeks. I love to hear her speak, yet well I know, that music hath a far more pleasing sound. I grant I never saw a godess go: My mistress when she walks treads on the ground. And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare, as any she belied with false compare." Having finished reading, Gabriel took his seat.
"That was beautiful." I said. He nodded by way of thanks.
"Gabriel, that was very well read, thank you." Mr Donald said. The rest of the lesson, the last of the day, ended shortly afterwards. We passed the school gates, with all of the teachers, babbling like provoked geese, the praises they had of Gabriel Cohen.