ILLUMINATION
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ILLUMINATION

How I learned to enjoy studying Portuguese

Knowledge is a treasure, it can be also a new door opened

“Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels”

I was a sixteen or seventeen-year-old girl who had changed schools. I was practically still trying to survive a nervous crisis due to the trauma of moving to another city. I hated to become a young woman, inside I still felt like a girl. I didn’t fit anywhere, at any age, at any place. I didn’t study. I attended classes with my body stuck to the desk and my soul flying somewhere very far from the window.

I barely talked to my colleagues. I knew I would never belong to the top group. In this group, there was a girl in particular who made my life hell even bigger than it already was, always repeating the question out loud for everyone to hear: so Luiza, when are you going to get a boyfriend? And what about to be kissed? Have you already been kissed? Me? I thought. Not even in dreams. I was far from it all.

The Portuguese teacher was more lost than me. He left the Portuguese language aside, who knows why. He talked about sex. The room was divided on one side by girls and on the other side by boys. And the matter was going in a way that was seriously inappropriate. The teacher compared the mucosa of the mouth lips with the vaginal mucosa, emphasizing the sensitivity of these mucous membranes when touched all between laughs mocked by the teacher and the boys.

It was all right to talk about it if it was in a biology class or something, without malice. But in Portuguese class? I just remember I felt an immense rage at the situation. I didn’t know by that time, but that was harassment, it was an abuse of the teacher who took advantage of the girls’ fragility, disrespecting them openly, and laughed shamelessly with the mean boys. I just got up without planning, followed my instincts, got out, and slammed the door. Outside I thought: Misa, are you crazy?

But I couldn’t stay there outside the door, so I walked toward the stairs. My notebooks were in the classroom and I couldn’t go home. At this moment, the girl who tormented me, the one that had already kissed a lot, left the room, and also slammed the door. Then she played the best friend of mine. We didn’t do anything about the fact and I’m sure I didn’t say anything at home. By that time things were quite different from today. I don’t think people would understand what really happened in the classroom, so the better I could be was to keep silent.

In the next class with that teacher, the subject was just Portuguese. After the class, the teacher asked me to wait. He apologized to me, saying something like “sometimes it happens”, making it clear that he apologized only to me, not to the other girl because he saw her and her friends mocking in the last class. He believed she had left the class just to be seen by the group as a brave girl, but she was not a serious girl like me. I heard everything quietly, I was very shy.

Well, I was not a model of a good student, I didn’t know anything about anything of Portuguese. And from then on, the teacher always looked at me as if waiting for approval. I felt that I grew up in his eyes, perhaps in the eyes of the whole class, as I had been able to do a heroic and historic feat by leaving the room slamming the door in protest at my indignation. I couldn’t falter. When we earn someone’s respect, we are invested with responsibilities.

One afternoon at home, I took my books and started to study, thing by thing, memorizing the proclisis, mesoclisis, enclisis, I did exercises with prepositive phrases, became familiar with subjects and predicates, transitive and intransitive verbs.

But the most beautiful thing in the world is that I realized studying was good, knowledge was a treasure. I was a respectable girl. In the next class, the teacher asked questions, nobody knew shit and I risked an answer, he opened his biggest smile as if to say: how did I not realize she was my best student?

In the process of learning Portuguese to correspond to my new status, I forgot my sufferings a little. My anxieties and conflicts were not exactly cured, but a new door opened in my life, I felt like someone who had something precious. Well, for dating and kissing, it would take a while, I started to count my winnings. Knowing Portuguese was more important than any silly smack.

That teacher died soon after in a sad accident. He never knew what that strange episode meant to me.

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Misa Ferreira de Rezende

Misa Ferreira de Rezende

I write because the world enchants me, death frightens me and life amazes me. I am a writer. “About me” stories

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