I have a picture in my head from the end of the day on Saturday. I don’t know if it’s important or not. It’s kind of burned into my head though, as if it must be.
C’s class is going on an all-day outing on Sunday. It’s a picnic. Picnics are very popular here in Country X, although I have somehow managed to never go on one ever, not with anyone. Not even one time.
Anyway, it involves a certain degree of money collection and shopping for supplies. C is helping out with this.
At the end of the day, she is in the car with her class teacher and I guess two other students. One of them I recognize, but the third one I can’t really see.
So they are in the car, and her class teacher calls to me. His son is in my class, and the son had not been behaving himself. I had to tell his father about that on Wednesday. The class teacher asked me if his son had said anything to me. What he meant is did he apologize. I told him he had. On Friday, the boy had stood up in class and apologized very sincerely.
I am saying this to the class teacher, and I guess I felt C looking at me. I felt eyes, I suppose. My gaze shifted to hers. She was in the back seat, leaning forward, trying to see me, and there was an intense look on her face, a kind of wishing. I think it was a wish to see me—perhaps in the back she couldn’t really see well—or maybe it was a wish to be seen. I said something to her about a poem I wanted her to bring on Monday. I had asked her to do that earlier, and was just reminding her. The class teacher, not noticing the shift in my gaze, was confused. “Me?” “No, C.” Everyone laughed then, and I went on.
The gaze stayed with me though, the nakedness of it, and something that might be longing.