I know you're looking at Sally.
She looked like Farrah Fawcet Major
with red hair.

She is elegant standing there
in the back row, laughing.

Jorge, who I fancied, who is small and wiry with a bony face and large moustache, is half turned, he must be laughing at something she said.

Sally is the other teacher at the school where I am working. She studied Spanish at university and lived in Portugal for a while. So she can already speak Spanish. I try not to be a burden to her - I am a burden and a bore, a dumb doggy. She is glamorous and competent. I like her because she is sharp, she is my flatmate, she is a feminist - although of that sort that thinks women can run rings around men, are much stronger etc. etc. which is not my yearning for parity and deep friendship sort.

I am also envious of her. She is one of those women who are noticed. I have always been equivocal about that. I can be noticed if I put my mind to it, but sometimes the pressure of being looked at is too much for me, so much of the time I retreat from that position. But I don't retreat gracefully, instead I begrudge those that seem to stay so easily in the limelight, that spot. I want them to come out of it too.

It's hard for me here. Thrown into (I suppose technically I jumped into) a language I don't understand. Deprived of speech, I can't take the limelight and relinquish it back to others easily, ebb and flow, ungendered. Instead I either have to compete in terms of attractiveness, which is so reductive and so difficult, or accept that I'm only in the limelight as buffoon. I am dunked in my gracelessness and juxtaposed against the gracefulness of others. In short, thorns rips my flesh.

Other memories jogged by this photo. Further memories. Even more memories. This Photo. All the Photos

On Being a Foreigner

Alternate Navigation Strategies

Photos in Chronological Order


Map/Diagram of Story Elements