The Class Photo

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Tomorrow it’s the vacation!
Miss Barnett, the young and spirited primary teacher, is having quite a job marshaling the thirty little cherubs in her class for the end of year photo.
She counts and then recounts twenty-nine, there is always one missing, and never the same one.
How can she motivate these little six-year-olds to have their image fixed on paper for eternity? 
Not to mention having to deal with that strange man endlessly repeating, “Children, when I give you the signal, say cheese!” But as they are all in a fever of excitement, he is starting to lose patience… 
Despite her youth, Miss Barnett has more than one trick up her sleeve. Suddenly she has an idea.
“Come here, children, listen to me. When you are grown up, you will be really pleased to look at your friends in the photo and imagine what has happened to them.”
The children open their eyes wide. They had never thought that their friends would one day be adults. Old people, like their parents! They live in the moment. With important things to think about. Marbles and dolls. Waffles and doughnuts. Scuffed knees and baby teeth.
“When you look at the photo, you’ll say, ‘That’s Theo, he’s a doctor, and you’ll remember the day when he took Amelia to the school nurse. And there’s Amelia herself, she’s a lawyer now, she always used to help the little ones in nursery, and there’s Ethan, he must surely have become a soccer player…”
The children nod their heads in agreement. They remember the playtime when their friend broke the Headteacher’s window by kicking the ball a bit too hard. That really did cause chaos.
Amelia puts her hand up.
“Please Miss, what’s a lawyer?”
Miss Barnett carefully explains about defending the weak, and about the black robes and the white frill at the neck.
“Like a magpie?”
“Yes, Amelia, like a magpie.”
The teacher adds,
“Then you’ll say, there’s Daniel with Lily, I bet they got married…”
The little ones burst out laughing, wriggling with amusement, while the two inseparable children blush with pleasure and embarrassment.
“Lovebirds, lovebirds,” chants the whole class.
Suddenly a clear little voice rises up in the light air of that month of June. It’s Archie, a little blond boy with blue eyes and a face like an angel in an illuminated manuscript.
“And we’ll say, and that’s the teacher, Miss Barnett, but she’s dead now…”

Translated by Wendy Cross

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Image of Sobnyc
Sobnyc · ago
thank you for the great great ride...
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Image of Kristan
Kristan  Short Édition · ago
love this story !! a gas.....
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Image of Chantal Sourire
Chantal Sourire · ago
Thank you, Kristan !
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