Laura was her name. Every time I remember. At that time there were no such buildings. We were a ranch school. I was just received. That’s why I felt safer doing paperwork or preparing food for the kids, than teaching. I used to work with big grades. But, and the smallest? It did not cheer me up.
I went making the life of the school. In the field, school is everything. As long as you know how to win people. They have their time, they are not very open at first, but the first May 25 got almost everyone. We celebrated with chocolate and a grandmother came to make us fried cakes. When Don Nicanor Paredes arrived at the afternoon, it was the hubbub. He had killed a goat and brought it to school. The first time he was approaching. He was the father of two of the boys, one of a quarter and a second. Very respected in the whole place, Don Nicanor.
I knew that their presence meant a lot because it was certain that the others, who still doubted, we’re going to get closer to school.
And so it was. By the end of the year, we had twenty-two boys. Laura, among them. She was an emaciated slim woman with bright eyes of mischief. He clung to me at once. I went where I was going and he kept giving me some frog-like jumps.
With her I began to teach literacy. I did not really trust what I had learned. It seemed a lie to me that by teaching how little children could learn to read or write. I feared they were only false theories. But I tried. Laura looked at me patiently. It made me doubt. I was sure I was doing it wrong, very badly. But we loved each other so much that after each class we would go out together to take a little spin around. Sometimes we took the class by the river. Class, or whatever it was called that happened to us when my hand carried his little hand and we drew letters together in the sand.
Until one day, I was correcting at the comedian table, with my back to the window. Laura in front of me, leaning on her elbows and holding her face in her fists. Something began to say. When I actually listened to her, I still took a little time to understand, because I was headlong into the failed two-digit division procedure. Also because Laura’s voice came out in bits, like breaths, with a sound or two. Song whispered it seemed. Slow and like to fall asleep.
-Wha er … er, no! … Wha re hou se and but che ry. Warehouse and butchery!
When he finished spelling I saw in his eyes the reflection of the almanack we had on the wall, right behind me. And I did not move, to continue seeing that glitter and the face to understand and the dazzle by the discovery, and my own braids falling in the table of the time in which mom amassed, while I wrote with my pencil bitten and dad loomed on my shoulder. And then I did not move, although I dropped the pen because I had a shake in the chest that would not let me speak. And she knew it and she turned around to take me in the face with her friendly hands and hugged me and I felt that I had started to be a teacher and that I was in the only place I should be.
After talking to Erasma, the other teacher, I explained and explained. I hoped that Laura would go to read in one of those books that sent us the Council. Or in the notebook, we were making together. But never in an almanack, never in a sunset, never in that time when I was almost distant from her, correcting the notebooks of the larger boys.
My grandmother could say that there is a moment when the heart begins to fly and you know it. A moment when the heart moves and it is not the beat of other times, but a beat like a tight carnation that takes the air. And that is when you have begun to fly, to exist also in another chest, or somewhere else. If so, that was my first flight and maybe that’s why I’m still here, in the country schools.
I remember that time I took the medal of Santa Rita that was hanging and put it on his neck. She looked at me as deeply as only she knew.
Laura was her name. Laura Antinao. And I will never forget.
Fuente: educación y gestión