The Foreigner

Polarity, Youtube

The new girl in the class, she speaks with a South-American accent. She’s a foreigner, she’s eleven just like the rest of us. Straight light brown hair, large green eyes, olive skin, a serious expression. She seems a little aloof, but it’s just her seriousness, which perhaps stems from living here after travelling from a country on the other side of the ocean. I like her. I was born abroad too, although I’m supposed to be a Spaniard.

The class is standing in the middle of the classroom, where the tables have been pushed together, following instructions given by the teacher. One of those tables somehow gets toppled and it falls edge first on my foot. The pain shoots through me and I let out a cry.

What happened! the teacher exclaims. Before I can think through the pain, it comes out of my mouth: She did it! I rise my arm to point at her. The foreigner. The look of surprise on her face shocks me. I’m shocked at myself too. It’s not true! she shouts, her voice full of outraged pain. I immediately retract myself: It wasn’t her, I say, it was an accident.

Where did that come from? I’ve asked myself through the years. To be unkind, wrongfully accusatory… Me.

I see the girl’s face. I know now that, at that precise moment, I needed to blame someone for my pain and it couldn’t be anyone other than a foreigner —like me.

Vivi, 2021

©Viviana Guinarte 2021