Sunday, August 22, 2010

From The Classroom

Ye Lim won’t be coming to class today, her foot has a wound.

‘A wound has blood,’ I say. ‘Tell her she has an injury.’

The next day, Ye Lim limps into the classroom, immaculately kempt - her hair lifted and secured with a chopstick-like piece of wood. Her face is a grimace of pain.

‘My foot and leg are black and swollen.’

‘Go to a doctor,’ I tell her.

‘I’m not registered.’

‘Go to a hospital, then.’

Ye Lim will not be coming to class today, as she has gone to hospital.

At 11.00 she appears, walks slowly to her desk.

‘Did you go to hospital?’

‘Yes, but there were queues, so I left.’

Her ankle appears to be wrapped in cling-film.

The next day Ye Lim is in class. Her ankle is better.

'The swelling has gone down, which is a good sign.'

I give her a letter to present to her new doctor. She smiles, nods her head.

Ye Lim will not be coming to class today, she has gone to the doctor.

The final day of summer school.

‘The doctor says I was bitten by a snake.’

She lifts her jean cuff to reveal two distinct fang-marks a centimetre above her ankle.

‘A snake? How? We don’t have many snakes in England.’

‘Well,’ she says, ‘my grandparents have a well in their back-garden.’

Was it guarded by a snake?

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