Learning

“But I don’t understand the squiggles,” Claude said.

“Don’t worry, that’s what we’re here to work on,” Shane replied, leaning over the table. He pointed to the paper, and continued, “Now look. This one right here. A circle with a little tail, that’s an ‘A’.”

“Right, but what does that mean?”

“Just relax, we’ll get there. Just remember, this circle with a tail, it’s an ‘A’. Not the circle here with a line on the left, that’s ‘B’. And third, the circle with a hook, that’s a ‘G’. What’s this one?” Shane pointed.

“B.”

“Good. And this?”

“G”.

“Right. And this one?”

Claude sighed, looking out the window. “It’s a fucking A.”

“Nope. Look where I’m pointing.”

Claude looked down, his eyebrows knit together. “Oh. It’s B.”

“Right. What about this one?”

“A.”

“Very good. Now, if we put B, A, and G together, we get a word. Do you know that word?”

“No, I don’t. That’s why I’m here.”

“It’s ‘bag’. B-A-G spells bag.”

“Heh, like old lady Thompson over there?”

“Just like!” Shane laughed. “Now, here’s a pencil. Write the word ‘bag’.”

Claude took the pencil with another great sigh, and started to draw the circles and their attachments. He moved slowly, and when he finished, he sat back. “There. Done.”

The result was shaky, but clear: bag.

“Nice! Well done. So those are three letter of the alphabet. I skipped over to g just to get you writing, now we’ll go back to c.”

Claude leaned forward, feigning continued indifference, but hopeful, interested beneath it all. Wanting to learn, despite everything he had learned previously. A letter at a time, he would conquer this.

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