This Afternoon’s French Class

Today, mon prof handed back the results from our last oral exam. This was right after we took a quiz about whether à or de followed a verb before an infinitive. We graded the quizzes in class, and I received (another) 100%, so when le prof walked around passing out half-sheets of paper with our oral exam grades, I was pretty confident I could brush off the score and move on pretty quickly. I remember how I did. I remember a lot of what I said during the exam. I told the story of how I broke my brother’s arm. En français. And I asked the professor questions about his childhood. En français. I remember what mistakes I made, and when a couple weeks passed without the results, I became perfectly fine with not knowing them, especially since I knew they were going to suck bigtime.

So, le prof placed my half-sheet of paper down on my desk. At the time I was either reaching for a pretzel stick or a water bottle from my backpack, and I coolly told myself, hey, I waited two weeks for these results, what’s a few more seconds? Besides, I’m ready to hide this half-sheet of paper once I look at it and bask in the quiz I just annihilated. Yes, I’m going to splash joyfully in quiz guts.

Some of the red ink had bled through the half-sheet. I turned up the corner with the score out of 60 on it. I turned up the corner again and looked at the score again. Then I flipped the whole half-sheet over and read le prof’s comments. I whispered to myself, but I sucked on this exam. What? How? Huh? One of the two comments corrected a grammar error I specifically remember: I had said Ils ont faché instead of Ils étaient fachés. And then the other comment said: Vous parlez super bien! Du courage.

Well. I also get to paint myself with red exam ink. Like blood from a casualty. I sometimes like this war.

Du courage.


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