itany of Languages
The svelte man spat onto his fingertips before holding his hand out to Atkinson. The kind woman gestured for the boy to do the same.
Atkinson looked up at the unchanging expression of the angular-faced man, seeing the pale face framed by dark hair, including – an oddity to Atkinson – facial hair.
The child complied, then watched curiously as the man rubbed his fingers together, mixing the spittle. He wiped the juices on the earpieces of a pair of spectacles, the color turning just a shade darker than before.
Smiling, the taller, thinner man held the spectacles out. Never taking his eyes off the other man’s face, Atkinson accepted them. To his surprise, there was no dampness or stickiness to it.
With a sigh, he slipped the spectacles on, only to see nothing had changed.
“There now, my boy,” he said said heartily, “no more of this ‘slipping of translations’ and such. Allow me to introduce ourselves. Alle and Ella Yomin. And what is your name?”
“Atkinson,” he whispered, wondering what was in store for him.
Jalem and Allen continued on their way as Desmon closed the gate to his house. “Your litany of languages is amazing,” she said. “I know what Professor Miga spoke and you replied fluently – every time. Desmon’s father speaks of your talent of tongues as well.”
“Isn’t one of the suggestions we keep hearing, ‘be prepared with the power of words? I choose to learn as many-.”
Jalem stepped in front of him, just off the path. “Allen. The odd thing is I heard you reply in two languages. At the same time.”
Allen laughed. “I don’t think the duality of dialogues works-.”
She brought a hand to the top button of his shirt. “This isn’t like the others.”
She undid it before she asked a question in a language she knew not to be taught within the walls of the Learning Hall.
“I can’t,” he told her, in the same language she spoke.
“The glasses,” she said softly. “That’s part of how you do it, isn’t it?”
“Jalem-.” He stepped back. “It’s how it started, yes. But, I’ve… I have added those languages to my learning as well. I had to. Why do you think I participate in the imaginative courses such as the recitations? What some dismiss as ‘old and useless,’ I find liberating and comforting. The rhythm of the rhymes of those in the Rathens Regions, for instance… When… When I walked about home as a child, I could listen to the birds song as easily as you listen to debates in the histories class. The words are like notes to different kinds of music. To only speak in one language is seen as…as…”
“If I told you that you weren’t making sense, would you correct me,” she asked furrowing her brow. “You almost sound as if you haven’t spent your entire life here.”
“It isn’t that.”
“Yet, it is more than that. I heard what I heard because of the button, is that it?” He looked away.
“There are as many that we know of as there are like birds song to-.”
“Birds song? Allen, who has time to listen to-?”
“Maybe you should make time, Jalem. That way, you might be able to hear what I hear.”
She tilted her head to one side, wondering how well she knew – or didn’t know – her classmate for these past ten seasons. “Right now, I think I see why Professor Miga did what she did. I’ll meet you tomorrow in your garden, before we go to the piers.”
(No complaints about how wonderful today’s NaNoWrite-a-Thon was, with our little region completing 50 hours of writing! That and adding to my Camp NaNo word count was nice today)