Queens and Aces

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April 23, 2013 by travelinggrits

 

Two girls were loitering outside my office as I strolled back to my desk after the lunch break.

Teacher, we want to talk with you.

I invited them inside, and we seated ourselves around the small table. After some light small talk, I could tell they were eager to practice their English but still a little embarrassed. To ease the atmosphere, I retrieved a pack of cards from the depths of my desk drawer and casually threw it on the table as an option. Their eyes lit up, and we played several games before the bell rang.

We’ll be back tomorrow, they promised.

After lunch today, I walked down the deserted hallway and slid the door of my darkened office open, startled to find girls huddled in a circle on the floor because there weren’t enough chairs. They looked up at me expectantly. The game, the game! they cry.

A seductive shuffle of the deck, with a crisp snap at the end.

Sly eyes peeking over the tops of the cards.

From the looks of it, you might have thought we were playing high-stakes Texas poker, but it was just a round of Go Fish.

Singsongy voices, do-you-have-a… with a suspenseful pause.

Scoffs of disgust when one’s precious cache of cards is unwillingly diminished.

The warning bell rings, and the action continues at a furious pace, cards slapping down on the table. The match finishes with one minute to spare, with sighs of disappointment from the losers. They hastily push in their chairs, slam the door shut behind them and run down the hall, calling to each other and laughing, hair streaming behind them.

Tomorrow, lunch will be delicious, they warned me. (Wednesday has a reputation for the best meal of the week in the cafeteria.) But please hurry!

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