Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Professor - Ch. 30.2

As breakfast got underway, Emile discovered that she had to do very little to convince Trent to like Baron. The lad liked the Latino man almost from the start.

Favor was planted in Trent’s heart the moment he saw Baron pitching in to help Aurelia with the yard work. That seed grew when he learned that the man was an avid outdoorsman and even knew a lot about scuba diving, one of the main sports of choice in the Virgin Islands.

After breakfast, Trent gave Baron a lesson in how to get 360 waves. What Emile found so adorable about that was the fact that the professor was actually enjoying being tutored on the finer points of male hair grooming. Why else would his smile be so wide and his questions and comments so frequent?

“Okay, go over the steps one more time just to make sure I have them down correctly,” Baron prompted the child as they sat across from each other in the small, yet very tidy living room. Aurelia sat beside him on the couch, snuggling against his left side. They were both fresh from individual showers after their sweaty yard work. Her braids were in a ponytail. His hair was slick, combed straight back, and already starting to wave up. That is what prompted this hair discussion in the first place.

“One, wet de waves,” Trent said from his place on the floor near the wicker coffee table. “Two, brush de waves. Three, put yur favorite grease on de waves. Four, brush de waves again. And just to make sho’ you do it right, mon, dis is how you brush de waves,” he concluded, illustrating his last point with a brown hairbrush.

This is how you brush the waves,” Aurelia corrected, once again trying to help Trent tone down his thick dialect.

From personal experience she learned that too thick of an accent put up a language barrier even among English-speaking people. That hard lesson was learned while they briefly lived in Florida. After too many people from all walks of life complained about not being able to clearly understand her and her mother, Aurelia deliberately set out to loosen her accent and keep it loose as often as she could. However, she has long since resigned herself to it thickening back up automatically whenever her emotions were high.

In contrast, Emile stubbornly refused to change her speech. She was proud of her V.I. accent and wasn’t going to change it for anyone. Plus, a lot of men still found it very attractive. If Emile was ever going to remarry, she needed more going for her than just her looks, which were fading faster than she expected due to too many years of stress and hard work.

“I understood his lingo just fine. I think it’s great,” Baron intervened, causing Trent and Emile to smile with gratitude and approval. “I wish you spoke your native tongue more often,” he told Aurelia.

“Just get her mad enough and it’ll come out all on tis own.” Emile chuckled from her place in the wicker chair near the exit that led to the kitchen.

“Like now?” Aurelia teased and then uttered a tirade of thick island lingo. “Did you understand all dat, mon?” she concluded when her tirade was over.

“Most of it, yes.” Baron laughed. “Shall I speak a few things in my native tongue to you?” He gave her a heated gaze.

“Later.” Aurelia blushed, uttering her reply in a husky tone. “I’m hot…I mean, thirsty. Anybody else thirsty?” She quickly rose to her feet, though no one had given her a reply yet.

“I’m thirsty, mami,” Baron endeared, though he did not say what he was thirsty for.

“Me, too, mami,” Trent replied, mimicking that Spanish endearment.

Aurelia’s eyes welled up with emotion at her brother’s words. She abruptly turned around and headed to the kitchen, too choked up to say anything else.

“I help wid de drinks,” Emile volunteered with a wide grin on her face as she followed her daughter out of the room.

© 2009 by Mi’Chelle Dodson/Suprina Frazier

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