I am attempting to catch the essence of what she is illustrating. The chart shows how Old English changed and developed into Middle English. How the words in late Old English period started loosing their inflections. A slight noise intrudes. What is it? I look out of the window, the sun shining, the colour of the trees seems to have changed a bit, a trace of green. It is quiet, even the birds are taking a break on this early spring day in April.
I turn my head back to the professor. She has a very gentle expression on her face. Her blue eyes remind me of the sea on a quiet cloudy day. On those days the water has a clear light-blue colour, the waves pushing back and forth slowly and gently, they are never in a hurry.
The noise returns, considerably louder this time, an explosive sound. Now I recognise what it is, someone is snoring. It is from the other side of the classroom. She notices it too, the professor. She might have noticed it even before I did.
She turns her head to the student who fell asleep, with a slightly higher voice, she says: “could you please wake up?” Her face remains calm and soft, as if she is still talking about the loss of inflections in Middle English. Her passion. “Sorry”, his mind returns to the present moment. She smiles lightly and nods to him. Then she continues, again her mind seems to be occupied with the works by Chaucer and Shakespeare.
My mind starts wandering, it brings me back to another setting. In an auditorium at a renowned business college. I was young and studing my first degree at that time. It has been many years now.
It was a dark winter evening. I hurried back to the college from my part-time job in a bakery. We did not normally have evening lectures so that was an exception. I was a couple of minutes late and hungry. Opening the back door of the auditorium quietly, I walked in and got myself a seat at the back row.
I put the notebook on the small auditorium table, and removed the cover of the yogurt carefully. It should be fine as we do sometimes bring food to lectures. Our schedule does not always give us sufficient time to have lunch. So I thought.
“Take your food and leave the auditorium.” The lecturer raised his voice. I sensed the irritation and realised that the words were addressed to me.
Some students stared at me, I rose and made my way to the back door. I did bring the yogurt with me and waited in the corridor. But the feeling of hunger was gone, so I threw it into the rubbish bin.
It was not quite what I expected, this evening. The heart felt heavy, it was overwhelmed by awkwardness.
The lecture was over, I walked in from the front door of the auditorium. He was collecting the books, the lecturer. I looked at him and said quietly: “ I apologise for the disturbance, I should not have brought food to the lecture.” He looked at me, no acknowledgement was shown, no words. Then he picked up the books and walked out of the room. So there I stood, alone, surrounded by the emptiness and silence.
Thanks for reading, take care.
(Photos taken in Oslo and Tenerife 2016 – 2017)