Piece of heaven

     Every morning, at the same hour, my classmate Diana, an extremely beautiful little girl, stops for five minutes outside the flower shop near school. She studies everything carefully. She never walks inside the shop. The window gives her everything that she needs. Then she starts walking to school, slightly adjusting her backpack. Most times, I run to catch up with her. Her walk is elegant and detached, like that of a ballerina. She is a pleasant girl. She doesn’t talk much, but she smiles a lot. She spreads kindness around her. Sometimes, her smile is sour, because of a hearing impairment she has. The hearing aid she has to wear all the time makes her more withdrawn.

   One day, the teacher told us:

- “The Most Beautiful Classroom” contest started. They will consider the way the classroom looks, as well as how classmates work together. This will take place for one week. To stand a chance, you have to cooperate and forget about little misunderstandings. Us, teachers, will not give you any kind of advice, nor criticise you, until the end of the contest. The winning class will enjoy a trip to the Botanical Gardens. After classes, as chief of my class, I asked everybody to stay a little more to make an action plan.

- Do you want us to win?

- Yes, everybody replied.

- Then, let’s think about things other would not even dream about.

- Panels on which to exhibit out paintings, Daniela said.

- And the beautiful little things we made during Arts and Crafts, Ioana said.

- A place to exhibit the nicest notebooks, Vlad added.

- Let’s paint the walls, said Gelu with a smile.

The others liked the joke and laughed.

- My mother took out a huge fig tree; there was no room for it in the house anymore. I think we could find a place for it here, Ana intervened.

- How about a canary in Ana’s fig tree? Radu asked.

- Or a fish tank, added Silviu.

- What we decide upon must be pleasant, recreational and, more that everything, it should not disturb us. We will study in this environment we create, I mentioned.

- Music is pleasant, I don’t think I would mind it, Oana said.

- The music which you prefer, listen to it at home! I don’t like it! If we decide to listen to music, then it should be rock music.

- Let’s get serious! Not waste time! Do you honestly think our parents will help? You should know, nobody will give us money for this. Let’s not dream about things we cannot do, I continued.

- We could change our classroom into a mini-library. My dad would give us the shelves and we would bring the books from home. Where’s the money in this? Mitica asked.

- This is a good idea. But we need to so something… more special. There is a library in the school, Daniela said, but we could use the shelves for some exhibitions.

- Maybe we could breed silkworms, Silviu said. Everybody laughed.

- What o you know about this, you haven’t even seen it, you haven’t even heard about how the silk threads are made. If you really want to know, I picked mulberry leaves for the worms. This is what my uncle does, he said, sulking at his classmates’ reaction.

- Why are you so mean? It was an idea. Breeding silkworms is something much too complicated for us, I tried to calm everybody down.

- I want to make an invitation, Diana said. I would like all of you to come and visit my home. I have organised my study room and play room in a special way. If you like it, my parents will gladly help us.

- What can be so interesting that you can’t share with us? Radu asked.

- If I described the place, you would not find it interesting. Many times, words do more damage than good. Come, see and then decide, Diana said.

- Unless there is a football field there, I am not coming. I have practice, Radu said. 

     We set the time and place to meet. 15 of us gathered. Diana met us at the gate. The yard was a piece of heaven. Trees and flowers, butterflies and birds, toys and benches, alleys and fountains were sharing perfect harmony. A whisper in the wind would have disturbed the silence of dawn.

     Flowerpots placed in the strangest places: on the fence and inside it, in the carriage, under it, on a tree log and inside it, in slippers, tin cans, rollers and old clocks. Any object one would usually throw out was used as a flowerpot. Suave fl ute sounds were calling upon us. We entered a hothouse. Lights and shades, colors and scents were painting an unforgettable picture.

- The secret of growing fl owers has been in my family for generations, Diana, our host, said. Flowers fascinate me. You were right, Diana, words couldn’t have described everything. I am glad I came, Daniela said.

- I feel like dancing, singing, even screaming. Happiness entered my souls, Ana said.

- I am also happy working among the flowers. I know my mother wished I would run around and play with other children. Maybe the hearing aid made me distance myself from children and find refuge in the garden. They don’t ask me any questions and repay my work, as little as it is, with a new blossom, with a heavenly color. I started my flute lessons for this same reason. I am still learning, but the flowers like it and they do not criticize me. And the fact that you accepted my invitation gives me courage and strength to see the reality with different eyes, those of friendship and trust. Our visit ended after we had tasted the blackberry jam, served in melon plates.

     On the next day, I convinced everybody that we could decorate our class taking Diana’s example. We managed to convince other parents. We were not supposed to forget this was a classroom, after all. Following Diana’s suggestion, we created a detailed plan and we agreed upon all details together. We started working like bees in a hive. We had only one wish: to win, to bewilder. Unusual shelves and stands, funny flowerpots and many flowers, of most various colors. Dry flowers, stork’s bills, butterflies and stones made room for a small fish tank and a bird cage with a stuffed bird inside.

- This is perfect! Now I don’t want to go home anymore, I like it here too much, Ana said.

     The big day arrived. The jury went from classroom to classroom. Diana was playing her flute, to make the atmosphere even more enchanting.

The teacher told us:

- You won! I am very proud of you!

The news was met with cries of joy.

- We wouldn’t have won without Diana’s help, the specialist in growing flowers, I added.

- We are all winners. From now on, we can enjoy every beautiful moment we spend together, Diana said.

     Exercise

     Why does Diana spend so much time playing to the flowers? What made her love them so much?

     Did you know that?

     To assist a deaf person when communicating:

Be sure your face and lips are well visable;

Make sure the person with a hearing impairment is looking at you;

Be sure not to cover your mouth with your hands;

Speak naturally, do not exaggerate mouth movements do not speak too softly or too loudly;

Use gestures and facial expressions;

If you know a few basic signs, use them;

Be calm;

Be yourself;

What do you do if you can not answer someone out loud to a question, for example, „Where is ...?”. Indicate the direction of the finger or head. Sometimes indicate with the hands and as you speak: „It’s there.” There are people with hearing disabilities that dance even though they can not hear music, simply because they feel the rhythm of the music, feel it vibrating in their bodies, in their minds, and develop artistic movements. This talent helps these young people to highlight the beauty of the soul, even the dance.

 

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