Castles in the air #MiMejorMaestro
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Castles in the air #MiMejorMaestro

Castles in the air #MiMejorMaestro

His tiny index finger was moving accurately, plowing through the air of trails that only his eyes were capable of appreciating. Then, those staring at him in silence were unable to figure out. It did not matter that I was in front of a dish full of eggs and sausages. He was completely focused on the incorporeal drawing.

Anything could be a trigger of this fascinating behaviour. Even when he had spent hours doodling as if the two dimensions of the sheets of paper were not enough for him. He put the crayons carefully and he slowly looked at some point, while his chubby hand plowed through the air. A little Gaudí that could either write a magical world, drawing a big bad wolf or calculate the weight of an atom, if it were not for the fact that he was not as tall as the chair, yet.

I liked to follow his lines straining my eyes while I pretended to be working. His movements had a hypnotic effect that made me almost went into trances. The well-known world blurred to bring me back the feelings I nearly forgot.

Knock, knock, knock, knock…The insistent feet tapping of Mª Luisa marks the transition between images like a diapason. The murmur of the laughter, of the booties moving on the wooden banks and the vague smell of a teenager who has just finished the break. A tsunami of sensations that overlap. And there are the very movements. Those roly-poly fingers. That endless sight. Those accurate lines with which the technical drawing teacher paints geometrical forms in the air worriedly. One of those vocational teachers that you do not figure out how do they end up teaching in high schools but who have an indelible impact in your life. Carlos…I don’t know what. It only comes up to my mind that he had a Basque surname, or it rang me a bell. Something ending in -uriz or -ariz. Aermensúriz, maybe. What does it matter. Engineer, they say. The kind of engineer that painted the lines of the roads of Renfe.

I barely remember his voice. Just a sound of a runny nose that shivered. A vibration that made an effort to delete the straight and incorporeal lines of the class’ sky. He was the kind of person that seemed to be a character of a book. His aspect was comparable to that of a knight with the hand on his breast, long and wedge-shaped beard. Red-haired, concretely. He was always prepared with beige corduroy trousers and a maroon jumper, those with geometrical printed trimmings.

I see myself sitting on the fifth desk of the third line counting from the entering door of the class. I was looking at those fingers synchronously moving together with the nervous pounding of a teenager sitting behind me. Meanwhile, he was doing his things. The hanging chalk between the index and thumb let some powder fall over the heads of those sitting on the front line like it was scrubbing against the greenish surface of the blackboard. But, no. The figure takes shape in the air, in Carlos’ head and even I can observe it in mine, with its cross marks for the bisectors. Zafs, zafs, zafs, zafs…sounds the rubbing of the fist that erases the thickness’ excess while the slow-moving breath of Carlos Huelamo gains strength, struggling to cover the back of Noverjes’ chair with infinite inked lines.

Another mark in the air. And the rope comes back to its place. And I follow it with my eyes, trying not to delete the previous step. From my right, I can hear a female-voiced sigh. Another lady doing her castles in the air, but it has nothing to do with the perfect geometry chased by the movements of the teacher. A new turn of the invisible rope. At last, the figure looks completed. And Carlos the teacher, not the classmate flanking on my right with his dirty fingers because of the ink, stares at his masterpiece. Hieratical and blinded, like me, while time goes by. Teenagers do their things. And the silence becomes uncomfortable. Then, reality comes back unannounced. As if nothing of this has happened. He turns back and goes straight to the blackboard. He takes the rope – now it’s time, the lifelong one – and, step by step, he repeats the figure with the same precision but with his back turned. Tac, tac, tac. He decorates it with an abundance of explanations. And the public breathes again.

My classmates’ faces become blurred while I hear how haze in the south and rains in some areas of Galicia are being announced. My son struggles with a piece of ham with a fork and a harmless knife. A message shows up on the computer’s screen warning me to make sure I save the designs of the road outline. And I observe, not without embarrassment, that my index finger hangs in the air.


Por José Antonio Giménez  #MiMejorMaestro @zendalibros