The stories of my life on a little island in the middle of the Mediterranean sea ... and my occasional adventures beyond these shores.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

The Willful One

It was 1986. Our French lesson dragged on interminably. I thought I would scream if we had to recite another irregular French verb. Outside our classroom window, two sparrows with thoughts of nest-building pecked lovingly at each other, perched precariously on the edge of the stone balcony. In between a je suis and a tu es they had hopped over the edge and flown away. My thoughts followed them. I was soon somewhere above the puffy clouds.
The abrasive sound of chalk on blackboard brought me back to reality. Another confounded irregular verb to memorise. I  marked it in my book and peered at the board through half-open eyes, wishing I was a bird and could fly away to some fantasy realm. I turned my head slightly. Across the very narrow aisle, littered with school bags, my friend Helga was busily scribbling away. I doubted she was that interested in French verbs.
Mdina Ditch 083
“What are you writing,” I whispered between one conjugation and the next.
“The lyrics to Kayleigh,” she whispered back.
“Write them for me,” I replied, as I surreptitiously handed her my notebook.
She nodded. Minutes later the notebook was back on my desk. I glanced at them and hummed the song in my head.
Do you remember, chalk hearts melting on a playground wall?
Do you remember, dawn escapes from moon-washed college halls?
I was back in my reverie again. This time it was the clanging sound of the recess bell that brought me back to the classroom.
Mdina Ditch 084
It was  March then, as it is now. At lot has changed since that far-off day in the classroom. And a lot has remained the same. I am no longer a bored teenager at school and the ‘80s are just a golden memory. But I am still prone to day-dreaming and to building castles on clouds. Only now, those moments come upon me while I am driving or cooking. And, yes, sometimes while working too. I still hum Kayleigh in my head and, although I have a lot of quiet moments, I can be boisterous and a little bit unruly too. I have changed but, deep down where it matters, I have remained the same.
Medieval Mdina (12)
Our classroom balcony – just above the main entrance
As for March, it is as unpredictable as ever. It is willful and capricious. It  is sunshine and thunderstorms; raindrops and hail. It is beautiful beyond any other month of the year and the most willful out of all of them. March is predictably unpredictable. A maiden clothed in the most exuberant cloak of colours that only the Master painter of the universe can devise; a tomboy with a most mischievous grin. I delight in all that this month has to offer and I will it to go on forever. Because, you see, we are strangely akin, March and I, and I was going to tell you why but, on second thoughts, I will leave it up to you to figure it out.
For those of you that are curious, here’s Kayleigh:
Speaking of change, our school has recently been transformed into a centre of Culture and Leisure. More about that, if you are interested, here and here.


  1. What a beautiful school Loree! I can remember feeling the same with Spanish class and also the not very good grade I got. Ha.

  2. 'I have changed but, deep down where it matters, I have remained the same.'


    I loved this post, L.

  3. I had exactly the same feelings during math classes ! I dreamed or I draw ! Ever since I have difficulties to add 1 + 1 ! I also dreamed a lot, now I start to think of the past, that's a bad sign !

  4. Hello Loree,

    How beautifully you have captured those early schooldays and how well we can identify with the hours spent daydreaming when one's mind was meant to be on other things. It is so strange how the tiniest of instances can transport one back through the decades and recall vivid memories of the past.

    March is indeed a capricious month. The bridge between Winter and Spring teasing one with warmth only to crush the first brave flowers with bitter winds and storms. The ecstasy and the pain, how this resembles Life itself in all it's varying moods.

    We love the thought of you 'building castles on clouds' and trust that it will ever be so!

  5. Beautiful post with beautiful music.
    I still remember the tree I stared out the window at in second grade.
    The teacher sent a note home to my mother about my window staring. lol

  6. Such a gorgeous post, Loree. We all remember those days with our hearts wanting to go out the window! Please keep writing, I know that your life is hectic but it is so appreciated...

  7. DAY DREAMING……….I think we are all guilty!Now, tell me what is the main language on MALTA?You write so perfectly in English!I would think it would be a mix of several languages or I guess MALTESE??Tell me as I am VERY curious……………..your school was GORGEOUS!.

  8. Dear Loree - such a lovely post you shared...I like you did a great deal of day dreaming. I am sure our teachers knew we were not really following them. Especially when the windows were open and the spring weather made its was great too - have never heard it before. Well you best get back to day dreaming - hope they are good ones friend.

  9. It's powerful how music always brings a memory solidly back into focus. Your school is the stuff of fairytales...

  10. Beautifully written, Loree! You have a way of carrying me away from reality and just dream/remembering my youth. Your photos are gorgeous!

  11. I used to read books in class… school was soooooo boring!

  12. What a beautiful memory to share, I honestly don't know if I have such fond or loving memories of high school? Your analogy to March and your description of this month makes me want to melt right into it xx


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