In strictest confidence

In Hautvoir, notes, Sanford Meisner, Story material on May 26, 2016 at 7:39 am

I won’t even try to describe what “navigation” on the web looks like at the moment. Suffice it to say, I get to sort through papers on my desk, or water the plants, while the whirligig whirls or the page freezes over. Yes, hoping for some relief today. If no relief shows up, I’ll see what happens next.

This morning, the judge in the case being on sick leave, the President of the Tribunal in Castres will hear the lawyer’s appeal. Yesterday, I spent close to two hours listening to what the woman had to say because, good bad or no decision today, she needed someone to listen. So I listened. Took notes. Asked questions, and listened some more.

She’s hoping the President of the Tribunal will designate her as “tiers digne de confiance” (English  literal translation: trustworthy third party). The designation is somewhere between a tutor and a foster parent. If she gets the designation, the boy she’s been sheltering, feeding and otherwise protecting for the past six months can get the knee operation he needs. The surgeon won’t touch him without a signed authorization by an adult officially designated as – well, as something.

The boy’s plight – a variation on a now-familiar theme: the only official paper that survived the crossing of the Mediterranean in a dinghy gave his (true) age. However when his buddy got turned back at the French-Swiss border (the Swiss? Not the Italian?? Yes, and don’t ask for details if you veer toward impatience). I continue: his buddy got turned back, so he claimed he had no papers at all and was over eighteen. Then French authorities took his certificate for authentication in Albi, he was placed in a home, got kicked out after the infamous bone test, and so on. (The certificate of birth? Now proven authentic.)

The woman told me all this. Some parts of the story, I knew already. More than anything, she needed to talk about her own life and her own plight. A lot of that sounded damned familiar. She’s a shade better off than I am, financially speaking. But at age sixty-one, after a professional career in the medical field, she now works crazy, irregular hours as a nursing assistant in an old people’s home. In other words, helping those who can’t help themselves anymore in their own feeding, bathing and other bodily functions.

The sun was out so we sat outside the tea room a local friend has opened close by. She had coffee and paid for my pot of Earl Grey.

Yesterday afternoon, two teen-aged girls (in the 12-14 range) shared the names of their beloved with me. In strictest confidence, for the thrill of speaking the beloved’s name out loud. Then we got back to the serious business of nailing those damned multiplication tables once and for all – for those times when electronic devices don’t deliver the goods as expected.

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