The 11th´s Hour

When I wrote the descriptions of my various classes the other day, I felt like I was short-changing my 11th graders. Then again, I only had them in my class for a month. They stopped coming to class because they had to take their standardized tests in order to graduate. But then the very night I neglected to mention that class, something very interesting happened involving them.
I had gone to bed at around 11 or so. For some reason I had very quickly started feeling like crap about a half an hour before I went to bed. Even before laying down, I felt a huge chill come over my whole body. I couldn’t stop shaking for around 20 minutes, so I got up to ask Abuela for another blanket. She gave me one, and I went back to bed, still shaking and feeling nauseous. I was really tired from a long day, and shaking and shivering like crazy, so I decided to pray a bit before I went to sleep. My thinking wasn’t too clear, but I believe my logic was that I should be sure to pray in case I died in the night. I admit, I probably should have DONE something to prevent dying if it was really that serious, but like I said: I was tired.
I managed to fall asleep, apparently, because after a while I began to have a really strange dream. I was hearing acoustic guitar, and a group of singers singing in Spanish. During the verses, I heard my name being shouted: “Ryaaaaannnn! Ryaaaaannnn!” That was kind of weird, but I just figured I was misunderstanding the lyrics…after all, I always thought that on “The One I Love” R.E.M. was shouting “Ryan!” when it was actually “Fire!” or “Riot!” Either way, it wasn’t Ryan. So hearing my name this time didn’t strike me as odd. But then there was a pause in the music, and I woke up. I was in my dark room, and I wasn’t sure why I had woken up. Then I heard a voice call again: “Ryaaaannnn! Wake up!” That really confused me, because I already WAS awake. In my stupid and fevered state, I was convinced for a minute that I actually had died. The fact that everything was still dark was more confusing, though: I couldn’t figure out whether I’d made it to heaven or hell. But the voices kept calling my name, and another song began.
Then the obvious, although strange truth occurred to me: the voices and singing were coming from outside my house. I got up, still very confused, and walked to the front door. The earlier shivering had led me to put on shorts and a shirt, so I wasn’t wearing just underwear, which is what I usually sleep in. This was fortunate, because when I opened the door, my nine 11th graders (plus one guitar player) were standing in front of my door singing a song in Spanish. I was majorly confused, especially since the song was a romantic ballad that talked about the need to buy a gun to protect your heart and shoot a woman if she hurts you. Very strange. Anyhow, when the song ended, I think they sensed my complete lack of comprehension, so they explained to me that when 11th graders finish classes in Costa Rica, they go door-to-door to their teachers’ houses and serenade them! I laughed and congratulated them, and left them all with a handshake or a kiss on the cheek, since I had no idea what else I was supposed to do with a group of students singing to their barefoot teacher at 1 in the morning.
They headed off on their merry way, and I went back inside, by this time not feeling sick anymore. When I passed by Abuela’s room, which is right at the front of the house, I had expected her (and the rest of the neighborhood) to be very annoyed, but I just heard her say “Que simpaticos!”—“How nice!” I told her good night and went to bed again. How nice indeed…

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