Very Short Story

Very Short Story

Why do you ask?

I am still trying to divine how that man could tell me that I could not write.  Mild-mannered, self-deprecating little man, he was one of my two advisers in a graduate program on education .  He was gently humorous.  I liked him.  So I paid no attention when other black students told me to be wary of him:  he had been so nice to me.

But then he told me that I could not write.  He could not tell me what, specifically, was wrong.  He could not tell me what to do about what was wrong.  All he would say was that I could not do it right.

So I spent two years trying to get right what he could not tell me was wrong.

Two years.

But when in defiance of my fears I took my certifying exams and my other adviser called to tell me they were “Magnificent!” ( his favorite word but what the hell…), I went to ask the little man what he thought.  The silence thundered.  He could not look at me.  Then he said quietly, “I thought the same as R__ .  Why do you ask?”

Karen Wilson Ama-Echefu