novella- contnd.

A Prince

 

When I first spoke to you between the shelves of our high-school library, I thought you were foreign.

            “Are you Russian?”

“No,” you said, grinning. “I am from here. My parents are Dutch and German.”

“Then you must have grown up in a big city?” There seemed something too vertical and urban about the way your hair fell over your eyes.

“No,” you said, “I was born in a small hospital two miles away and have lived in this town all my life.”

Then how to explain all that you seem to know that others cannot see? You smiled your tiny-gapped smile and made a violent motion of smashing your head against something hard.

            “Foreign accent syndrome. It’s the only neurological oddity that can be called ‘chic’.”

I glanced at your blue eyes for a split second and quickly looked down at the marled carpet.

            “You remind me of Prince Myshkin,” I said.

            “Who is he?”

“Dostoyevsky’s Idiot, a character in a book I read a long time ago. He is kind and epileptic and incongruous—on the cover of my grandfather’s copy he has fair hair and blue eyes and a golden scruff just like you.”

We both breathed for a while. “I am epileptic,” you said.

“What? Really? No you’re not! That would be too strange!”

Why did I not believe you?

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