‘I will also be taking you for communication this year and communication is vitally important here. It’s the centre of everything we do. It’s the main thing. It’s the reason you are sitting in that very desk.’ Mr Quintius pointed to Normal, then at Tiberius, then at Ocacia and Ararnia.
He surveyed the eight eager faces before him. ‘Sounds easy doesn’t it? The problem is, it’s not. Just talking is one of the poorest ways of telling someone something. People need more. Songs. Actions. Facial expression. Body language. Who knows what body language is?’
Ambrose stuck his hand up. ‘Not verbal communication.’
Mr Quintius nodded, pressed those fingers to his lips again then said, ‘And what does that mean?’
‘Telling people things without talking to them,’ said Ambrose without putting his hand up this time.
‘Hmm.’ Mr Quintius walked to the whiteboard and began to write on it with just his finger. The bright blue letters appeared as his hand zipped across the shiny surface. His writing was not very neat.
‘Eyes. Faces. Stance. Gestures,’ he said as he wrote these down. ‘Let’s work backwards. Start with gestures. Who moves their arms about as they talk?’
Ararnia put her hand up. ‘My mum says if they cut off my arms I’d be speechless,’ she said, waving her hands as she spoke.
‘Sir you’ve mispelled ‘gestures’ you’ve put ‘gestus’.
Mr Quintius frowned and looked back at the board. ‘Hmm. Well spotted er…’
‘Ocacia Wings, sir.’
‘Yes, Miss Wings.’
‘And you’ve got some dust on your shoulder there too,’ she added.
Mr Quintius glanced down. There were a few specks of white on his jacket.
‘How strong are those spectacles, Miss Wings?’ he asked.
She removed her red glasses and waved them. ‘These sir, just ordinary, sir.’
‘Hmm. Really? Very good, very good.’
Break time came around. Tiberius and Normal headed outside into the sunshine.
‘What were those lights we saw last night?’ Normal said as they strolled towards the school forest, away from the main building.
Tiberius kicked at stray rocks along the way and said nothing.
Normal turned. Ararnia and Ocacia were there following them.
‘What are you doing?’he asked.
Arania tossed her ginger hair back and grinned at them.
‘Following you,’ she said.
‘Well don’t.’ said Tiberius.
They walked on. The girls kept following.
‘What lights did you see?’ asked Ocacia from behind them.
‘Just lights,’ said Normal.
‘Hey, why don’t we get some of those pies you told me about?’ said Tiberius, snapping his figners and stopping dead so that Ararnia walked smack into him.
‘What pies?’ she asked, pulling her hair from her eyes as she disentangled herself from him.
Tiberius sighed. ‘Just some food that’s all.’ He barely seemed to have noticed she’d bumped into him.
Normal pointed beyond the forest.
‘We could do,’ he said, ‘Mary and Martha’s place is over there,’ he said.
‘Great,’ said Ararnia and she rubbed her hands together. ‘I love pies.’
To be continued…