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CHAPTER IV No words

2019.03.06

After lunch at school, my younger brother who was in the first grade was sometimes playing with me in the big courtyard in front of the lunch hall.

One day, we were balancing on the iron bar set on a small wall around a tree.

I was showing him how to balance and he was doing the same.

He suddenly fell backwards and his head hurt the brick wall. I remember that matt sound followed by his deep and long scream. Around his head a dark red bloodstain was growing bigger and bigger.

I didn’t know what to do. My Italian friends were far away. Other children were just ignoring us.

I tried to speak French to get help. Nobody seemed to understand me.

An adult was a little near. I ran towards him and started to cry for help, but all that came out was Italian. He shrugged his shoulders, turning his back on me.

 

I then put my hand in the blood pool next to my brother’s head and run back to him, showed him the blood on one hand, and with the other hand, pulled him towards the little wall. He then saw my brother and understood what had happened, lifting him up in his arms. At the back of the head was a big black hole and a lot of blood was streaming out of it, falling on the ground behind as they walked towards one of the buildings. I wanted to go inside with them, but the man made a sign with his head not to enter. I couldn’t explain the situation: it was my brother, and it was because of me.

What could I do ?

I didn’t have the words.

I had to stay outside.

I then decided to pray Ave Maria so that my brother would not lose all his blood and die. As I was doing the last sign of the cross my Italian friends came towards me. They had seen the man take him away. I explained what had happened and they all hoped that he wouldn’t die and that my mother wouldn’t be too angry at me.

 

At the end of the day, Mum was waiting outside school, with the other parents. I saw my brother in the car. He was smiling and had a big bandage wrapped around his head. Then, Mum got really angry at me.

She was speaking hard to me, in Norwegian.

Why hadn’t I followed my brother to the infirmary ? Getting no answer she repeated the question.

I started crying.

This time too, no words came out

I didn’t know what to say..

I didn’t know how to explain that I hadn’t known what to say.

I hadn’t known how to say that it was my brother and that it was because of me.

 

I realized that learning the language of this new country was essential to save the lives of my loved ones.

To be able to speak French was becoming a question of life or death …

 

(CONTINUES NEXT MONTH)

 

On Autostrada del Sole, the Italian motorway. Mum’s writing.

My little brother and I

Carnival in Italy, my brother is disguised in Zorro and I am Pippi Longstocking

On the beach in Italy with brothers

Beatrix (Bix) Fife
Beatrix (Bix) Fife プロフィール

Born in Stockholm, Bix grew up in Rome in a Norwegian, British and Italian family, speaking 3 languages. At the age of 7, her family moved to Paris, where she completed her secondary studies in French schools and also learned to play the classical flute.

While studying at university and management school in Oslo she also started to paint and to do theatre. She was a trainee for 6 months in NYC at the New Dramatists’ studio. She then studied art in Oslo and at the Fine Arts Academy of Budapest. In 1990 she won a prize in an art competition in Austria, giving her the opportunity to come to Japan. In Kyoto, she studied Japanese calligraphy and worked with performance art between 1995 and 1999, with philosopher Michael Lazarin and musician Mamoru Katagiri (Marki) and played music for dance companies in the Kansai area from 1997 to 1999. She moved to Brussels in 1999 continuing to paint, to exhibit works and to give concerts. As well as learning to play jazz at the Music Academy of Brussels, she played in the Bix Medard electropop group and founded the Brussels Language Activities, school of language and culture. She received a Master’s degree in Sciences du Langage at the University of Franche-Comté in Besançon, in 2008.

After moving back to Tokyo in 2010 she started Bix&Marki, a musical duo of original French songs. Bix is a painter, a singer, a musician and a linguist. She sings, plays the flute and writes the lyrics of all the Bix&Marki songs. While working on her music and painting, Bix teaches French at universities, specializing in role-play and language through art and personal expression.