Francesca, the sandanista school teacher


When I was 11-years-old, I lived in Nicaragua with my father, who was stationed there by the military. He sent me to a bilingual grade school and none of my friends spoke any English. It was here that I met Francesca, the schoolteacher who put us all through puberty.

Being a boy on the precipice of adolescence is its own paradoxical hell—alternating between insane lust, a crippling sexual frustration and a raw kind of newness, like the world has just now been cracked open to reveal incredible dreams and pleasures. Francesca, in her summer dresses that one could see through when light hit them from just the right angle personified this sweet misery. For her, I took interest in reading, writing and arithmetic. For her, I became fluent in Spanish. For her I got into fistfights with the boys who spoke disrespectfully about her beauty. And for her, I threw myself into Nicaraguan history and Sandanista ideals.

At night, I’d sneak out my window and ride my bike across Managua to climb a tree and peer into her window, watching her smoke cigarettes in her nightgown as she wrote in her diary. When she’d turn out the light, I’d go back home to study, jerk off or both. One time, she caught me watching her. At first, she was startled. I was frozen with fear and shame as she stared at me from the veranda. Then, she smiled and blew me a kiss. “Buenos noches, mi bonito,” she said. I’ve never felt more in love in my entire life.

Then she disappeared. I heard the Somaza family, who ruled the country, didn’t take too well to Francesca imparting her communist ideals on the youth. I searched for her in every jailhouse, work camp and village but I found nothing. Even though her body turned up in a lake near Casablanca, two years later, I continue to search for her.

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