Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Royal Tea

This is how a king acts. He arrives on time, in a shiny black SUV. His posse has been here for hours already, preparing sound equipment, making mental maps of the hallways, disappearing into the tree line.

The king does not shake your hand or ask your name. The king is here for the children. They are all silent, heads turned down, meeker than on judgment day. Kings are not dismayed or surprised by this. They have seen this many times. A man scuttles up to him, cradling a microphone in a cloth. The king picks it up without a glance towards the man. Kings walk slowly, languorously. They talk slowly, extremely slowly.

When a king is done talking to the children outside, they file inside while he wanders over to the ex-pat teachers. A king will ask you if you are married, if you like his country. He uses the word, "la", which conveys respect. He will look you in the eye as long as you wish. Without intensity, only calm. I do not think he perceives this as a threat. I do not think people ever threaten him.

Kings only talk to you while they are waiting for their tea to arrive, and their tea arrives in golden cups on silver platters.

When kings leave, they first pause to take group pictures. You stick your tongue out and cross your eyes in half of them.

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