Assembly

World Literature Today|Summer 2020

Assembly
The students noticed an opening at the bottom of the fence, a tear in the wires. On the other side of the fence was the outside, which they only saw from the bus window when they were on their way to or from school.
Etan Nechin

We knew what it meant when the class-room bell rang on Friday at noon, so we let our balls bounce away in soft dribbles, dropped the skipping rope at our feet, swallowed the piece of sandwich we were chewing and threw the rest into the green trash can, got in line, raised our arms, pointed our index fingers, and touched our classmate’s shoulder to make sure we were standing at arm’s length. We walked in single file from the yard on the cracked concrete path that ran along the wire fence to the quadrangle in front of the school’s administration building. When we arrived, we took our places. We were twelve, we were seven, we were nine. We knew where and how to stand: at arm’s length, both sides, eyes fixed to the front and up, looking at our teachers, who were standing at attention in a row on the teetering old wooden platform.

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Summer 2020