“While you were away . . . . . Raquel López stopped by to see you.”

The pink note was propped up on my desk.  Raquel López?  Attendance registers full of Langa Mthembus and Lethu Mthethwas, Thembi Ndabas and Thando Ntulis were a clear indication that we lived in Zululand. Raquel López did not fit the bill.

I was immediately intrigued.  “She will stop by again after 3 PM.”  Well, it looked like I would have the opportunity to meet this Raquel López.  I wondered what she could want.

At precisely 15:00, Raquel López showed up at my door.  A short woman, she stood at a little over 1,5 metres tall.  Confidently she introduced herself and thanked me for the meeting.  Her strong, stocky build and straightforward launch into conversation emphasised her powerful character.  Usually brusque encounters intimidate me, but the look in Raquel’s eyes was warm and her smile sincere.  I relaxed and invited her to sit down.

“I have two boys,” she began, straight to the point.  As she spoke her large, brown eyes traveled around my office, stopping on photographs of and drawings by students.  “They need to be in school.  They are Grade 2 and 4.  We come from Spain, but we are working here in Zululand now. I have been to many schools and we will take the best.”

Raquel turned back toward me and focused her gaze my way.  She had very dark, short-cropped hair which produced whirling curls around her head.  Her coiffure was like a mass of thunderclouds, seething and swirling, ready to release pent-up energy.  She waited expectantly for my reply.  “We can accommodate them,” I told her.  And I enquired about their proficiency in English.

She waved her hand, dismissing my question.  “They are reading well in English. They are fine.”

Raquel then proceeded to drill me on the ethos of the school.  She challenged the established mission, vision, values and goals.  She reminded me of a Jack Russell terrier, small but fiery and fierce.  She pushed, but not in an unfriendly way.  She was a mother who loved her boys deeply and wanted a school with a good fit.  Although her questions were intense and probing and often a bit on the accusatory side, she listened carefully to my answers.  I could see she weighed each response with care.  Several times she removed her oversized, blue plastic glasses and gave them a good rub with her lightweight denim jacket.

Raquel was bitterly opposed to what she thought of as the established Christian church.  She perceived all Christians to be judgemental and narrow-minded.  She did not hesitate to tell me that she had already visited all the other schools and left ours for last on purpose.

“Okay,” she announced, suddenly standing before I had finished.  “I am happy.  We will come here.” A brilliant smile stretched across her face.  “We will see you on Monday.  Thank you.”  And with that she turned and strode out of my office.

I slowly stood, took a deep breath and blinked several times.  What a powerhouse of a woman!  I looked forward to meeting her sons.

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Today’s assignment: Write a post focusing on one  of the people that have recently entered your life, and tell us how your narratives intersected.   Today’s twist: Turn your post into a character study.

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