Sven had only been here a month and it seemed like his English was better than hers. No that wasn’t right. Not better. Still awkward. But the lessons he had in Russia taught him some big words. What he liked to brag about as, “How you would call them; S – A – T words.” He never missed an opportunity to use words like abhor, placid, nullify, and his favorite seemed to be reprehensible. It wasn’t like she hadn’t heard these words – she had, she swore – she just wasn’t entirely sure how to use them. Sven was. Or so he had Harley believe.
Harley had taken to doing her own laundry. She thought that her mom used too much laundry detergent and at school she didn’t like to have anything that made her particularly “noticeable”.
Sven had walked into the laundry room once while she was stuffing her entire basket of laundry into the washer at once.
– This is reprehensible what you do with this laundry.
Harley hadn’t heard him walk in and quickly buried the underwear sticking out of the top of the washer under some other clothes. Sven hadn’t seemed to notice.
– This laundry. Your mother didn’t teach you to sort darker clothes and the lighter clothes?
Why this boy who walked into her house a month earlier with the dirtiest clothes on the planet was lecturing her on how to do laundry was beyond Harley.
– I do it like this all the time. Sorry.
She didn’t understand why she was still so defensive with Sven.
– It is better for the clothes to be separate.
– Separate from what?
– Each other.
– This is what your mother teach me.
– You say taught when you talk about teaching in the past.
– I do not understand, I am to talk about it right now.
Harley let that one go.
– Yes but you are speaking about teaching that already happened, meaning it is in the past.
– I see.
– You still don’t understand.
– Your language does not always make a lot of sense.
– I wish I could understand it from your perspective then I feel like I would be able to help.
– It helps me to be in this country. I will learn slowly. You will have… taught me… is this right?
– What does this “perspective” mean?
It was funny the way he sounded out words he’d never heard before.
It was the longest conversation they’d had in weeks Harley thought as she got into bed that night. And it wasn’t weird. At least she didn’t think so. Usually Sven played the quiet observer, moving in and out of rooms without so much as a word.
I really enjoyed writing this bit today. I feel like it was more than time enough that I wrote about Harley and Sven again. I was also really happy that it just seemed to flow. Pretty much a perfect scenario.