AL 041227 EXTREME MEASURES - Carlos Alonso

No, it definitely wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t said so loudly what she said right before we entered his classroom. It’s hard enough to understand his lectures at eight o’clock on a Monday morning but if she hadn’t said it he certainly wouldn’t have started to take off his tie.

Not that it was ever tied in a proper-done bow. He usually looks as tumbled as we do so early in the morning but they say that his normal attire is that pair of old pants with the pockets half missing and one cuff hanging loose of the seam. And the jacket . . . well he took it off next, which was unusual but not yet shocking in and of itself.

If she’d shut up then he’d have stopped short but as soon as she said it he began to earnestly unbutton his shirt and without a moment of shame his cuffs and his pants.

It was then I turned and asked her for silence and so I missed the shirt dropping onto the floor. I looked up only in time to see the old wifebeater t-shirt clearing his . . . well, how can I say it, revealing his . . . nipples.

Almost invisible on his wide barrel chest that was covered with fur from his neck to his . . . . She shouldn’t have said it. I would never repeat it. Because my hands, no my eyes, were watching his hands when he unzipped his trousers and then he let loose. They fell ploof to the floor unrestricted by anything remotely resembling a bu . . . bu . . . well a tush.

Just then I looked up to see everyone looking at him and him looking at her who wouldn’t quit talking and me stepping back with the thought of escaping when he casually kicked his pants off his shoes and stepped out of them without stooping or untying or such. His feet were so narrow and his old brown shoes were so wide that only his socks had held them together.

Thank god, he stopped then. I certainly hoped she would too but she went on without taking even a moment to breathe and didn’t seem flustered or daunted at all.

So for the first time in all the years of his teaching he smiled as he reached for the toe of each sock and one after the other he lifted them loose and stood in his eighty-five-year-old body and almost surrendered to her idle abuse of the language he’d known since his youth and she stuttered a bit and then coughed and waited but then went on so he looked down at his wash-grayed boxers and resignedly pushed them down slowly . . . down to the floor and then naked as morning he continued his lecture on the importance of irony in any discussion of Proust.

Retrato de L.E.S.” 
 painted by Carlos Alonso in 1963 from the The National Museum of Fine Arts, Buenos Aires, Argentina