“Thank you. How many pencils have you got? Three? Why did you bring so many with you?”
He’s laughing, I am laughing, but I still manage to offer an explanation: “They weren’t selling single pencils, just in packages of seven. So I bought seven.”
“So now you have seven-“
“Nope. That would mean Christmas has arrived a bit early here, no?”
And we try to laugh away our examination nervousness once again, the unknown student who borrowed my pencil, me and our equally fidgety fellow students in the big room that the Computing faculty in Stuttgart has made available.
Actually, I am not really nervous, just excited, in a way that signifies addiction damn well served and well served it is right now. Yes, I am happy to sit here, be a student and write my first law exam, even though I haven’t really learned enough, a fact that is proven right at the beginning: Damn, who was it who said that clever thing about a just system of punishment? Don’t know. Didn’t care about names enough, did we?!?
(On the way home, I will realize what a stupid mistake it was to think 4 weeks and 1 month are the same space of time. Just ask a prisoner whose sentence I haven’t taken seriously enough with my stupid answer!)
I take a train back to the city centre where I land somewhere behind the notorious Stuttgart railway station. It all looks quite derelict, full of political posters and blue police uniforms and I don’t seem to be able to find my way to the other side of the station and over the street, like I used to in the past when I visited regularly.
When I finally get there, I meet my Kindle reading hubby in a restaurant and reward myself with a big salad plate. “How was it?” “Oh, I don’t know. The questions were quite tricky and I don’t really know whether I crossed enough correct answers. But I think I might have passed. We’ll see. I’ll invite you to our favourite Indian restaurant in any case, just because you ironed my T-shirt and drove me here.”
It is still quite sunny and warm outside, just like years ago in Trier, when I went there with my hubby, who had some exams to pass, too. Computer science. And we celebrated afterwards: in Trier and later also in Koblenz, I remember.
Back at home, I finally know what to interrupt my enforced reading break with: E. L. James. As far as that kind of writing goes, I don’t believe it should have real literary merits. Just a story is enough.