This Fear Comes In Many Languages

, , , , , | Related | March 27, 2018

(I am 17 years old. My mother and I are in Paris, France, for a couple of days so that I can take the entrance exam for one of the universities I’ve applied to. This conversation happens in French while waiting to go into the exam room. My family is mostly bilingual.)

Me: “I’m really nervous. What if I fail? I kept failing a lot of the general knowledge questions in the practice tests.”

Mom: “It’ll be fine; you’ll see. Want a hug?”

Me: *in English, taking a step back, unable to choose the best words* “No! I don’t love you in public.”

(A random person nearby burst out laughing at the horror in my voice at being seen in public with my mother.)

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