Series 3: Chapter 10


March 14, 2015 by helenwaldron

The AB seminar


“She’s keen,” commented Writewell, as she and Speakeasy sat in the taxi taking them the short distance to Hamburg Airport.

Writewell was flying to Hong Kong to join the German rock group The Malicious Black Widows on their Down, Down Under The Black Widows’ Hood Tour of New Zealand and Australia today. She would be gone for nearly three months, so they had dissuaded Deborah from coming with them. It was too private a moment.

“She won’t stop asking about the AB seminar,” smiled Speakeasy. “The less we tell her the more she wants to know.”

“It’s often the way,” agreed Writewell. “But don’t tell her anything all the same.”

The reasons behind their lavish, all expenses paid seminars were their own business and their own business alone.

But just for the record (and because Deborah wasn’t around) the three participants had met at a summer school where Speakeasy had worked in his early years of teaching. And being the champion schmoozer and networker that Speakeasy was, it was only a matter of time that his path had crossed with theirs again.

To cut a long story short, Speakeasy had introduced them to Writewell and one of them – they think it was Oscar, or more likely his wife – had suggested they meet up once a year for an intensive seminar. And so they did.

Over the years the five of them had become a tried and trusted team. Speakeasy and Writewell had come to like their three very different students. They were generous, socially aware and modest too.

The three AB group members liked Speakeasy and Writewell because they were patient and very discreet.

“So what does ”AB” stand for?” asked Deborah, impressed at the glamour of being an English language teacher.

Speakeasy looked at Writewell uneasily. Writewell blushed slightly red.

“And how long have you been teaching them?”

Writewell was checking in her luggage now while Speakeasy stood by.

“Have we time for a coffee?” asked Speakeasy.

“Sure,” answered Writewell. “I’ve still got bags of time.”

Hamburg Airport had been going through substantial refurbishment recently. Although the arrivals hall was still a dark, airless cellar space, the departures hall above it was now an impressive glass-roofed hangar, and the coffee bars and restaurants had a view of the planes landing and taking off. The shops in the mall were going upmarket too.

But try as they might to make it a pleasant place to spend time in, an airport remains a place where people say goodbye and walk away.

“I’ll miss you Jools,” said Speakeasy, as they stood in front of the security gate.

Writewell, who had wanted to go so badly, suddenly wanted to stay. Or cry.

Instead she hugged Speakeasy.

“Watch out for low flying kangaroos,” he warned her.

“Don’t ever tell Deborah what “AB” stands for,” sniffed Writewell back.

“Your secret is safe with me,” Speakeasy assured her. “Now give me a kiss and off you go.”

He watched her walk through the security barrier until she was out of sight, swallowed up by the fellow travelers and police officers, just like she would soon be swallowed up by clouds and then by her new life of adventures and excess with a rock band on tour.

“Miss you, Jools,” he muttered, turning back to the huge, slow revolving doors.

Writewell was going home for the first time in years. He hoped she would come back again.


One thought on “Series 3: Chapter 10

  1. […] Every year Speakeasy and Writewell shut up their shop and spent a week or so in an exotic destination teaching the AB group. They looked forward to it every year and were talking about it in the taxi taking Writewell to the airport just before she left him for three… […]


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Helen Waldron

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Teachers as Workers

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