“J’irai à Dakar, prendre l’autocar”, “I will go to Dakar, to take the bus…”
The taxi that takes me to the station so early in the morning doesn’t have any headlights, any meter, not even a floor in some places. Too bad if it’s still dark. Too bad if I don’t feel like talking, don’t feel like arguing about the fare. Too bad if my shoes are resting on a soft plastic carpet bending under the weight of my legs and dangerously grazing the asphalt. The battered roadway spares us no bump. Each and every pothole echoes in my empty belly. The engine is nervous like an ill-repaired diesel. The turns are sharp and unsteady. The driver is illegal, probably a sirouman at the end of his shift. I don’t care. I desire to be nice to him as little as he wants to know about my life.
My life, of which I know nothing myself…
Under the orange streetlights a thousand small suns give Pompier a festive air. Night is just about to end but the square is so crowded that it feels like it’s the middle of the day. Bales, bags, plastic chairs and sheep are loaded on the Ndiaga Ndiaye’s galleries by zealous coxeurs. The hawkers sell their fondé, a millet porridge, by the ladle. From my taxi, I contemplate this living island in this not yet resurrected city. My neck hurts from turning my head in order to make out the hundred or so puppets moving restlessly under the pale lights threatened by the still feeble sun. The driver keeps looking straight ahead, unfazed. Fortunately, actually. I don’t know if I really want to get to my destination, but I sure don’t want to end up in a ravine. He must be in a hurry to end his ride and begin his night… At six o’clock in the morning.
“… prendre l’autocar”, “… to take the bus”. We are now driving on the Boulevard de l’Arsenal, leaving the coach station behind us. This is a bad start. This primary school nursery rhyme comes back to my mind like an obsessive, but welcome, refrain. A perfect distraction from the thousands questions and doubts arguing in my head.
Right after the Place du Tirailleur where Demba and Dupont are standing back to back, the building with the colonial facade stands out in the morning. The ex brothers-in-arms. Back to back. I have always wondered how one could establish a North-South exchange in those conditions. What language is used between Islam and Christianity? Why has one a last name, while the other just a first name? A chance he hasn’t been called Mamadou or Doudou, as every African Muslim man should have been called, to simplify things.
The driver drives around the square and drops me in front of the station. I hand him a bill. The sum seems right, and in the same tacit silence I open the door which protests from all of its rusted hinges and slam it shut behind me.
The great hall is deserted apart from a few stray cats, two tramps sleeping on concrete benches, a cigarette and petit colas hawker, and the teller, half-asleep behind his window like a fish in its aquarium. I am probably way too early. I couldn’t sleep anyway. I tossed and turned all night. Eventually I got up and, after a quick shower, I walked out of my house and into the night, preferring to face the jinns and the nitu guddi rather than my own demons. I take a quick look at my wrist. Damn! I forgot my watch. The large clock on the wall is useless. Its hands are stuck in dusty eternity. Time, here, has another meaning…
I approach the teller in his fish-bowl. His eyes are half-closed and there’s a bowl of café au lait and a large loaf of bread wrapped in a newspaper in front of him. I think that way before Johannesburg, Rio or Copenhagen, Africans were the first ones to get into the habit of recycling. The necessity of resourcefulness…
His eyes are half-closed but he isn’t sleeping. Perhaps he is struck, like me, by the surrounding emptiness? I throw a circular glance in the departure lounge. Nothing moves, as if I have been playing Statues. But the sun isn’t up yet and my fellow players don’t seem too enthusiastic. So I turn back to the teller, who is still motionless. I’m in his field of vision but it’s obvious he’s trying to ignore my presence.
I end up knocking on the dirty window, half covered with with flyers and outdated calendars bearing the image of religious leaders. He looks up to heaven before settling his irritated eyes on me… Or the imaginary person behind me. If it weren’t above his strength, he would have added “What?!” Yet, one can’t really say he is overworked at this hour. Not caring much about his feelings, I answer his silent question:
-At what time is the Saint Louis Express train scheduled to leave?
-Er, assalamu aleikum, I answer, slightly disconcerted.
In my hurry, I forgot the most basic of courtesies. But this little guy did deserve an exception in my education.
He heard my question but cannot resist the pleasure of making me repeat it. If that’s all it takes to make him happy, so be it. I learned long ago that you have to be overly polite, even to the point of obsequiousness, with the low-grade personnel (and here, “low-grade” is not used pejoratively in my mind). You have to salute in the right manner, put in as many ‘please’ and ‘thank you’s’ that your sentence can tolerate in order to get the smallest bit of information, information for which he was paid, badly, it is true, but paid nonetheless. The notion of “public service” is foreign to many of our fellow citizens who believe in only one thing: ‘friendly service’ or, rather, whims dictated by the mood of the day and the ability of the other to live with it. That’s very well, but I woke up in a foul mood, and even if I have been waiting for this day for years, for all my life even, I both want and don’t want to take this trip. I am frightened at the same time to find him and not find him there. And mostly, I don’t feel like being nice to a grumpy teller with a misplaced sensitivity. He probably understood this because, confronted with my silent and steady insistence, he finally gives in, between two bites and a loud sipping of his coffee:
-In two hours of time...
Any protest is futile, a fight lost in advance. Does it mean that the 7h05 train will finally leave at 9h? Sealed lips. And one doesn’t say two hours of time, the hour being itself a measure of time, as I always tell my students. Sealed lips. So I just deny him a ‘thank you’, he probably wasn’t expecting anyway, and I go and sit down on the only bench left vacant by the tramps.
 ‘I Will Go’ is the title of a nursery rhyme written by Souleymane Djigo Diop.  Cab driver who uses the cab of another driver while he or she is resting.  Nickname given to the bus station in Dakar, because it is close to the fire department (“Pompiers”)  Bus.  Ticket collectors.  A nut with stimulant qualities.  Evil spirits.  A deformation of wa aleikum salam, “hello” in Wolof (from Arabic)
It’s time at last. Well, the time announced over three-quarters of an hour ago. The once deserted platform is now teeming with a compact and colorful crowd. Laughter, insults, dust, the rustling of boubous and the creaking of sandals overfills the space. The train barely has time to stop when passengers are already doing all sorts of acrobatics in order to get the best seats and besiege the luggage-holders. Breathless runs. Headbutts, elbow ramming, beak pecking. An endless whistle-blow announces the imminent departure and its stridulating morphs into tinnitus in my ears. I wanted to avoid the stampede but it might be the last moment to get into the iron monster. I am almost the last to climb the step, practically backwards. Practically as the train moves off, practically as the heavy metal door shuts. The noise hurts my ears but I have made it on the other side. On the side of the one leaving, who is taking the trip. But something of me has stayed on the platform and is sadly watching me move away.
The convoy moves off. The time for the last passengers to settle down, to stretch, to take out the playing cards, the cassette-player or the camping stove to prepare the tea. Soon, we leave the capital. We taunt the opposite line of cars stuck fender to fender for kilometers, trapping the commuters at the gates of the city as we make for the countryside.
Very soon, the rocking of the wagons has a soothing effect on me. I feel a calm growing in me, my mind lulled by this background sound and the flat, monotonous, sun-burnt Sahel landscape where each panorama looks a little more like the next. My eyelids grow heavy, my spirit lowers its guard, and this hubbub seeps into my willing ears, into my deeper self, like an opaque and insidious smoke separating my tormented thoughts from the rest of my body. Relentless jabber. Permanent acoustic carpet. A slight headache now presses against my temples. No pocket of silence to shelter my aching head. The noise is inescapable. In the trunks that are dragged on the metal floor, in the cascading laughter bouncing off the windows, in the hysterical crying of a baby… I have never understood the need that my fellow countrymen have to fill in every single crack in space, to cover it with decibels, to push back silence into a corner in order to fill the air with useful or idle talk, with mute or blaring music, no matter, as long as there is noise. Wetaye is the worst punishment for a healthy man. Its adepts are necessarily anti-social, depressive, or the direct descendants of troglodytes…
“J’irai à Rufisque, regarder le cirque”, “I will go to Rufisque, to watch the circus…”
First stop in the outskirts of Dakar, in Rufisque, the industrious suburb and only link between the peninsula and the continent. A new batch of passengers plays elbow to find a free space in wagons that are already full. Among them are about thirty young women probably belonging to the same dahira, all dressed in white, their heads covered under the grafting, wearing the picture of their serigne as a medallion around their necks. The flashy jewelry collides and clashes with their immaculate outfits. Impervious to the local chaos, they spread out in the car like chickens in a farm and pile up as they can before their words dissolve in the surrounding hubbub.
The train now passes behind the cement factory. The high-necked chimneys spit out gray smoke that blends with the clouds and mixes with the metallic dragon’s breath. Was there ever a circus in Rafisque, as the nursery rhyme claims, or was it just for the rhyme? For the mnemonic effect it would produce inside our little fuzzy heads?
“… regarder le cirque”, “… to watch the circus” In reality, it’s my life that has become a circus. Just because I decided to untangle it from its origins. And since then its threads are getting all mixed up like a ball of wool in the claws of a kitten. I was a twenty-eight year old independent, balanced, headstrong and all in all, happy woman. Assistant professor at the university, from a middle-class family, united and loving, surrounded by friends and even suitors. And then…
We arrive at the Cité du Rail, the second stop for the Express train to saint Louis. As soon as the train enters the station it is attacked by a swarm of vendors. Stale bread, sweets, chilled bissap with too much sugar. The vendors twirl around the tracks, carelessly trampling the rails, impervious to the station master’s wrathful injunctions. The boldest climb into the train and walk the aisles, tacking between the descending passengers and their luggage. Their legs are covered with white dust to mid calf. Only the station master’s insistent whistle-blowing makes them get off again.
Again we follow the path traced by the tracks, straight ahead, deeper into the country and the continent. Inexorably, I leave my former life behind. The Express, which is only an express by name, has now attained its cruising speed, which is that of a snail. My thoughts escape and return once more to the man I am going to meet. Maybe the last piece of the puzzle. This man, who some say was handsome, enough at least to make two women’s hearts flutter. This man who is the same age as my father Tidiane. At least he is slightly younger than Badara…
The nursery rhyme trots in my head. “J’irai à Dakar…”, “I will go to Dakar…” The old tune ambles along “… prendre l’autocar”, “to take the bus”. Gallops forward “J’irai à Rufisque…”, “I will go to Rufisque…” and now rears up like a chestnut mare “… regarder le cirque”, “… to watch the circus.” Me, I’m only a spectator, and the tricks do not amuse me terribly.
Ten long minutes later Tivouane reveals its holy minarets. Tivouane, third stop. I am wondering now if I’m in an express or in a local train. At this rate I will never make it to my rendezvous. Will he come?
I must admit I am quite happy to see the members of the dahira get off the train. During this part of the trip, their conversations have left us with no mystery. They have very fast left the religious matters behind to switch to the profane, even to the very profane. After the cooking recipes came the seduction tips that were so crude I prudishly looked away.
The train is still motionless. The conversations stop little by little and some passengers stick their heads out of the windows, twisting their necks to find out what is going on. Gradually, the grapevine starts: it seems to be a mechanical failure. The duration of the stop is undetermined. That is the last straw! Only solution: to grin and bear it, as we are not mechanics. The mango vendors, probably tired from holding out their trays, sit down one by one on the platform and resume their conversations.
The train coughs, hiccups, sneezes, but starts again. Phew, we must now make up our time. We must run after the precious minutes lost, climb up the hourglass instead of turning it upside down. Oh yes, if only I could…
 Loneliness.  Religious association,  Religious guide.  Thiès’s nickname, because of the importance of the railroad in the town’s history.
“J’irai à Kébémer embrasser ma mère”, “I will go to Kébémer to kiss my mother” My mother? Which one? I haven’t told you yet, but I have two mothers and three fathers. I know, it’s a bit much for one person. In any case, this is what Pandora’s box told me when I opened it. Even if African families are large, this one is rather exceptional.
Until recently my mother had always been Yaay Khady, the one I’ve always known. The one that covered with love and kind attention the happy siblings we were, my brothers, my sister, and me. I wasn’t the oldest nor the youngest, but, paradoxically, the favorite child, the one whose whims were always tolerated.
When Yaay Khady considered me strong enough to know, she freed herself from the lie’s heavy weight and broke the silent conspiracy that everyone had respected: I was the only daughter she hadn’t given birth to. I will always remember the solemnity of that moment, that special evening under the veranda of our deserted house. She was holding my hands while she wept uncontrollably. Between two sobs, she put her veil back into place and began telling me about my life since the day I was born. Well, to be more accurate, one should say since I was discovered…
It was on Yoff beach. A group of teenagers were training their wrestling moves early one morning when one of them stumbled over a crumpled bundle half-buried in the sand. Attracted by the hoarse wails, they first thought it was a litter of kittens thrown away by an angry housewife. But as they looked closer…
Yaay Khady was frightened when the excited group of teenagers banged on her door. She ended her Fadj prayer with the traditional salute and literally flew to her door. Their words made no sense, their eyes were full of panic but they all pointed at the sea. Had Leuk Daour made a new victim? Without a question she put on her sandals, held her rosary a little tighter, and ran to the beach, following her most peculiar guides.
Yaay Khady invoked God and all his prophets when she was handed a bundle of wriggling nappies. She asked for the divine protection against the shaytané rajim when she discovered that I was still bathed in amniotic fluid. She smiled through her tears at this divine miracle which, like Moses three thousand years ago, saved this little life from the rising morning tide, from the voracious appetite of wild dogs, from hunger and from cold.
And here I am as an adult today. I deserved to know the truth, which, in any case, didn’t change her love for me in any way. Even better, in my eyes this confession was yet another proof of her love. Because neither she nor Tidiane, my father, had made any real difference between me and her real children, I felt like I was as much their daughter as the ones before and after me.
But I didn’t expect these revelations. I took it all in. Rather well at the beginning. Then, little by little, I began to feel incomplete. I decided I should know the person I couldn’t call mother: my progenitor. It was difficult for me to call her anything other than Oumou. Ironically, Oumou means mother in Arabic. To me, she will always remain a few shouts lodged in my eardrums. Those she produced when I confronted her a few months later, following up the Ariadne’s thread in my life’s labyrinth. Shouts of surprise, but also of remorse, and maybe even shame, supplications inspired by the fear of being revealed to everybody’s eyes, especially Badara’s, her husband. More than of loosing the perfect varnish of her new life that she enjoyed displaying now that she lived as a perfect Bourgeoise on top of a mountain of goods and certainties, she was afraid that her husband, who had emigrated, would learn that she had ‘strayed’, as we say around here, and that the sin of her youth was made of flesh and bones. She knew her child had survived, She could have taken its life like may desperate women had done before her, but what little maternal instinct that remained inspired her to place the bulky package on Yoff beach and take refuge behind the grove to make sure it was found safe and sound. She had then cried all the tears of her body and had gone back with an empty stomach to wait for Badara, her jekeru bataaxal, whom she had only seen as a photograph for the last three years.
Oumou introduced herself a few years later to Yaay Khady to quiet her demons and find sleep again. She had matured, regretted her action, and thanked my mother for her noble action. Yaay Khady got afraid, afraid that this happy, endearing little girl would be taken away from her. Afraid that I would hear the truth. She protected herself by dryly dismissing her. When she later understood that Oumou had no intention of taking me back, she went to see her to appease her consciousness. My mother and her generous soul.
The train’s rumbling accompanies my thoughts. Its hypnotic effect makes all heads nod. In this half-asleep wagon, my life unravels at the speed of the Express: in slow motion. I breathe in air to free my lungs, letting the oxygen unfurl in every fold in my chest. Then I exhale very, very slowly. All the air laden with anxiety, doubt and fear must be expelled to purify my body. I must become dizzy to stop thinking. The evocation of this part of my life is still painful.
We will leave Kébémer and its stables behind. These horses trotting freely while the nursery rhyme keeps galloping in my head like in a cursed carousel.
 Morning prayer.  Water spirit of Dakar.  Satan and its accomplices.  A fiancé one has only met through letters.
“J’irai à Louga saluer mon papa”, “I will go to Louga to greet my dad” Except that my dad is waiting for me in Saint Louis. The wool ball unfurled a little more when Oumou confessed that she had been seduced by a handsome student who had a great future ahead of him. Had she known she was bearing the germ of this short-lived, budding love? She couldn’t be certain. All she admitted that he was tall and beautiful, with a face exactly like mine, which made our confrontation even more painful. He left for England to finish his agricultural engineering studies and forgot this young lady who wasn’t meant for him faster than she had wished.
The train swallows kilometers of tracks. The rattler easily moves on after its stop at Louga, on rails that must be as old as Lat Dior, or almost. Louga. The journey is nearing its end. Passengers have boarded, others have left. All along I have watched with indifference the movement of the travelers. One gone, another takes their place, and the trip goes on.
A long whistle shakes me out of the paralyzing torpor in which I have been coiled up for a long while. The train slows down, hiccups, its breath shortens. A new breakdown? I lift my head in anxiety. We are in the middle of nowhere. A few stunted trees, an herbaceous carpet as far as the eye can see. Nothing else. Will we make it to the end of this trip? A few shorter whistles, the pace goes diminuendo, then the Express completely stops after a long shriek coming from the wheels. The passengers flock to the windows with eyes shaded with worry and slightly nervous movements. Nothing. A few minutes pass. It is hot. In the dampness of the car my skin sticks to my blouse as I sweat against the imitation-leather seat. Not a breath of fresh air comes in or goes out. In the car, silence finally falls after a long murmur of unanswered questions. One cow, then two, then ten, then the whole herd crosses the tracks. The last cow chews on a rebellious tuft of grass stuck right in the middle of two rails. A few more minutes. The sand of the hourglass has coagulated in the surrounding humidity. Then the train starts again, and my thoughts with it. I gradually fall back into my lethargy. I lose myself in the contemplation of the flat and monotonous terrain.
When I talked to Omar on the phone four months ago he first thought it was a practical joke. Someone was pulling his leg for STV channel’s new show, which was losing audience to France Z. In Africa, no need for imagination. Cut-and-paste works marvelously well. Why re-invent the wheel when everything has already been invented somewhere else? These are the shortcuts of underdeveloped countries.
I must admit that I would have found the joke tasteless, except that it was not a joke and he had to face it. Extremely suspicious, he then thought he was the victim of one of those unscrupulous young women who are anxious to find for a tonton, a sugar daddy as the Americans say, in order to climb up the social ladder faster. His life was stable: he forgot his youthful indiscretion and focused on his studies until he became an agricultural engineer, and has been leading a prosperous gentleman-farmer’s life with the same wife for the last twenty years.
“J’irai à Richard Toll, cultiver le sol”, “I will go to Richard Toll, till the soil”. Richard Toll. On the fertile banks of the Sénégal river. It is not on the railroad’s path. I must stop before, in Saint Louis where he has promised to come and pick me up. Tired of fighting, and undoubtedly curious too because he probably wants to meet this headstrong young woman who doesn’t leave him a choice anyway. After that, he can return to his quiet life. And me, to mine?
Gandiol, last stop, last chance to take the train which will leave in a minute on the opposite track, last chance to go back to my previous life. The reassuring one, the one I have always known. At this very moment, I wished I was in Fongolimbi, at Salemata, at Kédougou.
“J’irai à Saint Louis…”, “I will go to Saint Louis…” No, this one isn’t in the song. I can’t find a rhyme anyway.
Will I go? Will he be there? Will he not be there?
Today Omar owns acres and acres of horticultural crops, E.U. certified and, to top it off, ‘organic’ labeled. It’s the case for most of the agriculture along the Sénégal river valley, the farmers are too poor to buy chemical fertilizers and resort to compost and horse and cow manure. The Sahel’s ‘Monsieur Jourdain’ are potentially rich without knowing it now that the West is turning back to the ancestral know-how they never gave up on. Omar had had the flair, an access to bank credits, and a tad of opportunism.
The know-how of his ancestors, his mother’s blessing, and some automation enabled him to sell his organic tomatoes, ripe with sunshine, three times the price the other farmers were asking for in the valley, yet nothing compared to the European market prices where his out-of-season production sold beautifully well. Not a cloud on this idyllic picture, in his smooth and predictable life, until this famous phone call.
But we were still far away from Richard Toll. We were at Gandiol, at the gates of Saint Louis, the sleeping beauty.
Will I or won’t I go? Will I or won’t I dare?
Gandiol, last stop, last chance to take the train which will leave in a minute on the opposite track, last chance to go back to my previous life. The reassuring one, the one I have always known. At this very moment, I wished I was in Fongolimbi, at Salemata, at Kédougou.
“J’irai à Kédougou, laver mon boubou”, “I will go to Kédougo, to wash my bubu”
But I am veering away here. And not only geographically. The rhyme in mind, my thoughts embark on another route, a sidetrack, a way out. I have always found this part of the song too unrealistic. Why travel so far away to wash your bubu? This, for me today, would be a godsend. On the border between Senegal, Guinea and Mali, you could as well say on the border between the tundra and the taiga, in an infrastructural no-man’s land where the inhabitants are always suspect. Suspect of bearing cross-border names. It’s the paradox of the country of teranga: if you’re not Sérère, Lébou or Wolof, your origins are considered dubious.
 Warrior who has fought against the colonists’ railroad projects in the XIXth century.  Hospitality.
“J’irai à Kolda, écouter la Kora”, “I will go to Kora, to listen to the Kora” Even more unlikely! The Casamance region my be the country’s granary, its inhabitants are considered too rough, too strict, not crooked enough or way too below the national average. A few notes from the harp from Sahel would have eased my tensions. My back is strung like a bow. My empty stomach is tired of churning.
But I am far away from the Mandingo virtuosos. I am floating away and the train is getting closer to its destination. I have missed the last occasion to hop off. The last villages drift by. Young children are waving at us. I let my eyes linger on a donkey, a few huts, fodder piled up in a corner of a field. I hang onto these fleeting and colorful images. And what if I really had opened Pandora’s box? Weren’t all these ghosts better off locked up in the trunk of oblivion?
Fourth phone call. After a brief exchange, Omar remained silent for a long time. I wanted to meet him. I wanted to meet my progenitor. I could hear his breath, short and irregular, which betrayed the thousands of questions that he must have been asking himself. A few sighs, quickly suppressed. I understood he was giving in by his only question:
“How will you recognize me?”
I felt jubilant, but also a little stupid. If this man on whom I had focused so much of my attention in these past months ever passed me in the street, I wouldn’t even recognize him. I was running after a wild dream and he was counting on this to get rid of me. Another long silence at the end of the line, only on my side this time.
Confronted by my silence, he answered himself:
“If you are my daughter, I mean if you truly are my daughter, I will know it.”
The low shock of the engine against the bumper startles me out of my torpor. The passengers seem to be as much in a hurry to get off as they were to get on. Disheveled racing, elbow shoves, headbutts. I am the last one to get off. Slowly. Almost backwards. When the platform is already almost deserted. At least I will not have to try to recognize my features in every middle-aged man I pass. Athletic? Chubby? Graying? Pleasant? In my head, I give him all the possible attributes.
I pace up and down for a short moment, then walk up to the end of the platform where the tracks leave again in the opposite direction: Gandiol, Louga, Kébémer, Tivaoune, Thiès, Rufisque, Dakar. I cannot take my eyes off the dirty roadbed glazed with urine. I resent walking on it. It is hopeless, but I stay there, not knowing where to go. It is like standing on a cliff with a long drop under my feet. I am hungry, I am hot and I have a dry lump in my throat preventing me from swallowing. What if he doesn’t show up? “J’irai à Saint Louis…” Can’t find a rhyme for that one either. None of those variations sound right. My eyes suddenly blur. If this had been a true abyss, at this very moment I would have found it difficult to resist its call.
I suddenly feel a hand on my shoulder. A large and warm hand. I do not dare turning around yet, but I know he is here. I know he has come.
“J’irai à Saint Louis, remonter ma vie”, “I will go to Saint Louis, to put back together my life…”
*This story was originally published in ‘Nouvelles du Sénégal’ by Magellan Editors in Paris
Translated by Sébastien Doubinsky and Casey Harding.
Nafissatou Dia Diouf is a Senegalese author whose fiction, poetry, children’s literature, and philosophical essays, portray diverse topics as they relate to her country such as education, marriage, polygamy, maternity/paternity, the influence of the West, the roles of business and government, and the power of the media. Diouf provides her reader with a comprehensive yet critical view of Senegal and shows how her homeland is affected by and reacts to the changes it currently faces.
Sebastien Doubinsky is a bilingual French writer, born in Paris in 1963. An established writer in France, Sébastien Doubinsky has published a series of novels, covering different genres, from classical literature to crime fiction, as well as a few poetry collections. His novels, The Babylonian Trilogy (Goodbye Babylon in the US), The Song of Synth and Absinth have been published in the UK and the US. Three of his poetry collections, Mothballs, Spontaneous Combustions, and Zen And The Art of Poetry Maintenance have been published in the UK. He currently lives in Aarhus, Denmark, with his wife and his two children, where he teaches French literature, culture and history.
Casey Harding is a Managing Editor for The Missing Slate.