Christine was…well…different. As I discovered later, she wasn’t really in what you would consider the top cream of her class – if by class you meant from an academic perspective. She derived her reputation from ‘leading men astray’ as my priest would put it. I found her particularly skinny but she spared no efforts at squeezing her body into the skimpiest of school skirts, often to the administration’s chagrin.
I briskly followed Jack who appeared to be in a peculiar hurry to get things over with. Our short trip led us to a darker section of the block corridor where Christine’s slim image was partially hidden from the teacher on duty’s roving eye. Jack made quick introductions and even before I acknowledged Christine’s presence, he was gone.
So there I stood, heart pounding, feet barely supporting my lanky frame and on the verge of a massive sweating attack. Christine, in stark contrast, seemed perfectly composed, and at ease with this whole eerie situation.
“So, you are the famous Lawrence, huh?” she asked, eying me head to toe as if evaluating a new army recruit.
“Uhm, I’m not r-r-really famous as such” I replied, still wondering why I was doing this.
“Oooh, how humble of you. That’s so sweet!” and finally she offered an inviting smile.
This awkward exchange continued for a while. Christine was no novice at all, and in no time had managed to make me feel totally at home in that dark corner.
Our little introductory meeting was not to last long though before we heard the TOD’s (Teacher on Duty) lazy footsteps approaching from the only exit out of that hideout. In a quick swift move that still baffles me to date, Christine got hold of my arm, pulled me close to her and gestured me to keep it still and quiet.
The footsteps approached, closer, and closer, slowing down with each step. Christine held me tighter, murmuring what I presumed to be ‘don’t even twitch!’. The footsteps finally came to a halt, and all was silent for what felt like an eternity. The thoughts of what my dad would do to me if I ended up suspended due to this stupidity was enough to get me really close to peeing my pants. My sweat attack finally caught up with me and if anything would have given us away, it would have been my throbbing heart beat. But something else, a deep silent voice in the deep recesses of my mind, kept reminding me that I had my body pressed really close to Christine’s. This was new. This was different from the hugs my mum gave me whenever she visited. This was close to what Jack had been trying too hard to explain to me, only really uncomfortable and increasingly painful.
“I think he is gone!” she hissed as she eased her grip on my now numb mid section.
Quick peck on my cheek, an ill-see-you-soon mumbled into my ear, and off she was gone, leaving me still trying to reconstruct the events of the past ten or so minutes. The TOD’s voice bellowing in the distance brought me back to reality and I quickly dashed back to class, just in time to avoid having to face my dad about this prohibited escapade.
“So how was it?” Jack couldn’t contain his excitement.
“Hey, let me catch up on class work first, then we can talk afterwards”.
“Come on big man! Share the juice!” One of Jack’s cronies chipped in.
“I said afterwards!!” The recently crowned big man had spoken.
They finally gave up on me. For two hours I stared at the same page on my Biology book, not really making any significant progress. With no TOD standing two meters away from me, I could finally rewind my mental clock and appreciate what it really felt like to be in Christine’s arms like that. It felt good, and I couldn’t wait to meet her again.
It took a while before Jack was able to plan logistics for another meeting, thanks to the arrival of our new omnipresent deputy head teacher. My staring got worse, this time more informed thanks to Christine. How would it feel like to be held by that one? No, the one next to her is bigger, it should be more comfortable with her. Oh, look at that other one, now that is a good one…
Months passed by, I met Christine several more times before I realized that I wasn’t getting a very fair deal. My confidence levels went up, I learnt a few tricks and soon I was able to go after my own Christines. With every new conquest, new challenges presented themselves, my standards rose and once a while even Jack would pick up a thing or two from my experiences, while proclaiming that he had taught me well.
One valuable lesson I learnt from Jack was that staring was not an end in itself but a means to an end.
The art of staring is derived from the power of observation which has been the source of all the greatest inventions of mankind and the resultant scientific and technological developments. The intrinsic elements of staring, including what to look at, how to not get caught, how to judge response when caught and how to interpret the findings from a staring activity were all imparted into me in excruciating detail by my erstwhile mentor. I still think Jack would have made a great lecturer if only he had lasted through High School.
Over the years I have learnt to put the skills I acquired to much better use. How to stare beyond a lady’s physical attributes, to include her demeanor and chivalry for instance has proven quite helpful in my recent exploits at romance. My beloved Daisy is a fruit of this age old art.
So what’s the moral of my story? Well, next time you catch a semi-skilled brother staring, please cut him some slack and try to support his efforts. He could be your next Romeo trying to get his Juliet.
PS: Staring is different from Ogling. If he is ogling, you have every right to kick him where you think it hurts most
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Lawrence is the guy next door; A young, aspirational Kenyan gentleman; But most of all, a romantic soul in search of true love.