Loosely based on my secondary school years.
Bunmi stared at him with longing in her eyes, just then he looked her way and she turned her face quickly to avoid his gaze, embarrassed from being caught staring she fiddled with her pinafore endlessly, praying the moment would end.
His name was Tunji, to her he was the best-looking boy she had ever set her eyes on. Tall and painfully dark but that just brought out his beauty. Loveliest set of eye brows she had ever seen and that smile, oh that smile. It was heaven to her. Not only was he a thing of beauty he was brilliant too.
This was the fourth time he had caught her staring at him in class that day. For a moment she let herself believe she saw something encouraging in his eyes, something that said I’d love to talk to you, if you weren’t fat and scruffy and my friends wouldn’t laugh at me endlessly. She wished she was slim, she knew she would have been a beauty if she lost some weight but she just never got round to it. She wished he was different, he didn’t care about how she looked, she wished he would look beneath the surface and see her, see who she really was. If wishes were horses, boy would beggars have a field day riding.
She took one last glance his way, he had company now, Uju, Uju was laughing to something he said as she punched him playfully. He grabbed his sides and reached out to grab her while she retreated playfully. “Why can’t that be me” Bunmi thought.
Uju was pretty, the kind of pretty that made you think God had favourites, but you knew he didn’t. She had that fair complexion that boys drooled over, and healthy looking skin that shone even from miles away. No that wasn’t all, she was lean like a model with perky breasts and a nice pert bottom to match.
Bunmi caught her reflection in the window by her seat and stared at her ass, nothing pert about it, she shook her head hopelessly. Her eyes trailed her breasts, she had big breasts, pretty big for her age but the shimmy under her school uniform didn’t do much for them and made them look smaller and they bounced every now and then, much to her horror.
She longed for a bra like the other girls had. Her mom didn’t think them necessary, even though her breasts were calling out for support she seemed oblivious to the things I needed.
How could she not know that I needed a bra? Bunmi thought
I would ask her but asking for a bra would mean I was aware of my body. But shouldn’t I be. She would definitely read something else into it. She would think I wanted a bra because boys had started looking at me. It was just her way to misconstrue things.
She wondered if the boys knew she didn’t wear a bra, if they made fun of her whenever they bounced carelessly. She wanted a bra so bad, but telling mother was the last thing on her mind. Maybe she could get one during the holidays” she thought. She immediately wiped the thought out of her head. She was barely allowed to leave the compound at home, who would take her to the market. She had never used public transport, what would she tell her father she needed the driver for. To take her to the market to buy a bra.
Using the word bra and father in the same sentence made her cringe.
If only mother paid attention to her needs, instead of hounding her and blaming her for every single thing that went wrong. She thought of something silly and smiled a silly smile. She would go to mother’s room and jump on and down so her mother would see how out of control her breasts were. On second thoughts even if they flew out of her shirt in the process, her mother wouldn’t notice, but would tell her she was disturbing and would quickly shoo her away.
She was jostled out of her thoughts by a tap on her shoulder. She turned to see who it was. She froze momentarily, it was him, he had come to talk to her, he had seen the longing in her eyes, he had seen how much she wanted him to talk to her, how much she needed him to. How much it would mean to her if a boy at least spoke to her for once. If this boy spoke to her. Why it mattered to her so much, she didn’t know, but they spoke to other girls, joked with them, why not her. If she had some weird disease like leprosy she would have understood but the last time she checked she didn’t.
“Yes” she answered wiping the sweat trickling down her face nervously and then she wished he hadn’t seen her like that. He’ll think am some fat sweaty pig now.
“What’s the time” he asks pointing to an invisible wristwatch on his hand.
“Ti-time..Oh time! Quarter to buy your own fucking watch, he didn’t even say please.
“Quarter to two” she replied nicely
He turned back and said something to his friends and they all laughed.
He didn’t even say thank you! That’s all am good for, his own personal time keeper. Ask the quiet little fat girl for the time, she’ll be delighted you even spoke to her.
She hated him, she did deep down but something in her wanted him to like her.
She wiped more sweat off her face and put her head on her locker and cried silently. Her tear soaked pinafore clung to her knee. She hated crying, now she had a cold. She dreaded having a cold. A sore throat was always guaranteed after that.
Minutes later there was another tap on her shoulder, she lifted her head . It was him again. What did he want this time? To send her on a bloody errand? To buy some chewing gum perhaps and fetch something from his locker in the hostel while she was at it.
He took her hand, she was confused. He pulled her up from her seat. Everybody stared at him, but he didn’t care. He held her hand tightly. She thought she was dreaming.
“Lets go outside, I need to talk to you!” he said pulling her along.
She didn’t argue, she didn’t resist. Was she mad, this was what she had waited for, for as long as she could remember.
He took her downstairs, and headed for the former music room. It was the smooching room. The room were you took a girl because you wanted to touch her, it had earned that title.
She was scared.
The room was empty, save for two chairs by the window, the smooching chairs. She thought. She wondered which other twosome might have been here before. He had probably been here more times than any other person. With a different girl on the other side. Now it was her turn. She felt excited that he would even consider her smooching material.
He sat down and placed a chair right infront of him and she sat down.
“You’ve been staring at me all day, why?” he asked
Don’t flatter yourself I only stared at you twenty three times, she thought.
Four of which you caught me, and then she thought of how freaked out he’d feel if he actually knew the amount of times she had actually stared at him, and the fact that she was crazy enough to count.
She found her voice.
“I’ve not been staring at you, all day. Well maybe once or twice and the other time you asked for the time” she replied nervously.
“That’s a lie, my friends told me, you’ve been stealing glances when I wasn’t looking”
She didn’t know what to say, she had been caught in the act, she felt like a fool. They probably laughed over it. He probably knew she liked him and was taking advantage of the situation, or maybe he really liked her. She had seen something in his eyes before, maybe she was deceiving herself. Maybe she saw what she wanted to see.
She didn’t reply.
“I’ve been staring at you too” he said.
“You have!” she blurted out.
He shook his head.
“Yes I have!”
“I think I like you!” he said
She couldn’t remember water entering her ears during her morning bath, so she must have heard what she thought she heard. She wanted to be sure.
“Like you” he said and moved closer.
What if he was lying, what if he brought me here to live out the room’s reputation. what if…….
Her thoughts were cut short by a kiss he planted on her lips sloppily.
She had seen people kissing on TV before, she had never been kissed but it looked less sloppy than this and she was sure this much saliva wasn’t involved. He kissed her again, and she kissed him back so he wouldn’t think she was a slacker. She had no idea what she was doing, but she followed his lead. Sloppiness and plenty of saliva. The thought actually made her want to puke but spoil this moment. Never!
The sound of the closing bell woke Bunmi up from her sleep. She had drifted off after her silent sobs.
What! She had been dreaming! It felt so real.
She raised her head to survey the class and turned around and caught his eye again.
All his friends happened to be looking.
Someone said ewww!!! Disgusting.
She felt a wetness near her lips and tasted something salty.
She had cartaah all over her nose and above her lips.
And he had seen her like that, all his friends had seen like that. Everybody had seen her like that.
Fat sweaty mucus dripping pig.
There goes her hopes of him ever liking her.
She wiped off the cartaah, picked up her bag and walked out of the class, knees like jelly. Eyes burning into her back.
Who did she offend in her former life, maybe she was Hitler she thought. Only a re-incarnation of Hitler deserved this much torture and embarrassment.
Life fucking sucks.