Saturday, 20 July 2013

10. BACK TO SCHOOL

The first day of school for the new term, I woke up with a burning zeal. Thrilled to meet Sophia, eager to prove my ability to adorable Rina’s subject and the overflowing desire to enter the art class again. With all the positivity, I arrived at school half an hour earlier. I never was this early. Skipping my breakfast at home, something called me to have the first meal of the day in the cafeteria of the school, for an unknown reason. Nonetheless, that was how I acted that morning. 

When I reached the school, many students were already there, hang out at the cafe while waiting to begin the session. I selected a corner to enjoy my quick breakfast, where I can see every angle clearly. Nothing really interesting besides the coffee that I sip. My sight and hearing soon disturbed by the appearance of laughter from a group of girls who came over to the adjacent table. Five of them. Pretty. Stylish. Trendy. Voguish. Modish. Whatever they name it, to me, it’s too much. Simply too much. However, there is one of them who caught my attention. The simplest among the others who threw me a friendly smile. I never saw her, or, more likely, I have never noticed since it was not my routine to hang at the café. Usually, I will buy a coffee and enjoy it with a cigarette under the tree or behind the building. Anyway, I smiled back at her. A moment later, came a butch to join the group. A new face, I'm sure, because here, in this school, people like me can be counted by the fingers. The butch kissed the cheek of every girl in the group and took place next to the girl who smiled at me just now. They looked awfully cherish talking and occasionally bursting laughter. Seemed really amused for whatever reason.

Tired of the noise, I took my backpack, headed to the back of a building. My favourite place, as defined by Rina. It is an old storeroom for sports equipment. However, even before I got there, Sophia appeared in front of me, turning off my intention.

“Good Morning Andrey.” She greeted. My face what was a grim, instantly turned into a grin when my dream girl greeted me. I held her off with a happy smile from my heart.
“Good Morning, Miss. It’s great to see you again.”
“You were earlier today if I’m not wrong?” I nodded. Her hands, both full carrying two bags and some books. Immediately, I took those books from her hands, more than happy to lend a hand.
"Thank you, Andrey. Would you please help me to get them to the lab?” She requested with a very pleasant voice I could never ignore. I have no reason to say no and beyond doubt, I am eager to do that with all my will and respect.

“Thank you again for the meal that day, Andrey. I’m very, very sorry that I had to go. It was my sister, she was actually picking me up. I promised to accompany her to a hairdresser.” She explained without being asked. A satisfactory clarification that lightens my heart and cheering my entire soul. It seemed like a stone tumbled on my chest a week ago has been removed.

“It’s OK, Miss. I am happy enough that you were there with us.” We entered the lab and I put the books on the table. Eyes to eyes, only God knows how I felt to examine her expression once again.
“Actually, I wanted to ask you out for a dinner or something… in return for your sweetness treating me lunch and introduced me to your twin brother. Too bad, I don’t have your number.” She stopped there, smiled and then rested her back on the table, holding the eye contact. She wore her glasses that day. Unlike Rina, she rarely wears glasses. Anyway, in my eyes, she always looks good in any context. I had no idea of a reply, other than to dedicate her a smile, feeling lucky, so delighted inside. I wish I could express it to her face how blissful I am to meet her, how I missed her over the school break. How I wish…

“So, here we are now Andrey. Consider a dinner with me?” 
My heart pumping and jumping at the same time. If I couldn’t control myself, I would hold and kiss her, right away, right there. I would scream to tell the world my thankfulness of her invitation, my happiness. Definitely a yes from me. That was what I expected all the while.
“Certainly, I am delighted to have dinner with you.” I played it cool.
“Great. I will let you know after I sort out a reservation. Saturday night will be perfect, I reckon.”
“I leave it to you. Anything you wish, it’s a great honoured for me to fulfil. Thank you for inviting me."
"Don't mention that."
"Hmm… I’m sorry, Miss, but I’d better be going. It’s almost eight.…” I excused myself to avoid unpunctuality attending Mr Harith’s class. As my feet stepped out of the room, she stopped me.
“Andrey… I think it is easier if you leave me your number. Just in case of anything.” Finally, she requested. That will make the whole thing easier. This affords me definitely a chance to communicate with her anytime I wish. What a strike!!!  My Lucky Monday. Now, the time has come Andrey, I said to myself. My heart sang a happy love song as I walked joyfully to my class. What a nice start.





Mr Harith, our class’ teacher came in with a new student. The face I saw with those chicks in the cafeteria this morning.
“We have a new classmate today. Jaqueline. Please introduce yourself to the class.”
“Hello everyone. I am Jaqueline Adam. People call me Jacques, so please call me Jacques. Some call me Jacqui. Either one. No one calls me Adam, even though I don’t mind to be called Adam. I came from the north, moving here with my parents. The only child. No sister, nor brother. My dad who has recently opened his own clinic in the city is actually a specialist in the Heart Institute. My mum is a lawyer. She set up her own association in this city a few months ago, that’s why I am here now. Racing cars is my hobby. My favourite subject ishmm, to be frank, I don’t have any. Maybe history… ah no… I think it’s geography. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. Anything else you wish to know, please, feel free to ask.” 

Yea, yea, yea… bla, bla, bla… I mumbled inside. Whatever… 
To me she looks vain, the way she talks and how she dresses. When Mr Harith directed her to pick up a place, she gave me a look with her eyebrows lifted. For any reason, she chose to sit at one of the empty seats, near me.
When Mr Harith class is over, the butch came closer to me and said hi.
“It was you in the cafeteria this morning if I’m not mistaken.” Said the spiky-haired butch while pulling a chair and sat down facing me.
Yea, I am sure it was you. I’m Andrey.” I introduced myself and offered her a handshake.
“This school is terrific. I bet it must be so fun to waste my time here. Tons of cutie kitties.”
“It is OK. School is school. I suppose you already won some chicks.”
Haha, yea… I met those pussies in the parking lot this morning so I called them for a coffee as a treat for a new day.”
“Charmer.” She laughed nervously.
“You have any?” I shook my head.
“Too bad… you should have one by now. Do you drive a car?” I shook again.
“I see… feel free if you need a ride. We can be friends.”
“Thank you.”

Our conversation got terminated when Rina entered the class. The distraction by that Jacqui been swept away, returning a smile in my heart when I saw her. She chose to wear a green coloured blouse for the first day of schooling, which actually my favourite colour. When her eyes caught mine, I flashed her a smile. She smiled back at me, a short little smile. Somehow, my heart fluttered to see her face and her smile that morning.

“I notice a new face here. Please introduce yourself.” 
Rina requested and proudly Jacqui stood up and again introducing herself with the same lines she used during Mr Harith’s class. Only that she added to finish her introduction with, “I am glad to know that we have a stunning economics teacher here.” 
I was like, what the hell… while turning my eyes at Rina’s expression. No smile, no chuckles. Her expression remained stern like always.
“Well, too much detail. You can sit. Welcome to my class. Remember, I don’t like to have a sleepy head in my class neither a chatterbox.” 

Those warning sent me a smile. OK, sleepyhead. That was me. You will see… 
On the other hand, I can tell from the look of her face, through her eyes when they meet mine in a glimpse of sight, there’s an affection reflected. 
As soon as she seated herself, Jacques turned to me, whispering, “she’s a lion.” I smiled at her and nodded. But then again, she said, “she’s hot as hell, though. Don’t you think?” 
Again, I didn't reply. My eyes fixed at Rina in which I saw her throwing chalk towards Jacqui.
“Ouch…” That brat yelled when the chalk settled on her cheek. The chalk that always flying to me has now a new face to hit. My Rina is evidently a sharpshooter.
“I just mentioned that I don’t like to have a chatterbox in my class. Don’t you get me? Please pay attention. You, at your previous school, what was the last syllabus?”
“Hmm… last syllabus… was… hmm… wait…” She took her bag and put it on the desk, pulling out some books.
“Hmm… I don’t bring that book. I don’t have the timetable yet, so I don’t know that we have economics today.” The class laughed at her drama. I chuckled too.
“That was not my question. I am asking you, which syllabus have you learnt before you moved your butt here. Do you have problems understanding the question?”
“Hmm... Syllabus… the last one…. Gosh... I guess it was theerrhmm... Domestically Business…”
“That’s commerce you spoilt brat.” Jacques didn’t answer. She looked at me, raising her eyebrows and murmured at me, “she’s so damn intolerant.”
“So class, today we will start a new topic, Supply and Demand. Anyone can give me a brief description?” I raised my hand, immediately.
“Yes, Andrey, please.” 
I don’t know why, but my heart that day, beating unstably when I look at her. It wasn't because of the answer I am ready to give, but for her presence. Anyhow, I raised up prepared to present the definition.

“Demand is the quantity of a good that is desired by consumers. The quantity demanded refers to the specific amount of product that consumers are willing to buy at a given price. Supply is determined as the total amount of a product or service that the marketplace can provide. The quantity supplied is the amount of a product or service that suppliers are willing to provide at a given price. The relationship between price and the amount of a good or service supplied is known as the supply relationship. To simplify the conclusion, this process will be ended with, the higher the demand, the higher the price. When the demand is low, the price decreases.”

So it was a bit more than a brief description which I presented with my eyes fixed on hers, with a trembling heart that still feels the sensation of her kiss, her penetrating words, the touch of her hand, which I tried to deliver the best answer with all my might, without reading any text. Actually, I have made some revision through my free time during the holiday. I read about economics and reviewed everything that I left behind, checking back all the red crosses she scribbled in my exercise book. I even made a correction to every single test and examination paper, and finally, I did some research for the next chapter. It is not hard to understand, in fact, I started to find that economics is not as boring as I presumed. I believe, the spunk inspired by her. Still standing, waiting for my teacher’s remark, I took a glance at the whole room, looking at my classmates who were all eyes fix on me including that Jacqui kid. Then my sight went back to Rina. Behind those glasses, I saw her eyes smiling at me which finally reflected on her lips.

“Impressive, Andrey. Good job. I don’t doubt that you have used up the school break very efficiently. Please sit. Anyone else?”
“Thank you, Miss.” 
The butch turned at me again and showing her sense of awe, you are sick, bro. You got the lion show some teeth.” I simply shrugged and give my attention back on the subject. It started to become interesting.

“What about you, new face. If you enjoy talking, please do.” 
Hesitantly, she stood up, try to answer.
“I haven’t learnt this at my former school, Miss.”
Yea, it’s clear. Even if you have learnt it... Anyway, Andrey just gave a brief description. Did you catch anything?” My heart trembled when she spoke my name while my eyes refused to stop staring at her face.
“Err… I actually get it really good, Miss. Very clear and detail explanation from my friend here. She's super cool. Errr, OK. To shorten my friend’s description is ermmmdemand and supply is like aerrmm… hot chicks. Yea, hot chicks. When the chicks are hot, the demand is high, the maintenance also high. When the chicks are cold, the demand will be lower. Maintenance also low, cos easy to get, easy to maintain…” 
The whole class drew a huge laugh. She sat down without waiting for permission. Nothing on her facial reaction, just turning at me, lifting up her shoulder and eyebrows as if it was not droll.
“Am I wrong, bro?” I laughed too. Either she is a real joker or plain silly, she is indeed entertaining.
Rina shook her head and said, “I hope that helps you with any paper. Nice try.” Anyhow, I saw my lovely Rina smiled at the definition given by my new mate, Jacques.

Recess. Jacqui kid invited me to the cafeteria. She said the chicks will join her. To be friendly, I accepted. Yea, the way she talks somewhat vain, but, she’s funny. If I said I didn’t care much about anything, she doesn’t care much more than I ever did.

“Hey, bro, I fucking love this school. Fierce teacher, hot teacher, cool. Hahahha. Are you also new?”
“No, it’s my third year.”
“Oh, so you must be very famous here, among the teachers and the chicks.”
“Famous? No, I am not. Never. Why?  ”
“You are a cool butch. Sick, you answer her without looking at any text. I can never do that, mate.” 
I laughed. She must be more impressed if she knew about the criminal I have made through the years. With time, she will learn it by and by.
“There comes my chicks… I will introduce them to you. Just pick which one you like best. They are all lesbians.”
“Hello, beautiful ladies… come join us. Introduce my classmate, Andrey.” 
The girls smiled at me and we shake hands.
“Jacqui, who doesn’t know Andrey? A famous butch in this school. A biker. A heartbreaker, a trouble maker,” said one whose lipstick even redder than her blood, as if she knew me for her entire life.
Ohh, I see, so that’s the story, morning glory? I am new here. So y'all know each other?”
“Nope.” All of them, including me, replied simultaneously. The simplest girl, the quietest among them set her eyes on my face, I notice that. She made me feel uncomfortable. She didn’t speak a line. When I looked at her, she smiles. When I smile back at her, she smiles back at me. When I look in another direction, she keeps her eyes still on me. OK, apparently she has eyes on me. Anyway, thanks to my phone. It beeps. A message.

“Well, I can see, you are surrounded by chicks. Perhaps, that’s the reason you ignore my messages. I am looking at you now, adoring you, Andrey. Still waiting to have a talk with you.” 
That message started to worry me. Someone is watching me from any angle of the school. I looked around the café, trying to find a suspect. There were groups of girls and groups of boys, groups of boys and girls… in another corner were couples. A few teachers. Rina accompanied by Sophia, Mrs Wong and Mr Rudy. I looked behind… only trees, parking lot.
“What happened to you? You saw a ghost?”
“Nothing, Jacque. Thanks for the treat. I’ll meet you in the class. Excuse me, please.” I made my way. 

That was the third message I received from the same unknown number. Who is this person actually? The riddle started to haunt me. Watching me from afar, at school. The person must be someone around here. Too bad, I don’t have many friends that I can find out whose number it is. Anyhow, I started thinking to ask a few classmates, who know they recognise the number.
“That butch is weird.” I heard one of the girls said. Which pussy, I was not sure since I already left the table and didn’t look back. Perhaps the one with bloody lips.

No other place to turn to other than my favourite place. There I sat, having a smoke. Nobody can watch me here, it is quite an abandoned place in this school. I waited if another message will get in but that was it for the day. After the smoke, I walked straight to the art room, to see Mr Fauzi and tell him about my intention to take up art again. My luck, he was there. I greeted him, he smiled and welcomed me inside. Immediately, I told him what sent me there and I explained everything necessary to be explained. He was happy for the news and cheered me, saying that is a good decision. He said that talent should be polished. I agreed with him. In some way, I like Mr Fauzi. He is an understanding teacher, made it easier for me to communicate with him compared to any other teacher.



In the meantime, I took a look around the art room, searching for my painting. When Rina told me about the painting, comes to mind to get ‘The Eagle’s Eyes’ back, for I want the right person to have it.
 “Mr Fauzi, may I ask you about my painting?”
“Which one Andrey?”
The eagle’s eyes. I suppose it is here.”
“Oh, that one… I believe you already have a fan, Andrey. It is actually taken by Miss Joseph. Catherina Joseph. If I’m not mistaken last year, in July she asked for my permission to have it. I'm sorry, I didn't inform you. Are you OK with that?”
“Sure, sure… why not… ” I had no better words to express. Rina… is this how much you adore me, love me? I think to myself. Feeling weird, touched… feeling good actually.
“She seemed very interested in that painting. As far as I remember, she said that painting has so much momentum,” said the art teacher, smiling at me.
“And more Andrey, she is an actually the vice president of our Artistic Club, do you know about that… since you have been taking yourself away for quite some time? Anyway, she just joined early this year.”
 “Ohh, I see. I have no idea at all."
"You've been missing quite a lot since you expel yourself from the club."
"Haha... true. It looks like I have been missing the best part, too. But glad to be coming back. Thank you for the information, Mr Fauzi.”
“Anytime, Andrey. Don’t let the talent wasted.” I nodded and thank him again before I made my way to the class. I realised I had separated a few cases over the indifferent attitude of mine.

“Where have you been, bro? The girls were asking for you. Thought you would come back.”
“Oh, really? But I did tell you, we'll meet here. I went to see Mr Fauzi, he’s the art teacher. I'm taking art. What about you?”
“Art? The only art I know is the women’s body. Does it count?” She made me laugh. I like this kid. She's honestly funny.
“Hey, bro, join me after school. I treat you a beer or something. My house is boring, mum is outstation. My dad usually home after ten, but I am damn sure, he will be staying at his mistress’s tonight. He always does that when his wife is not around. I invited the chicks, four of them will be there beside Caroline, but that does not matter. We still have two pussies for each of us. C’mon, let’s have fun today bro.”
“Which one is Caroline?” I asked since I reckon that must be the simple girl who likes to smile and does not speak that much.
“The one in blue, AF shirt.” So, I was right. Caroline.
“Why is she not joining?”
“I don’t know, I didn’t ask. I don’t fancy her that much. Too still, must be boring in bed. You like her?”
“Just asking. It’s nice of you, Jacqui… But thanks. I actually have something to do. Will go straight to the library for some revision.”
“Ah, c’mon, bro… Not always revision, revision. Study? That we can do that tomorrow. Those chicks are fun, you can take one, anyone you like. Oh, no… two actually. Brilliant, huh? I have no problem with that.”
“No, thanks, Jacqui.”
“C’mon… once in a while we need entertainment. Chicks stimulate the brain and make it brighter. You will strike all thirty subjects with full A’s, with all the stars, the moon and planets, the whole universe, trust me. You need a flavour.” Again the butch made me laugh.
“Maybe next time. Really, I need to finish my assignment today.” I made up an excuse. Things like that don’t come to my senses, anyway.
“Well, well, well… Here is my number if you change your mind. Anytime. I will get the hottest girl ready for you. If you wish to try Caroline, that’s a piece of cake, bro. My bungalow has many empty rooms.”

When the school is over I went straight to the parking lot to get my bike. Jacqui, like a dog, followed me. The kid seemed innocently comfortable being with me.
“Cool, you ride a superbike. I can’t ride, my legs are too short.” 
She knows how to crack a joke and she did that spontaneously.
“I can’t afford a car like you.”
“Hahahaha, are you stupid or plainly naive, brother? You think I can? If it’s not my dad, I would end up walking." A big laugh came out of her chest. Jacques seems to be a happy go lucky person, I presumed.
"Well, well… my chicks are waiting. I’m gonna take them for lunch. After that... haha, I will tell you tomorrow. Sure, you don’t wanna join us?”
“I already have a plan. Next time, pal. But Jacques… how are you sure that they are all lesbians?” 
Jaqueline Adam laughed harder at my question. She came close and punched my shoulder.
“Gosh, bro… Have you never experienced anything good in life? If you ask me, a girl is the answer. You think some straight bitches will fence me that way? Hahaha.” 
I lifted up my brows, not really clear of what she said.
“Don’t get me? OK, actually it was Amy I met in the morning, here. She said hi to me and that's an instance sign, you know… We talked and she asked me if I want to meet PLU. So… I was like… hmm, it’s just cool.”
“Chicks come to you.”
“Undoubtedly. I can be a charmer without being charming haha…”

With that answer, she went away happily to the girls who leaning on her red Z3. I lit up a smoke and sit on my bike, just watching my new classmate from afar. Somehow I can’t understand how easily she made it to get those girls and be sure that they are lesbians. For three years of schooling here, the only lesbian I met and talked with is Rina. But this kid, on her first day, got already four… five, if Caroline is included. True, she’s a charmer not like you, Andrey. You’re too quiet, how is it possible to tackle a chick? OK…  I surrender to my inner voice.

“Andrey, waiting for someone?” An unfamiliar voice shocked me. I turned around, there I saw her walking towards me with a grin.
“Oh... Caroline…”
“You know my name… I’m surprised.” Holding a file crossing her arms, she stood in front of me. 
“I've learnt it from Jacqui just now. She left with your friends. Why are you not joining them?” I asked the question that Jacqui wasn't able to answer. Caroline smiled at me and shook her head.
“I don’t feel comfortable… I mean, we just met her this morning and she already invited us for a beer or something. That was not proper. Furthermore… she talks too much.”
Yea, she’s talkative but I find her funny, though. She invited me too, but I agree with your excuse. So maybe next time.”
“Yeah, that’s right. Besides, I am not used to hanging with a butch. I think, my friends suit her more especially Rosy.”
“Let me guess, she must be the one with bloody lips…”
“Haha, right… suits the name, isn't it? Hmm… so, are you going straight home?”
Yea… I'm taking a siesta. A bit tired today.” She nodded.
“You?”
“Home… At four I play tennis. Are you joining any clubs?”
“No beside art. I am not into sports.”
“Art is not my thing but I like Van Gogh, anyway. Hmm, OK… nice to know you, Andrey. My driver must be already there. See you next time.” 
She made her move, walking out from the school gate. There was a car waiting for her. I made an assumption that Caroline is a good girl. At least she has a decent manner, unlike the other four friends of hers. From my observation, they like talking nonsense, are loud, laughing hysterically, which must be the reason why they suit Jacqui. As a plus, she is the prettiest among the clique. I smiled as I saw her waving at me from inside the car.

I lit up another cigarette. Where is she? Looking at my watch, it is already twenty-five past two. I decided to wait a few minutes more. Her car is still standing there. After the third smoke, she still didn't appear. So I pulled out a paper and a pen from my bag.
“I waited for you, but I guess, you have things to do. 
Care for a run?  Five, at the park. See you there. 
Love, AD. -1459-”

I dropped off the note between her car’s wipers and went straight home for a nice afternoon snooze.

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