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His hair was extra springy today. He must’ve taken a shower after  early morning Basketball practice.No, he had definitely taken a shower. I caught the faint scent of either Coconut or Vanilla Shampoo. He opened up his homework, it  was so well done, I could even see he finished number 7. To put it into perspective I could only get up-to number 4. That was after making an international call to my Dad and consulting Uncle Google,the two most intelligent gifts to mankind in my unbiased opinion. He never failed to impress me. He differed much from the vast majority of his counterparts who filled the corridors with irritating shrieks and forcefully played their anthems on the loudest volume their hand held speakers would allow. When they do their homework it’s a historic moment when they don’t it’s as expected. He wasn’t ostracized though nor did he isolate himself from those of whom he was clearly intellectually superior. He simply walked behind them nonchalantly, his presence alone diluting childish behaviour making it seem acceptable and at times enviable. I believed too that they were subconsciously aware of this, though their actions left no evidence of this as they treated themselves as a pack or more precisely ‘troops’. Despite their attempts at equality, he effortlessly towered over them in his signature black hoodie, only looking up to a few other basketball players and seniors. It no doubt increased his appeal as shallow girls fawned over only this aspect of him. I found it intriguing that when he sat in front of me like this his height was in a kind of incognito mode. Though much like incognito mode it wasn't completely hidden. He frequently shuffled in his seat or stretched his legs out under the desk making his discomfort evident. He actually hardly stayed still at any table despite it’s proportions. This was due to his habit of drawing on his palms. I think he was actually trying to do that now but his blue pen is acting up again. He was no Bob Ross but his animated doodles definitely brightened up my day. So far I’ve seen a monkey play basketball, a flower holding a sandwich and a self-portrait of him as a stick figure sleeping on a stack of books ( the lesson had been particularly slow moving that day). I’m sure he’s drawn more but when he crouches over his desk it hinders my angle to see what his drawing is and when I try to look again later he’s either already smudged it at basketball practice or washed his hands. Sarah tapped my desk. I handed her my homework book without making eye contact as the last time I looked at her I missed out on him smiling. An 8th grader who’d accidentally ran into our class screaming ‘Sorry I'm late. My cat broke down and the car overslept.” left  the whole class was rolling for minutes whilst the typical class clowns added complementary jokes to intensify the laughing and thus waste more time. Oblivious  Mrs Pooja had interrogated the embarrassed 8th grader. As the class laughed hysterically he had flashed a smile I’d only caught the end of before he reset his face back to the expression,“ I could care less so be appreciative of what you get.” His smile had an inexplicable effect on me. Even before he had his braces removed it pulled at my heartstrings. I felt chosen in his moment of joy leaving me in a constant state of butterflies for the following days.His smile was now rare especially around me but I didn’t blame him as we only shared STEM classes. Honestly speaking, how many times are you going to smile or laugh in your STEM classes? One smirk and a teacher is on about how ‘you don’t take your life seriously and everything is a joke to you and that’s why you get 60% where Fari get’s 90%.’ The classes where students feel obliged to pass yet destined to fail. The gloomy clouds dissipated during art and literacy lessons. If we’d share those I would have seen his smile more. If I could speak to him I’m sure I would’ve seen him smile more too. But alas all knowledge of the English language or basic human communication is erased in an instant. I’m content with the current situation so let me not unnecessarily depress myself with such thoughts.


I was right about not looking at Sarah though. I could’ve missed the moment he got his pen working again and scribbled ‘YES’ victoriously on the back of his textbook which he quickly crossed out probably remembering that it constituted as vandalism of school property and with a report from the right principal’s spy you could land yourself a seat in detention on Friday. His humor was subtle only to be picked up by the trained eye. A well timed  cough, eyebrow raise or nod often left me suppressing my laugh. He never overreacted whereas high school is basically about overreacting in every given situation which made these small expressions hilarious among the roars of riotous laughter. Alice, my  best friend leaned over from behind me and whispered “Page 40, Exercise 5 & 6, She wants to mark at least exercise 5 before we leave.” She knew I spent math as the only time I could observe him without getting judgement. If questioned I can always say, “ He sits right in front me where I am supposed to look”, a snappy response that doesn't seem premeditated at all. Alice dutifully was my eyes and ears for everyone in the classroom except him. These past 3 years I’d learnt the hard way that his presence completely mesmerized me. I’ve been embarrassed for daydreaming in every one of my classes. I’ve gotten in trouble for not finishing classwork when more than enough time had been given to complete it. And the worst when they directly involve him, pertaining to us conversing in class. Thankfully he’s a brick and often eloquently dismisses the accusation without noticing how flushed I’d become.


Mrs Pooja left the class to print exam prep papers for our homework according to Alice. Once the coast was clear, phones were instantly drawn out from their hiding places. The drug of the modern day adolescent. Queer giggles over silly memes, unusual body movements as a part of yet another Drake inspired dance trend,  vigorous head bobbing and rough mumbling upon putting on headphones and a vast array of other peculiar behaviors the 21st century had made acceptable. He was scrolling down his own Instagram page. I was surprised as it had been 4 months since he last posted anything so I’d assumed he’d deactivated the account.  His page was a collection of basketball game photos of him and his idol, some quotes said by sports stars as well as pictures with his dad on special holidays or birthdays closed off with a loving caption.  If you scrolled really, really down you’d find photos of him and his mother. A beautiful woman with tight 4C curls displayed in all  pictures of her. I’d heard she’d passed unexpectedly when he was 10 but it was before he moved here so not much of what happened exactly is known. Nevertheless he made it clear he was raised with more than enough love. I respected this side of him. He didn't victimize himself focusing on what life didn't give him or more precisely took away from him. He focused on what he had and what he could achieve in the future. I admired his strength but it also made me curious about his heart's condition. Was he really okay? He suddenly turned his back and faced me. His hazel and green eyes staring blankly at me. I held my breath. He spoke.

“Do you have a blue pen ?”.

I should’ve known then. I should’ve responded “ Why are you asking me for something I know you have?”


May 22, 2020 10:59

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4 comments

Roshna Rusiniya
19:21 Jun 02, 2020

That question was funny. It cracked me up. Good job Hope!

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Alice Becker
20:29 Jul 12, 2022

HOW TO GET YOUR EX BACK WITHOUT PANIC THANKS TO GREAT Priest Odin  FOR SOLVING MY PROBLEMS WhatsApp him: +2349022363126  How  I got  my husband back after he left me and our son for another woman. My name is Alice Becker, from the United States. My husband and I have been married for about 4 yrs now. We were happily married with a 2yrs old son. 3 months ago, I started to notice some strange behaviour from him and a few weeks later I found out that my husband is seeing someone. He started coming home late from work, he hardly cares about me ...

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23:54 May 27, 2020

witty story.

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Hope Everlasting
11:22 May 28, 2020

Thank you Lea : )

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