Making sure I put in as much power as I could muster, I gave Phil a thunderous slap right after he kissed me. He held his palm tightly against his cheek in evidence of how much the slap stung. Phil was undoubtedly taken aback by my reaction to the kiss, but he certainly wasn’t as surprised as I was. I had just slapped Phil; I couldn’t believe it.
Almost immediately after I hit him, I panicked and felt the urge to apologize, lest he decided to get physical too. But rather than succumb to the fear, I stood my ground and barked at him to leave my room.
Phil stared at me for a while and without uttering a word, he turned and left. That was the last time I would see him for a very long time.
The next day, I went over to my Aunt’s place to spend the weekend. And while I was planning to return home on Sunday, my dad arrived with my luggage and told me that he had made arrangements for me to stay in the school hostel till after my exams. It was all sudden, but I didn’t complain since it was exactly what I wanted. My dad drove me to school that day, and I stayed there for a couple of months not just to prepare for and write my exams, but also to help me get over Phil.
Initially, it was hard for me not think about Phil, since almost everything reminded me of him. My English text reminded me of the time he helped me with my school essay; the sight of anyone with a cute smile also reminded me of how charming Phil was. At a time, I couldn’t help but compare every guy I met with Phil, and no matter how attractive they were, my mental picture of Phil always edged out. But of all the things that kept on reminding me of Phil, Princess’s presence was chief.
Despite the many efforts put in by both Sophie and Sharon, I refused to patch things up with Princess, whom I saw as a traitor. I simply ignored her whenever she greeted me, as she was indeed dead to me at the time. With the way I disregarded her, most people who didn’t know our history wouldn’t believe that we were once friends.
Princess and I used to be very close. In fact, we had the tightest bond in the group. We spent the most time together since she lived a few blocks away from my place. I was there when she had her first kiss with her cousin, Larry. Larry, who was five years older than us took keen interest in Princess during a summer holiday when we were in JSS 1. He couldn’t take his eyes off Princess since she was freakishly developed beyond her age at the time. Princess told me how Larry had been touching her intimately, and how much she enjoyed it.
On a particular day, while her parents were away, Larry asked her to come help him with something in his room, and while she was there, he kissed her. Princess told me all about it afterwards, even though back then, the thought of two people exchanging saliva felt icky to me.
A couple of months later, when she realized that her parents were on the verge of having a divorce, she came over to my place in tears, and I comforted her. She stayed with me for the entire term, after she told her parents she wouldn’t return home. It was at that period that she decided to go wild, since according to her, she no longer had parents. She experimented with cigarettes and alcohol, and even though I tried to make her quit both, I was only able to help her steer off what would potentially damage her lungs. Princess lost her virginity to one of our teachers soon afterwards, and she followed with one fling after the other.
Even though her life changed after her parents’ divorce, it could have turned out a lot worse if I wasn’t there for her. I helped her quit the bad company she was keeping and created a new group with Sharon and Sophie, who were also supportive.
Sharon also always stood up for me, even in my absence. During confrontations with other girls, she always took my place, being the craziest one of the group. I admired her daring spirit and love for adventure, but I never thought that one of her crazy adventures would ever be detrimental to our friendship.
I returned home after my exams and found out that Phil had already left. Even though I was relieved that I wouldn’t have to endure the awkwardness of seeing him again, I missed him.
The summer holiday passed quickly, and by the time I resumed as a senior student, my backside was already enormous. It was all my friends could talk about upon resumption, and I knew it was all worth the fuss. I couldn’t help but subtly check out my behind whenever I passed by any reflective frame. Of all my friends, I had the tiniest b**bs, but my backside made them all envious.
While some new students joined for the new academic session, Jane and John stood out among them. Jane and John are siblings and were both expelled from their former school for exhibiting unbefitting behaviors. While they were both exceptionally brilliant, they were absolutely mischievous and were never far from causing a stir.
On their first day in school, John corrected a teacher for a grammatical blunder in class. Apparently, Mr. Titus, the Agricultural science teacher erroneously said “two buckets of waters” while delivering a lecture, and John pointed out the error almost immediately, while going further to lecture him on the concepts of countable and uncountable nouns. It was embarrassing for the poor, timid teacher who made up an excuse to leave the class shortly afterwards.
Swayed by his audacious act, most girls in the class swarmed around John, but I had none of it. In fact, I irked his pomposity. Princess seemed indifferent. She kept to herself all through the day. Even when Sharon and Sophie attempted to talk her up, her demeanor communicated that she wasn’t interested. She was awfully reserved. Seeing her that way reminded me of how she was when her parents were getting a divorce, and it broke my heart.
During break, three students hit on me. Two of them were prefects in SS3 while the third was John. As soon as he approached me and started to talk, my indisposition towards him dramatically became reversed. I started to notice his features that I had previously overlooked, since he irritated me before. John possessed the physique of a male model, and even though he had his uniform on, I could definitely see what was underneath it through a vividly detailed mental picture.
John had the right stuff. He certainly knew how to keep a lady spellbound with words. We spoke for about 10 minutes, and even after the bell rang, I felt reluctant to leave his company. However, before we returned to the class, he asked if he could have my number and I conceded.
I kept stealing glances at John for the rest of the day, and imagined how envious the other girls would be if I became his girl. I drooled over thoughts of having a thing with John as I looked forward to talking to him after school.
After the closing bell rang, everyone scurried out of the class, that I missed John when he left the hall. Disappointed, I went to meet up with Sharon and Sophie in their class, since they were both in ‘commercial class’. As I arrived at their class, I was told that they were both making a research in the library, so I headed there.
After I checked through the reading section and couldn’t find them, I decided to look through the book section. It was quite a tense task for me, since the library was quite large, but I kept at it since I didn’t want to walk home alone. As I approached the last row at the extreme north of the library, I heard familiar voices. As I took a peek to see who it was, I was hit by a striking sense of déjà vu, as I saw John and Princess make out.