We were three weeks away from End of Term. Naturally, this meant that the canteen was supposed to be sacred; reserved for the rich and the thieves. Therefore you can imagine my shock when I passed by the canteen and instead of a handful of students, I saw a mammoth crowd. The sight of this interrupted my yawn.
I asked one of the students to tell me what was going on. Were they giving handouts and nobody had bothered to tell me? No. There was new canteen attendant and he was ‘cute.’
I found the students’ behaviour quite embarrassing. Yes, we were in an all-girls boarding school in the middle of nowhere and the only boys we knew were our teachers. And the teachers were hardly boys. Rita, my classmate, once said that she firmly believe that the school administration was keen on hiring old sleeping pills for teachers. I didn’t disagree.
Still, it didn’t justify the students’ reaction towards the new canteen attendant, whatever the state of his physical appearance. Had they learnt nothing during those insistent pep talks about pride and self-esteem and never acting desperate towards a boy? I rolled my eyes and walked away.
In the evening, I went to the canteen to buy a doughnut. I was also a little curious to see the boy who had every girl on the edge of hysteria. I went prepared to frown and glare. I went prepared to dislike him. If he thought he was every girl’s muse, he was in for a surprise.
As soon as I reached the canteen window, it occurred to me that it was me who was in for a surprise. The boy wasn’t cute. He was just a boy. I cursed the students under my breath. “Of all the fat short boys...” he didn’t let me finish my thought.
“What can I get you, beautiful angel?”
“Are you talking to me?”
“Yes, I am. And I can’t believe it. I can’t even believe I get to breathe the same air with someone as gorgeous as you.”
I tried hard not to smile but my mouth betrayed me and started to tremble. I felt a chill run down my spine and through my stomach.
It’s only then that I understood it; the boy wasn’t ‘cute.’ But what he lacked in size and height, he made up for it with a good English accent and a flirtatious choice of words. He also had a deep, soothing voice-one that you played in your head for hours after an encounter with him. I did.
So I joined the mayhem. I traded my baggy jeans and over-sized t-shirts for dresses and blouses which were so tight that I had to breathe in regulation.
And I pushed, pinched, exchanged hot words and stepped on toes just for a chance to listen to his empty words and his baritone voice.
Chris (Christopher Tindyebwa) didn’t last long at the school. Or at least not long enough cause the kind of rivalry that usually ended with hair-pulling, biting, scratching, screaming, crying and expulsion.
Mr Murigita our Physics teacher caught Chris with his teenage daughter. They were in his house, both wearing Adam’s suit.
With a slasher in his right hand, Mr Murigita chased a naked screaming Chris through the school. The sight was enough to cure my infatuation.