A rusting of the brain

Once the headmistress finished her “go straight home” and “boys are the devil” speech, the school gate was opened. You, like everyone else, swarmed the exit as though you were escaping a fire or like a prisoner set free.

Once the headmistress finished her “go straight home” and “boys are the devil” speech, the school gate was opened. You, like everyone else, swarmed the exit as though you were escaping a fire or like a prisoner set free.

You untucked your shirt because even though it was criminal, you couldn’t be punished for it. Everyone was just busy trying to get home having spent three months in scholarly confinement also known as boarding school.

 

Once at home, your mother forced you to go for tutoring. She thought you failed Chemistry because it was hard for you to grasp, but really, you just had no interest in the subject. You didn’t have the courage to tell her for fear of having your face permanently maimed by her palm.

 

So you went for tutoring at first out of fear of your mother, but later because there was a boy. He was nothing like the boys the headmistress always described in her end-of-term speeches. He was sweet and kind and smart and, oh, so dreamy. You were sure it would last forever.

 

But by the time you drew all those conclusions about him, you had only known him for a week. In the second week, another girl joined the holiday class and you might as well have ceased to exist. He didn’t so much as acknowledge your presence. 

You went home that day determined not to go back for another tutorial. You didn’t even see how, in the end, the headmistress was right that boys could actually spoil your future. He was studying while you sat at home pinning over him.

Your mother thought you were unwell so she let you be. You spent the rest of the holiday watching television and immersing yourself in other unproductive ventures. All in all, the holiday was nothing but a rusting of the brain.

Then you arrived at school totally unprepared for beginning of term exams. However, it didn’t dissuade you from being confident as you entered class to do the Physics exams.

You drew confidence from the fact that everyone said they hadn’t read for the examinations. This was testament to the fact that failure, just like misery, loves company.

Twenty minutes into the exam, you were already seated idly staring into space. Meanwhile, everyone was busy writing. Everyone including that ‘fox’ Lynette who swore that she was just going to write her name and spend the rest of the time sleeping.

You watched Lynette go to the front of the class to pick an extra piece of paper. You kept looking in her direction hoping that your eyes would meet. You wanted her to feel guilty for what, in your opinion, was betrayal.

But you had no right to feel betrayed. And Lynette owed you nothing. This was third term in senior four and the national examinations were close by. If you thought that everyone was still interested in self-destructing solidarity, then the rusting of your brain was bigger than you thought it was.

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