The first thing our class teacher in form three did was to re-arrange the class. He made sure a boy wasn’t found sitting beside another boy likewise a girl sitting beside another girl. This was his little way of curbing noise making. He was a very strict man renowned to be the school disciplinary master. He walks slightly bent and the students love to imitate this. No one dared exchange seat because of the fear of his horse whip. A lash was enough to construct a map on your back.
The smile on my face disappeared the moment he told me to go and sit down beside Rachael. My friends who I had been laughing at earlier now finally had the final laugh. Their partners were far better than mine. I never imagined sitting down beside Rachael. I had been praying secretly not to be placed beside Jumoke. I’m sure Jumoke would have been praying for the opposite. She was all over me last session. I didn’t like her at all. She had big eyeballs that remain open when she is asleep. They were too big for her eyelids to cover. I would have surely preferred Jumoke to Rachael. I would even have someone who will help me copy my notes and do my assignment in Jumoke. This was every boys dream. I should not have prayed against Jumoke when I know I could be placed beside Rachael. So stupid of me.
Rachael was a no nonsense girl. She was our class captain also. She was popularly called” iron lady” because she reportedly abused a school prefect for attempting to woo her. A school prefect was actually every girls dream. Who doesn’t like to jump queue at the buttery without any objection? Not Rachael sha. Rachael always had an aura of authority which guys dislike. The only fact that can’t be disputed is that Rachael is the most beautiful girl in the school. She was fair in complexion and she had an oval face that housed blue eyes that made her look like a doll. She didn’t need lipsticks; her lips were pink already. She was of average height and had small oval breasts. Every boy in the school surely had a crush on Rachael but he better keep his feelings to himself. The prefect experience was enough lesson for everyone.
I decided to “mind my business” while sitting beside Rachael. I knew it was almost impossible to do that for a whole session. I’ll try “sha”. The more I tried to mind my business, the more Rachael was on my neck. She always ensures I write my note and did my assignment. She even prevented me from sleeping during night prep. She checked my note to ensure it was well written and the assignment were well done before she went on to submit it. I had no objection to all these so it didn’t take long before we were been addressed as school mother and son. I started developing a mutual respect for her as my school work got better.
Once I was sick, Rachael decided to help me write my notes and do my assignments during the one week period I spent in the sick bay. I kept on using my hand to caress the pages where Rachael wrote. Her tiny handwriting looked so fine, it was second to none. I realized the respect I had for Rachael was gradually developing into affection. It came as no surprise when our hands were intertwined under the desk during mathematics class the next day. The same thing happened during social studies class the next day. We even caressed each other hand whenever there was power outage during night prep. We were in love, I thought. Was it infatuation? Whatever they call it, all I know is that I love these feeling.
Everything went on well until Thursday of last week. I was still imagining kissing Rachael when next there is power outage during night prep when I noticed she was feeling uneasy. When I inquired about what was wrong, she said it was only a stomach ache. Rachael didn’t stand up from her seat for hours. It was during recess she pleaded with one of her friend to help her call the female health mistress. The female health mistress had a brief discussion with her and she instructed Rachael to stand up. As Rachael was been led out of the class, there was a red fluid on the place where she stood up from; it was blood actually. Blood also stained her light blue skirt at the back. I was perplexed. Why didn’t she tell me that a nail shook her? Why didn’t I sit on that side of the chair? I would have save Rachael of the pain. A thousand and one questions crossed my mind. I decided to remove the nail that caused Rachael pain from our wooden chair. I bent down not realizing a teacher was already in class.
“Shayo, what are you looking for under the chair?” the teacher asked.
As I tried to find my way up, I hit my head on the desk and the once silent class erupted in laughter.
“I’m trying to remove the nail that injured Rachael “I said rubbing my head.
“Ode *“a girl chirped in from the back.
“It is called menstruation” she added quickly.
The class erupted into another round of laughter.
I was confused .