Let me digress a little. Comments are still off but hopefully not for long. I have just spent 15 agonizing, frustrating and excruciatingly slow minutes trying to open a single page with our free wireless internet to no avail. And to think today is the day we were finally being ISO certified. Fibre optics cannot get here fast enough. Back to the story..
There have been enquiries as to the marks on my face. And I have all kinds of answers for them. I fell down the stairs. I was having a nightmare and scratched my face in the dream. I got battered by my husband. They all mean, none of your business…so am not going to tell you the truth. I also say catfight, which people laugh off then ask, “really? Or it was a fire accident?” Actually, the truth is if it was a catfight, I was the mouse and she was the cat.
The story cannot be complete if I do not mention I spent the five day holiday counting down the days till back to school, wondering how long I could fool my family with the hair-in-my-face disguise. I got my dad fooled until the last day when he was handing me the school fees. My mum noticed on the very first evening and asked, what happened to you here? I told her I scratched myself. You know, like when you have a pimple and you work at it? Who could have bought that? Certainly not my mother who knows I never had spots or pimples on my lovely face (am allowed to be vain once in a while?).
This has to be the most awkward, humiliating moment in my campus life. In fact, in my life so far. The conversation with my mum was even worse…she came to where I was sleeping the following morning, pulled the hair from my face, and asked, “Who was beating you?” I cut out the bullshit, and told her truth. Well, most of the truth. Now let me narrate the whole truth.
Friday is here…the day we are done with exams. We have this end-of-the-semester bash planned. The finest of Russia is already bought and stocked. Thirteen litres of mixer (read soda), check. Wine to start with, check. Venue, check. Invitation list, check. Uninvited list, check. Music, check.(At this point, I need to come up with a name for him, he of the Maybe posts…let’s call him Maybe.) Maybe coming back later today, check. Phone on in case he calls, check. Last paper revised for, check. What could go wrong?
The toasting to the end of the semester must be at the beginning of the bash when everyone can swallow without pouring on themselves and talk without babbling. Except of course, no-one remembers we need a corkscrew. Suggestions include breaking the top of the bottle, to shaking it till the cork pops (we are to drink not to splash it on ourselves like we just won the Grand Prix), but eventually a nail did it. Anyhoo, we toasted to….three watchmen.
Am sure you wondered what the uninvited list is all about. Usually, after the toasting and the opening shots (literally…as in shots of , you know) and liberal amounts of soda for the teetotalers on the invited list, we call up the rest of anyone who adds fun to the bash. Which is basically our entire class. So we called up a few guys and suddenly, the janitor remembers his job not to let visitors in past 10 p.m. on the last day, a rule that is generally non-existent in the men’s hostels. The janitor refuses to let some of our friends in…and calls the three or is it four watchmen on us?
They are rude. They are brash. They want to show authority. They hate our guts. We hate theirs. Half the people are seeing 10 watchmen. The other half is seeing 9. They rest are controlling the playlist and refilling the plastic cups. Their first question is who is selling alcohol in the room. The answer would be the army. It’s cheaper there cause they don’t pay VAT? Or some other tax. That’s where you should source your firepower for a bash. After a not-so-reasonable argument with them, we move the venue…for the few who can walk anyway, to someone’s place outside the school compound.
Maybe did call and say he won’t make it today. See you next week. Miss you, bye. Helping to carry the drinks and anything else that needs moving to the new venue. Bidding off goodnight to those who can’t make the short walk.
Walking into the room…the music has been set up and the bash is underway. So I mingle here and there…lots of new faces. Some faces stand out more than others. That’s how I find myself talking to a 40-something-year old face. He stands out because he is well…white. She materializes in a blue dress besides him, with blond hair and a face I now can’t recall and tells me, “Oh, you want to talk to him? Go ahead.”
I take a sip from the cup am holding, look at him to make sure, then turn to whisper to her, “Isn’t he a bit too old?”
Okay, I was waaay out of line. But I was not prepared for what happened next. Suddenly am knocked down and am lying on my back, my drink splattered on me and the hellcat in blue is sitting on me. So stunned am I, I feel like am in a nightmare. She unsheathes the claws and has a go at my face. So ladies and gentlemen, that is how I got the marks on my face which, of course will heal and leave my lovely skin as unblemished as it was before.
Am sure you are wondering, how does her face look like? Wonder no more…because am not a fighter. Not my big mouth could save me. Not the little karate I know theoretically. Despite my argumentative nature, I have actually never fought with anyone. Not verbally, not physically. I don’t mean impersonal arguments about the circumference of the earth, or whether Africa will ever develop. I mean I have never ever had a personal argument with someone, that which brings out the insecurities and the skeletons in the closet of the enemy. And a physical one? My only defense is to freeze and think, “this isn’t happening! This isn’t happening!”
Seconds later, she was pulled off and with my raw face, I went into cry baby mode. Is it okay if I skip this part of the narration? Am sure you understand when I say I have out down enough detail to complete my humiliation. My biggest grouse was that I was going home and what was I going to tell my parents? That it being none of my business, she nevertheless overreacted and let out her violent nature?
Of course I was seething with anger, humiliation and thinking of a good revenge. It included scalding her face with hot water, to an actual homicide which I realized I couldn’t possibly pull off. It’s hard putting this episode off my mind. Good thing I don’t have to hide my face anymore because my parents know the truth anyway.
Let’s just say that campus drama is fun(ny) when it is not happening to you.
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