She found the piece of paper in her Physics text book on Tuesday morning. She flushed with secret excitement as she re-read it. I love you. Just three words, nothing else. Well, there was the drawing of a heart and the arrow through it, as if to make things clearer. Who could have put it there?
She hoped it was the boy who followed her home most evenings, constantly ringing his cycle bell to get her attention. She had found him loitering near her school bag during recess. He had such a cute smile and dimples too. She blushed at the thought of him saying I love you to her. Or maybe it was the one who stayed next door and went to the same tuition class as her. He was not bad-looking either, quite the chocolate hero type. Then there was the one who threw the paper aeroplane at her in Mathew Sir’s English class, the one her classmates called ‘White Cockroach’ on account of his fair looks. Could it have been him, she wondered. But he was nothing but the class joker. She dismissed him with a shake of her pretty head. Let it not be him God, she prayed. It had to be either the Dimpled Boy or the Chocolate Hero, not the Joker.
She looked furtively at the note again, trying to decipher whose handwriting it could be, which unfortunately was the exact moment Mathew Sir chose to ask her a question. She stuttered and stammered and was ticked off properly by him for not paying attention in class. She sat down red-faced. This was a first. So far she had only been admired by him for her diligence and been pointed out to the class as the one to be emulated. She was silent and morose during lunch-break, only partially listening to her best-friend’s chatter. They shared their lunch as usual. But she did not share her secret.
She did not dare look at the note for the rest of the day. She dared not think of anything else too. Not another repeat performance of what happened in Mathew Sir’s class. Her cheeks flamed at the memory. She wondered what the Dimpled Boy and the Chocolate Hero thought of her being ticked off. Did they (who was it of the two?) think less of her? For the Joker, she did not spare a thought. She had decided that it was not him who had pushed the piece of paper in her Physics text book.
Just then she saw the class poet, the most unlikely one at that with his short cut hair and well-muscled body, glance at her surreptitiously. Now wait a minute. It wasn’t him was it? Oooooh. She almost fainted at the possibility. He was sort of Dream Boy of the class. Besides he crooned. Her heart beat faster as she saw him look her way over the heads of those who sat in between. He was tall too. She sighed. This was agony. She wished she knew whom she could start day-dreaming about; the sooner the better.
She scarce noticed her twin as he yanked a bunch of her hair and called her “Piggy-wiggy!” on account of him thinking that she was fat. She thought she was fat too, but that did not stop her from calling him some choice names in return. She hadn’t and that surprised him. He raised his eyebrows before plonking himself next to her. He was in the same school but in a different division. He looked at her thoughtfully. What was wrong with her?
That is what Mom wanted to know too when she found her standing in the middle of the room smiling to herself when she should have changed and been down to have her tea. Mom and her brother both looked at her curiously as she entered the room. She knew they’d been discussing her. She thought she heard, ‘…and smiling too!’ Gawd. She better not day-dream too much. This was becoming rather embarrassing.
She was doing her Chemistry homework when her brother barged into her room wanting to borrow her Physics text. His seemed to be missing.
No not the Physics one.
I have something to read.
But you are doing your Chemistry homework..
No, I have changed my mind. I will read Physics now and then give it to you.
She was in panic mode. She did not want him to see her precious piece of paper still nestling between the pages of her Physics text. She might have shared everything with him till now, but this was her secret. She almost smiled at the contents of the note, the heart with the arrow especially, but changed that to a grimace quickly.
This Chemistry is so boring. I will study Physics first.
She thought that should clinch it. But her brother thought it was strange. He had noticed that fleeting simpering smile that his sister had skilfully converted into a grimace about Chemistry just then. No way. There was a more interesting explanation behind this sudden decision and he was going to get to the bottom of it.
He had her bag open and the book out before she could even think, let alone say, ‘Physics’. A scuffle ensued. Thankfully their parents were out. Meanwhile, the book fell down and the note flew out of its pages. Both the faces went crimson.
This text book is mine!!
Will you stop acting like a damn parrot? A dumb one at that.
Like hell I am dumb!
Look! Here’s the other one too, yours! You had them both in your bag all this time I was searching for it!
There you go again. Limited vocabulary. Tsk tsk tsk…
Stop it now! But…
Now YOU don’t start with the ‘What’!!
She was annoyed. The heart pierced with an arrow and the magical words ‘I love you’ were in her mind. Why had the Chocolate Hero, the Dimpled Boy or The Poet, whoever it was, put the note in her brother’s text book? This was puzzling. She looked at her twin warily moving ever so slightly to position herself strategically in front of the fallen note so as to hide it from his view.
I saw something fall out of my book.
He looked around the room.
Ahh here it is.
NO! It’s mine!
It fell out of MY book.Let me see what it says.
She tried to snatch it off his hand. He was quick and had it in his by then. She saw a stupid smile spread itself on his face. Why was he smiling? And why was he looking so smug and foolish and…… what the hell was that expression on his face?
Pam loves me.
Yeah. This is from her. You know Pam, the one who plays basketball, short hair…?
Don’t call her midget! She is almost as tall as you. Good at basket-ball too, in spite of her height. Ha!
She put it in your book?
Yeah… I told her she had to tell me one way or another today. This is her way I guess, See…
He showed her the ‘pam’ written skilfully in tiny letters within the lines denoting the arrow. So much for her eye-sight. She better see the ophthalmologist like Mom suggested, she thought wryly as visions of her budding romance disintegrated and vanished into thin air. She noticed the puzzled frown on his face and flinched guessing what was coming next.
But tell me one thing…
Why did you say this was yours?
Oh nothing! I was just teasing you, Dumbo. Now get lost. I have to study.
She resolutely put away thoughts of Chocolate Hero, Dimpled Boy and The Poet romancing her and instead turned her attention to romancing Physics and Chemistry, to be followed later with Math and English.
Written for 3WW CCLXII
Prompt words: admire, follow, piece