This is something I just started at my summer job a couple days ago. I’ve always wanted to write my memoir, explaining what shaped me into the woman I am today. Some names are changed, for privacy reasons, while other names are strictly initialized (subject to change, if I get consent to use their real names), but for now, the initials shall do. Also, I wrote this piece in a slight rush, so it is very possible that I will add more to it later on, especially once my memoir progresses. So, for now, just read what I’ve written thus far, and enjoy! Oh, and don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the comments box below. Thanks and happy reading!
For as long as I can remember, I was always a rebel. I did not like rules. And I rarely followed them. Especially at school. And because I grew up with three brothers, I was a tomboy up until I turned fifteen. I was often loud, obnoxious and extremely talkative. The odd thing is that as I grew older, I became less and less talkative, and more quiet and reserved. Baba often teased me and told me that the reason I talk less and listen more now is because I talked so much when I was younger that I have nothing left to say anymore.
He was probably right.
However, that wasn’t always the case, especially during my childhood. And because of my constant rambling, I had the tendency to get into trouble a lot, especially at school; and usually on more than one occasion. When I was in the third grade, one of my teachers, Mrs. Agha, would always scold me and tell me to stop my “jabbering.”
“This is all you do in class! Jabba, jabba, jabba!” She’d exclaim angrily, whenever she would catch me either whispering loudly or passing notes. And the whole time she’d be scolding me, I’d try really hard to stifle my laughter. She’d of course meant “jabber,” but because she had a slight British accent, the jabber sounded like jabba. From what I can remember, Mrs. Agha was a very dark and petite woman. She also looked old — perhaps in her 50s — but I used to think she was close to a hundred. She wore spectacles that were a little too big for her triangular-shaped face. She also had very short wavy black hair, peppered with grey, and deep wrinkles at the corner of her eyes. She looked rather stern, but for some reason, I never used to take her seriously, despite her constant yelling and scolding.
Mrs. Agha wasn’t the only teacher who had to put up with my utterly roguish behaviour, for there were several others who, too, had fallen prey to my mischievous whims. And it was always the same complaints.
“S., stop talking!”
“S., pay attention and stop distracting the class!”
“S., please quit talking and do your class work!”
And no matter how much they told me to stop, there was no stopping me. I almost felt invincible. However, I wasn’t always alone whenever I got into or caused trouble. Alongside me was my best friend, at the time, who not only became my ally but also my partner-in-crime. We met in the fall of 1987, shortly after my 4th birthday. When I first saw her, I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. She was a rather tall and pretty chubby girl with round pink cheeks, thick and straight silky onyx hair tied in ponytails on either side of her head, and she carried a pink lunchbox with Barbie painted on it. I was sitting in class, staring at her, as she stood close to her delicately pretty mother. I watched as her mother leaned in to whisper something into the teacher’s ear, while M just stood there with her arms folded over her chest. It was obvious that it was M’s first day at school, but she didn’t seem the least scared. I remember how scared and nervous I was on my first day of school, but M appeared like she was more annoyed than scared. After talking to our teacher, M’s mother turned to M, kissed her goodbye, and left. I was waiting to see whether M would cry as soon as her mother left, but instead she seemed quite relaxed. I watched as she slowly turned around to face the classroom, her large brown eyes started to scan each and every one of us, as if trying to decide beforehand whom she was going to befriend and whom she wasn’t. I was really praying she would notice me, for I sat in the very first row.
“Go on M. , Go and take a seat over there,” Our teacher coaxed, pointing to a seat behind me. It was then when M’s eyes finally settled on me. As she started to walk towards me, I smiled at her, hoping she would smile back; but instead she gave me a dirty look and stuck out her tongue. I immediately felt hurt and rejected. But I chose to ignore the feeling. After all, we were only four years old, what the heck did I know about friendship? For weeks, M. pretended I did not exist. She became popular rather quickly, because she always had the prettiest dolls. I didn’t understand at the time why she didn’t like me. Was I too scrawny? Or too short? Or perhaps even too mousy?
We did become friends, eventually. And our friendship started in the most unexpected way possible. I am sure neither of us had it coming. We were in P.E. class, when for some reason a couple of the boys started to make fun of me, for no apparent reason. Kindergarten was co-ed, and at times, I’d get into fights with the other little boys on the playground. Anyway, this time I did not bother to put up a fight and just stood there, as the boys kept pointing and laughing at me.
“Stop bothering her! She’s my friend, okay?!” I heard M. yell beside me. Her kindness took me by so much surprise that I almost couldn’t speak. It was then onwards that we became totally and completely inseparable. We did almost everything together. We were like the Siamese twins, totally joined at the hip. And she was the only one who could tolerate my rambling, for I talked for hours, while she just sat there and listened.
We were both trouble-makers. For whenever I got into trouble, she, too, would get into trouble with me. The only time when M got into trouble alone was when I’d ratted her out for stealing the two rabbits from our school playground. I’d convinced M to steal — yes steal — those beautiful albino rabbits after school, telling her that we won’t get caught. She always carried a huge backpack, so I’d told her that she could simply just put the bunnies inside it and take them home, and no one would ever suspect a thing.
“Are you sure this is a good idea, S?” M asked. We were both in the second grade by now, and it seemed like our waywardness was starting to get out of hand. (And as my story progresses, the reader will soon realize that this isn’t the first of our “stealing” attempts on school grounds.)
“Yes! Of course it is a good idea! Just take them, okay?!” I insisted, getting annoyed. I admit I was selfish for wanting M to steal the bunnies for she lived in a beautiful big house, with a huge backyard and patio, and I knew she owned cats and birds, so bringing those rabbits home would not be a problem at all. I obviously could not take them, for my house was much smaller and I knew my parents would literally have a cow. And since M.’s home had pretty much become like my second home, for I was allowed to visit her as often as I liked, I was hoping that once she took the rabbits home I could get a chance to play with them whenever I wanted.
“Okay fine, just make sure no one is watching us, okay?” M said, as she slowly eased the cage door open and started to make her way inside. For some reason, I was too scared to go near the rabbits, but M. was braver and with much ease, she quickly started to place the two rabbits into her backpack. The weight of what we were doing didn’t hit me until we left the playground and made our way towards the gates that led outside of the school. Just as we turned a corner, we suddenly bumped into one of our teachers.
“What are you girls doing here?!” She exclaimed, shocked to see us. It was well past 3 pm and the school grounds were completely deserted. I suddenly saw a slight movement in M’s backpack and my heart started to pound, in fear of getting caught. I really wanted M to take those rabbits home. Really, I did.
“My dad is waiting for us outside” I said breathlessly, “We are going now; else he will get tired of waiting and leave us.” And with that, I hurriedly dug my nails into M’s soft arm and led her away, praying that our teacher did not notice the obvious movement in M’s backpack.
However, it did not take too long for the school care-takers to notice that the two albino rabbits were missing. It was also around the time that M and I had gotten into one of our silly fights. I must say I was a rather vindictive little child. Even though I was the one who’d convinced M to steal those rabbits, I also ended up being the one to rat her out. Both M and I were called to the principal’s office and the little brat that I was back then, I quickly blurted that M stole the rabbits and that I had absolutely nothing to do with it. I looked at M, seated on the chair beside me, from the corner of my eyes, expecting her to jump to her defense, but she just sat there, her head lowered. I knew she would be getting into a lot of shit for stealing, but because I was so mad at her, I was happy to see her so dejected. I also expected that she would never speak to me again, but once she returned the rabbits and all was forgiven, we were back to joined at the hip again – two rebels, who didn’t care what adversaries came our way. Our friendship was like clay, no matter how many times we crushed it we managed to mold it back together, making it look as brand new as ever.
Anyway, other than my rather exceptional friendship with M, the other thing that often confounded me was my disinterest in school which I realize now, may have been the reason for my constant talking during class time. I never felt challenged and studying in general used to bore me. I also hated memorizing things verbatim, because I hated repetition. I often wished that school was some sort of a playground where I would go and play with M, or my dolls, or on the swings, and then come home to start it all over again the next day. In a way, it had already become a playground for me, for I never took anything seriously. I was told to memorize things I couldn’t understand and I often rebelled against it, even though I knew how much it upset my teachers. I also knew that morr janay’s dream of my becoming a medical doctor would never see fruition, for it was a chore just to get me to study, much less to pay attention in school.
Yes, I was shamelessly rebellious, talkative, wayward and out-spoken; and I was also academically unsound. And this is my story…
© SesapZai June 2012