The Newcomer


photo from the web
photo from the web

We are always in pursuit of things we cannot have. The things we have we more often than not take for granted; the men in our lives, our careers, our families. I always ask myself, What if we could be content with the less ‘spectacular’ things in life. It is a struggle I go through every day, an in pursuit of happiness kind of thing.
Now let’s go to the less serious stuff.
I am at that particular age where people have started to set me up on dates. I have no idea why, though. I need to check my forehead and see if there are ink marks saying “in desperate need of companionship”. This is me saying you guys should ease off. I got this. I can have anyone I want (the lies we tell). Well, anyone except Ben of course.

I met him in class two. A tall dark and handsome guy (at least he grew up to be). He was a newcomer. I cared little about newcomers; they needed too much time to be briefed on how things worked, the prefects to befriend so that your name didn’t appear on the noise makers list all that often, which queen bee to avoid because her mother was an upper primary class teacher. A lot of things that would only make sense to people who understood the dynamics of our class. Newcomers didn’t. So he was ignored, most of the time.

This changed when the teacher in her infinite wisdom decided to change the class arrangement. If your school was anything like mine, you definitely had class formations-who seats where and why. Sometimes a teacher would wake up one day and decipher the reason behind every formation. Like the cheeky boys who sat together or the queen bees and their minions. By now you have realized I am not a fan of either.

Our class was like every other class. Three rows always facing the front. Each row with about seven pairs of desks. On this day, the teacher comes in and points at different guys and tells them to stand up. My fingers were crossed so bad they practically fused. Like a good strategist I had my own formation that I would stick to for many years. First, I am at the row on the side of the door. This was a genius place to sit because when the teacher came in her gaze always fell away from us. The first pair of desks sat the class prefect and the numero Uno of the class on his left. Remember when I said you needed to be friends with the prefect? Well, directly behind them were me and my sort of best friend. Sometimes he would irritate me while at other times he was alright. Still, he was the closest person I had in that class.

He was the first person to go. I balanced tears as I watched him pick his stuff and walk timidly to the back of the class. This was a double-edged blessing. It meant I got to maintain some sort of normalcy while on the other hand I got to sit with someone I didn’t like.
The new guy by now was standing next to my desk with a wide assed grin on his face. I am crestfallen. Do I get the new guy? I wanted to scream. Before he could sit, the teacher changes her mind and pulled the class bully from the opposite row. I tried to hide the smile on my face. We were going to have fun! Newcomer replaces the bully on the same position as me, on the opposite row.

Now to the creepy episodes. At first, I didn’t pay any mind to the newcomer. I had no interest in him. But then I started to notice it. Every time I turned my head I would meet his creepy toothy grin. At first, I thought the guy was retarded. What was the deal with him, I wondered.

Of course, he was retarded but only in that way that primary school boys are retarded. I ignored his smiles and ploy at making conversations. The last straw came when he threw a pencil at me to catch my attention. The event that follows should not convince you that I am a psycho, far from it, it should convince you though that I do things on my own terms.

So, I calmly took the pencil thrown at me. A nice Hb pencil with black and red stripes. The best a primary student could have. He was staring at me now. His toothy grin plastered on his face, followed by a wink. (The cocky kids have alway been steered towards me.)

I reached into my desk and pulled out my oxford geometric set. A hand me down from my brother who had just sat for his KCPE. From it, I pull out a sharpener and began working on the blunt pencil. There is an art to sharpening pencils, you have to do it in such a way that the point remains sharp but the pencil doesn’t break. Sharpen, check the tip, sharpen and check the tip until you are satisfied. I was the shiznit in pencil sharpening.
I looked at the little boy with his innocent doe eyes. For a minute, I felt pity for him. He was just a small boy who had made a mistake. Then he winked again and my mind was made up. I stood up and watched as his face lit up. The bully is looking at me with interest. My lips curve as I take aim and throw the pencil, tip aimed at the newcomer. Now, I know I am a terrible person. Or rather, I was a terrible person. But you have to realise that there is a certain age that girls don’t like boys. Of course, the terror in that boy’s face stayed with me for a while. You simply cannot forget using a pencil as a dart can you.
Let’s say that he never spoke to me again. In fact, I met him a couple of years ago and he still looked past me.
Lessons learnt
1. There are simple ways to tell a boy you don’t like them than trying to kill them
2. A man will hold a grudge till kingdom come
3. Sometimes you are not on the same wavelength as the person who likes you.
4. If you are not ready, you can’t force yourself
5. Sometimes outside forces will try to bring you together but the only force that can bind you is within

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