PG-rated: Not for the weak at heart.
For some reason or other, Pin De was made Assistant Monitor instead of me. It didn’t matter, anyway. I wouldn’t have settled for anything less than the top position in class, and besides, these small leadership positions won’t count for much. Conrad will see, in future, how he won the battle but lost the war to me. Afterall, he was a Chinese PRC, and will be ostracized and spat on. My mother says that Chinese PRCs are smelly and carry diseases, and should be exterminated from Singapore.
But, while Conrad was irritating, he was nowhere near the most irritating person in class. At least he didn’t drool on my shoulders.
I had no idea when Elaine started getting ideas that I liked her. The monitorial election was the first time she had tried to touch me, but it was not the last. From then on, she seemed to take liberties with me, touching and patting my hand whenever she wanted to, under the pretence of consoling me in the wake of my defeat at the hands of Conrad. I would have left it at that – I brought Kleenex to school everyday, anyway, and would immediately wipe any body part of mine she had touched – but, barely a term into the year, she started making phone calls.
“Herro, Asspipe mate,” she greeted me one evening, as I was revising for the oncoming calculus test one evening. Although initially offended, I soon deduced that she had meant to say hello to me through her boundless saliva. I repeated the greeting noncommittally, and resumed work on question 6A of my assessment book.
“What are you doing?”
“Studying for the calculus test.”
“Oh. I am not sure how to do calculus. Can you teach me?” Maybe it was the heat of my table-lamp, or maybe it was the frustration of having to catch her thickly saliva-accented words, that I lost my mind momentarily. Anything to shake her off. “Yeah okay.”
“Oh, yay, Esplanade! Thanks a lot! Tomorrow recess?”
I groaned with dramatic revelation – I had, for some reason or other, agreed to help Elaine in calculus in a one-on-one! It wasn’t as if I had much time to offer others, what with my various extra-curricular academic pursuits, I had to do it with the fat drooling girl who had a crush on me!
“Oh, thank you Essy! I will not bother your studying now. Bye!”
“Oh, Essy, Call me El,” she rejoined with what she obviously perceived as a coquettish tone, before hanging up.
I was dumbfounded. Suddenly, I could see her large, round, pinkish face in my book, eyes following my every motion. “You are mine, Essy,” she declared in a wet slurping monotone, smirking as she eyed me lecherously.
Tomorrow recess would be nothing short of disastrous. I would pack in an extra box of Kleenex, just in case.
The teacher dismissed us for recess. Conrad pompously got to his feet and ordered the class to line up. It had been a recess routine he had initiated upon becoming class monitor, probably just to spite me. We formed a line behind Conrad and marched off, going our separate ways.
“Come on, Essy!” slurped Elaine, grabbing my hand. I had a weird feeling that she was about to bring me to the most secluded area in school to ‘study’.
I was right. She halted in front of the school arcade – students were allowed to spend any amount of time in there during free time, though no one did, choosing to spend their free time in the library or classrooms. I forced a smile at her idiotic beaming face, and we went in, hand-in-unwilling-hand.
Elaine led me to a corner of the arcade, which was much darker compared to the other areas. Setting down a few worksheets and her large fluffy pencil-case, she pretended to look at a worksheet.
“Oh, Essy! I have no idea how to do the first question of this worksheet! I’m like, totally going to fail the test! Please help me, Essy!”
I simpered at her, taking the worksheet and tried to mutter a few instructions, but I was acutely aware of her round, lightless eyes were following me, instead of the worksheet. I felt the darkness of the arcade beat down me, a clammy overtone of doom. I would be immensely lucky to survive this encounter with Elaine.
“Yeah, so if you follow my instructions, you would find that x is equal to – “
“I like you!” And she pecked me on the cheek and threw her arms around me.
I don’t know what they tell you about having someone kiss you for the first time. It is doubtlessly supposed to be (as I had learnt from my forays into chick lit, an utterly tasteless genre) an infinitely blissful event which somehow ends up with two naked and attractive people in a large bed making love. This first kiss was nothing like that. Instead of feeling turned on, I felt like I was being devoured by a very ugly animal. Every ounce of my body was being torn apart – I felt deflowered, tainted at every spot Elaine had touched me. I was only ten, too young for puppy love, too inexperienced for sex – although I already knew the ins and outs of the process through a few illustrative A’ level biology textbooks I had be perusing, I hardly wanted to venture into it with anyone right now.
Pushing my overzealous suitor away with fake grit and panache, I stood up, dusting my breast pocket – I had lost my favourite pen somewhere in the dark, but a trip to Popular later on would settle that. Glaring at Elaine wordlessly, I packed up my textbook and pencil case and proceeded to leave the arcade.
Except that somebody was already there, eyes large as an overfed tarantula.
As Elaine rose from the floor, I was already thinking of a viable excuse to feed our poor, traumatized form teacher.
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