Petty is seated on top of Fiona’s desk, with her hands supporting her back as she pushes her chest outward to show the figure of her now-forming breasts against her blouse. Petty has her head facing the classroom ceiling looking at the punctuations of white paper stuck on it against the blue paint.
“I want them to grow bigger.” Petty says to Fiona and Ivy. Ivy, who is seated on the desk opposite bursts. Not the kind of little laugh that would go unnoticed, but rather a raw mixture of a loud array of rhythm and fun that she recently chose to act out. Since Petty’s boobs and Ivy’s but grew bigger, she had to find a way of catching up. Her laughter not only changed her but it overtook her, taking a new form in her life. When she laughed, she did it with such conviction, with such panache and spirit that even the boys wanted to hear what gossip deserved such amusement.
“Those boobs are just fine. Careful what you wish for. You don’t want to become a spectacle.” Fiona concluded. Petty looked at her with eyes blazing. As if she had stolen something from her. Had she?
“Bitch!” Petty shouted as she grabbed Fiona’s hand and tore from it the bangle she had given her a few weeks back. She did it with such a venomous hate that her sharp manicured fingernails sank into Fiona’s skin like a sword. Fiona let loose a hell of a scream before grabbing Petty’s hair and twisting it around and around like a piece of rope until Petty cold literally feel the scalp burning with pain. Before Fiona could condemn her to baldness, she jolted back as if she was struck by lightning as a cane met her back. It was Mrs. Moraa. The little crowd of children that was innocently on looking quickly dissipated into thin air.
At the deputy head teacher’s office, Petty knelt next to Fiona as they were both struggling to keep their hands up, supposedly ‘calling the rain’ for an hour. As Mrs. Moraa stormed into the office, a shrill rushed through their veins as goose bumps covered their bodies for a minute or two before disappearing under their skins again.
“You two little troublemakers think you want to start a riot under my nose?”
They both tried to hide their giggles as hard as they could, making their faces turn into different expressions every few seconds. How had she turned a simple girl fight into a riot? They could not even want to start a riot. Besides, if they would, it would not have been picked up by such an old brain like Mrs. Moraa’s. They bared a few more wasted minutes of their lives listening to a lot of blah blah blah before receiving some strokes of supposed correction which in truth seemed like she took pleasure in making them cry.
“I think that Mrs. Moraa gets an orgasm every time she canes us.” Fiona said as they ran off from the office.
“And why is that?”
“She seems so happy just lashing our tiny little hands and backs”
Even though Fiona and Petty had rumbled, their pinky swear friendship pact between the trio of Ivy, Fiona and Petty could not be simply broken by an exchange of words or fists. It would take really something to tear them apart. Fiona and Petty rushed towards the school gate to meet Ivy who waited for them.
“Mschew! You two are so girlish.”
“Kwani you are a boy?” They all laughed themselves silly at each other, embracing each other as the day ended. Off to home they went, but not until they would pass through Jama’s home. They had so much yearned to peep through Jama’s bedroom window. Jama was the tall, muscular boy in their class who every girl noticed. Noticed that his voice, had over the past few months, turned into a deeper, much scintillating version of James Bond. Noticed that his chin held a small, growing beard that made him look like a new mystical creature in class. Noticed how his chest had puffed up a little. Notice how he became different from the other ‘toddlers’.
As they rushed past Mama Antony’s shop, they took caution to go unnoticed while they sneaked into the bush aka fence, that was between them and Jama’s supposed window. They giggled. Crouching. Opening their eyes. Through the leaves, Jama appeared in view. All manned up. He peered through the window as if to wait for the sunset. Ivy choked on laughter.
“What are you laughing about. He’ll see us!!!! Nkt@#!!” Petty mumbled.
“Jama! Oka!” They all heard Jama’s mom call for him possibly to help in doing something. Jama’s mom sent him to do the easiest of things. It was as if he had become a slave.
“Fuck!” Petty cried off, gripping her hair a bit.
“It’s probably you who tipped his mother off!” Fiona smacked ivy with the words as they bounced off. They were as close as they bounced off.
“Well. We can always ask him to show us?!”
“And you think he’ll tag along!?(:”
“He might. Boys always listen to us. Remember Jack and how we all kissed him when we all wanted to kiss for the first time in Class One!”
“Yeah! But that was when we barely had any sense of our bodies!”
“We want to see the real stuff”
Jama had watched.
He hadn’t had any desire to look at anyone until his eyes suddenly became opened. Not by his choice but he blamed God. He blamed him for letting him look. For letting him want. For letting him feel himself while he was alone in his bedroom. Jama noticed that the girls in his class were changing. But not in the usual shedding of teeth or new hair. Jama this time felt funny. He wanted to look at the girls all the time. And so, at break or lunch time, he would sit on his desk. Sometimes pretending to be reading a bit. Or he would use his newly found towering height to look over to the girls’ washroom. He wanted to listen.
He remembered how easily he would talk to girls, maybe to ask for an eraser or an extra pencil. He remembered when he would pull a girl’s hair in class one or two and all that they would do was either pinch him back or laugh. But he could not even dare to try that now. For fear of being looked at in a way that made him uncomfortable. Or for fear that the girls would run off and begin talking about him.
Jama wanted to know what the girls talked about these days. Jama wanted to know what made them speak in such shallow voices to one another’s ear, in secret, that was so much so as not to be heard. Jama wondered what were those whispers that floated in between the female conversations that he simply couldn’t catch a glimpse or whiff off. Jama even wished he was a girl so that he would know. It had become a sort of a new tribe of gossiping girls. So, he would even try to follow the girls sometimes as they headed home. To try as hard as he could.
All they do was laugh. Especially Ivy. She was the one who would drive him crazy. Her laugh had achieved an air of ecstasy and fun. A tinge of discovery of something grand and crazy. It had begun one day when the science teacher was teaching about reproduction. Ivy laughed at the science teacher who said something wrong.
“He doesn’t even know that men have their own ‘menstrual cycle’” Ivy whispered to Fiona. But Jama couldn’t hear this. He just couldn’t. It was as if they spoke in a coded language since their voices had grown softer and more lyrical. From then on, Jama heard only laughs. It was as if laughter had become their mode of expression. LOL. He heard once. Luckily that was not Chinese. He gathered that once in a note addressed to Petty. All he began to hear was LOL. It was driving him nuts.
Jama always observed how ivy, Fiona and Petty laughed together. In class. Out of class. During P.E. At lunch. And on the way home. Laughter had not only become a way of showing joy, but it had become them. Boys could not laugh the way they laughed. Boys could only watch or listen. If they got close to knowing what the girls talked about, the cards changed again.
As Jama sneaked into the girls’ toilet once, thinking that he would find out the answers behind the toilet doors; all drawn up the way boys drew in their toilets. But all he could hear were giggles. In the air; in the bushes; in the trees; in his head.
He would never know