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Authors: Abhilash Gaur

Tags: #valentines day, #first love

I Kissed A Girl In My Class

BOOK: I Kissed A Girl In My Class
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I Kissed A Girl
In My Class

A short story
and a novella by Abhilash Gaur
Copyright 2015 Ritika Sharma
Smashwords Edition
***

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***~~~***

In This Book

Will She Have A
Baby?

One kiss! It
felt so good when he planted it on her, but a month later, halfway
through his summer holidays, the 13-year-old is assailed by doubt
and fear that he got his girlfriend pregnant.

Going On
13

It’s the year
1989 and life at Chandigarh’s Sunrays School is very happening. The
competitions never end and smart boys like Manu Sharma—11 years old
and student of class 6-B—are always vying to win more medals than
their classmates. Manu is every teacher’s pet, monitor of his
class, a good student (although an unwilling athlete), a big
show-off and an incurable romantic. Since the time he was in class
1, he has loved Neha, the sweetest-natured girl in his class. But
he is too shy to tell her. And as the academic year comes to a
close, the odds are stacked against him. Follow Manu on a journey
from class 6 to class 8, a journey to age 13. Let him confide to
you his battle plans and successes, romances and heartbreaks. There
isn’t a dull moment in this book.

***~~~***

Will She Have A Baby?

This year we
aren’t playing cricket. The shop where we buy bats and balls is
packed with footballs. It isn’t a sports shop, that hole in the
wall, but sells odds and ends. It isn’t wide enough for two men to
stand side by side and its walls are lined with white, numbered
cardboard boxes on white-painted wooden shelves. From those boxes,
the thin, bespectacled and fast-talking salesman produces
everything from Marlboro cigarettes and Zippo lighters to shirt
buttons, ribbons and threads, handkerchiefs, vests, briefs, bras
and panties, nail polish, lipstick and costume jewellery. I marvel
at his easy salesmanship, the way he unabashedly unfolds and slaps
down half a dozen lacy things on his small, moveable
counter-on-wheels, all the while making small talk with his women
customers.

And there are
things—little boxes and bottles that I don’t know the use of—under
the glass of his counter that make me dizzy. I steal a look at them
every few moments if nobody else is around while the shopkeeper
digs through the lower shelves to produce whatever I want: tennis
ball, ping-pong ball, cork ball, leather ball, ‘crazy ball’,
shuttlecock, or football. Most of those boxes show women with
enormous breasts looking coyly out of the pictures. What are those
things? I would give a bottle of ThumsUp to find out that, and also
who buys them, because I know everybody here. But there are secrets
a boy of 13 cannot be privy to. I have my own secrets, though, that
I want to tell someone but dare not.

***

There is a
reason for the football craze. World Cup is round the corner and
most of us are rooting for Maradona and his team, Argentina. After
school closed for the summer, we made a routine of playing first
thing in the morning. Somebody from home has to tear us out of the
game for breakfast. Then we rush back and join our side until
another summons arrives to avoid the heat of the day. We are back
in the field at 5pm and play until 9pm or later unless the
streetlights around the field go out or somebody calls us away to
dinner, or the ball bursts.

The balls we buy
at that shop are cheap, and their stitching weak. When the threads
break, the bladder pushes out like a boil. And then a sharp pebble
or a thorn in the grass or a nail or a shard of glass, anything at
all, can puncture it.

All that running
about the field is good but there are new nicks and cuts every day,
and everybody’s knees and elbows are bandaged. I broke my pinkie
trying to stop a penalty hardly three weeks into the holidays, and
have been resigned to goalkeeping since running makes the finger
throb and ache. My voice is cracking anyway but all the shouting
during games has made me hoarser.

We are a strong
team and the ball rarely comes to our goal. Most of the time the
players scrimmage on the sides, near the hedge on one side or the
barbed wire fence on the other, till the ball goes past the line
and one team or the other gets a throw. I enjoy watching the others
play, of course, but it is dull standing in the goal for long
hours. But going home means doing lessons, especially maths, and
that is worse. So, I lean against a post and wisecrack or daydream,
and if the ball gets close, the others alert me with a shout.

Lately, I have
been daydreaming more than usual. It is more of worrying, really. I
have been thinking about a girl in school—not just a crush, for she
and I have been a pair, secretly, for some months. Before the
holidays started I dreamed all the time about that day I kissed
her. Honest, I did. It was the bravest thing I ever did. I just saw
my chance, leaned towards her, and before she could do anything
about it, I had kissed her cheek. I muah-ed too loudly, and that
was sort of babyish, but it was a good kiss otherwise.

Next time, I tried
to do it better and kissed her like a grown-up, but I got carried
away and held her close. I shouldn’t have pressed her to me like
that and then we would be fine. Now I am going nuts wondering
whether she’s all right, or did I get her pregnant? Damn! I don’t
even have her address or phone number, or I would have risked
finding out.

Another month of
holidays lies ahead and I am imagining bad things all the time. Her
parents at my door, and maybe the cops too. Sometimes the fear
leaves me with no appetite. My mind is full of dread. Will they
beat me? Will they throw me in jail? Maybe her dad will kill me. I
hope they only make me marry her, although even that isn’t a very
pleasant idea because I don’t love her and I don’t want her to come
live with us and make use of my room and my books and games, and
bring her friends home. I was in it just because there has to be a
first time. Maybe she loves me, she certainly says so, but I don’t
believe her. She isn’t the prettiest girl in class either. If I
could have kissed the prettiest, I wouldn’t have messed with this
one, but the prettiest isn’t available. She is seeing a boy one
year our senior.

And then there is
the question of the baby. I don’t think about it often, hoping she
will be made to abort it because that’s what happens in the movies
usually, but what if she doesn’t? I once read news about an
11-year-old girl who became a mother, and she’s 13. I just want to
meet her for a minute and ask, and then I will have nothing to do
with girls all my life, I swear.

But if the baby
arrives, what will I be expected to do? Change nappies, take care
of it? I can’t do that. I don’t like babies at all. Even if I did,
I wouldn’t change nappies. If they beat me to do it, I might run
away. But I have thought about that too and realized that the
running part is easy but after that life is going to be very
difficult. Forget the torture at home, I will be thrown out of
school. What will I tell these boys, my team-mates, that I am going
to be a father? They will envy me like hell for kissing but make me
the butt of jokes. Not for long, because none of them will be
allowed to play with me anyway. Maybe my parents will turn me out
of home, and then these same boys will find me on the pavement when
they go to school or come to play. They will deliberately make me
miserable. And while I could sleep on bald ground in summer without
worrying about snakes, what will I do in the rains, and then in
winter? Where will I wash my clothes and bathe? I could pee behind
a tree but where will I crap? If she is pregnant, something
terrible will happen soon, I know. Maybe her folks are on their way
to school right now to complain and get my address. Or maybe they
will come in a few days. Oh, the suspense is killing me.

***

Today, we all
came to the field sullen. Last night, Cameroon defeated Argentina
1-0 in the first match of the Cup. We were all firmly behind
Argentina, and it felt like a personal defeat. We didn’t play in
the morning but debated endlessly how the game might have ended
differently. I heard the if-onlies for a while and pitched in with
some arguments myself before losing interest. Nobody has come home,
neither cops nor her parents, not even a summons from school, but
with three weeks remaining for school to open, I am finding it
impossible to concentrate or get anything done. I don’t even want
to play, but like I said, the alternative is to stay at home and do
my lessons, which is worse. Also, I breathe easier out of doors,
while at home, every time the doorbell rings I jump thinking the
cops or some other tormentor has arrived.

So I sat in that
huddle with my friends but lapsed into silence. And after a few
minutes I even lost track of the discussion and became deaf to
their noise. My mind went over the same possibilities repeatedly
and the outcomes seemed only darker now than a day ago. I chewed on
a blade of grass and imagined her bulge. In the movies they say it
lasts nine months. I will be 14 before then and, imagine, she will
be there at my party round as a ball. What a mess!

I was afraid but
also very angry. It was clear that the boys weren’t going to play,
and after some time I got up and dusted the seat of my shorts,
picked off the dry grass sticking to them and started walking down
the road aimlessly. I wanted to kill time more than usually, and so
I didn’t want to be in the field when someone from home came to
call me. I went down the length of the lane till it hit the main
road, and stood undecided. It was a Saturday and there was little
traffic at that hour. Across the road, there are nice houses with
lawns front and back. Moneyed people live in them. Their lanes are
better and I have cycled in them sometimes, but never walked in
them. I could easily lose myself for an hour or two there. A car
swished by and the gust of wind in its wake sent a plastic wrapper
soaring in the air. It came down slowly, rocking from side to side,
and landed almost in the place where it lay first. I made up my
mind to go and started walking.

The girls there
are nicer and they play badminton across their hedges in the
morning. Sometimes when I go past them they whisper and giggle, and
I like that. They look really smart in their running pants and
tight T-shirts. They aren’t better players than our girls but they
tap their heels with rackets, and speak English with an American
accent, and say ‘loser’ and ‘gosh’ and ‘oh my god’ while our girls
only say ‘shit’. My girlfriend isn’t a patch on them, and seeing
and hearing them I forgot about her for a while. I felt cheerful
and walked with a light step. A shuttle fell at my feet, and
instead of throwing it at the girls to whom it belonged I picked it
up, brushed it clean with my left hand and returned it
graciously.

I had gone a
little distance up the lane when I heard a familiar voice call my
name from behind. It was a girl from my class, and not just any
girl but her best friend. For a moment all my guilt and fear rose
up. If something were wrong, she might have heard about it. I had
to swallow hard to return her greeting. And today she was looking
very pretty too in a light frock that stopped above her thick
knees. I had to make an effort to look away from her plump calves
but I also could not bring myself to look into her eyes. I wanted
to ask her straightaway about my girlfriend, but that would have
been foolish after all the care we took over the months to keep our
affair under wraps. So I came to the point in roundabout
fashion.

“How come you are
here?” I asked her, “Have your folks shifted into this house?”

“No,” she said, “I
just came to sleep over at my cousin’s. And you?”

“Oh, I live across
the main road. My friends weren’t playing this morning so I am
taking a longer-than-usual morning walk.”

She was sticking
to small talk and her face did not betray knowledge of a scandal,
so I felt safer and asked her if she had finished her holiday
homework.

“No, yaar, I
haven’t even started yet, have you?”

“Naah, not me
either. And what about the others, you in touch with anyone from
class?”

She reeled off
five or six names that I had no interest in. So I asked her about
three girls, specifically, who I knew were her close friends. The
third and last one was my girlfriend.

She hadn’t met her
for a couple of weeks and I felt certain that everything had been
all right till then, and it gave me hope that the pregnancy might
not have been discovered yet. Still, I asked, “And was she having a
good time like always or studying hard?”

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