She walked slowly at a snail’s pace, a catwalk to be precise. Poor little Margarete though, what had happened to her? There appeared to have been a snap, the flip of a switch. The girl who was so conservative in her dressing but almost always applied too much facial make-up had suddenly changed. From loose jeans to tight pants; long, old mother dresses to tight, thigh-revealing, goose-bump-giving miniskirts. From covering her bosom as cautiously as a man who wears polo-neck sweaters to work every day to partially exposing the sacred skin of her chest and upper inner quadrants of her breasts. It always left one wanting more. Just to say, she had fairly medium-breasts which could complement a bowl of soup and her ass was well-shaped, not too big, not too small. Margarete was a neck-length shorter than me. Her hair was tawny. She had brown eyes, just like me. Cheekbones, not so defined but still cute. The nose was round and wide and somehow resembled mine.

Margarete’s lips were fairly medium but she made up for it with her tongue. Some guys claimed she was a pretty good kisser. Once, out of spite, I spread a rumour. The rumour had it that she could touch her own Adam’s apple without a struggle. And all the ears it fell upon, just the men, had them getting eargasms. One could only imagine what they were thinking of, to give them an eargasm so instantaneously.

I had known her for two years now. We never talked much. Just glances, hellos and the like. We were polar opposites I guess. For example, she was almost always on her phone in class and I found that repulsive except there was a real reason to be on one’s phone. She wore too much make-up and I loved natural looking women more. Not that I love being critical of other people as it appears. So to make it fair let me criticize myself too. I had my own downsides. My sense of fashion was bad and I cared little about what my hair looked like. I was a strict person, straight-forward and my world view was set. The view had holes, chinks in the armour which would show in the near future but at that point, I was comfortable the way things were.

So now I was interested in talking to her as much as were polar opposites, weird right? I mean way before the change in dressing and all, I was already having plans. So I had started with occasional hies, small talk and all. It was going well now and I was well in her field of view. She knew me is what I mean and that was at least a starting point.

Back to the present… She was walking down the hallway towards us (us meaning me and my classmates). We had 10 more minutes until class started. The only free space was beside me. A throng of medical students lined the hallway on the second floor. Some were standing whilst others were sitting. Actually, I had put my bag there intentionally and as I saw her coming I removed it and pointed to the slot as she got closer. She came to sit by me. My mind said be quiet and just smile but yet I found my lips moving without me having much control over it. My hormones took over and I spurted out the words, ‘Hello Margarete.’

“Guten tag Blessing.” She had German blood pumping in her veins, and alcohol too. Even her name suggested her place of origin.

She smiled and showed her array of crooked teeth. She reminded me of J. Cole, a rapper from the States. She was just like Cole, she was from a wealthy family and still had crooked teeth. Sometimes I called her M Cole.

“You look pretty today. Are you sure they didn’t mark you absent in heaven today?”

She burst into laughter. “That is a cliché Blessing. Gosh!” She hit her forehead with her palm.

“Well, anything to get you laughing Margarete.”

“Haha. It made me laugh but it was still as bad. You should practice your jokes more.”

“You’re welcome. And I think you meant compliment and not joke. I will probably watch Trevor Noah every night just for you and get better with my compliments in quotes ‘jokes’.”

“And who is that guy Trivia Nu-something?”

“It’s pronounced Tr-eee-v-a N-o-o-wa — you dummy. Europeans, you should come to Africa and learn proper English.”

“Since when did English come from Africa? Dummy number 2.”

She shook her head, frowned and poked me in the chest with her right index finger. I touched my chest in pain, jokingly.

“It’s a guy from South Africa, famous stand-up comedian. He is now in the USA and is now the main host for the show ‘The Daily Show’, you should check him out, Margarete.”

“I will. Then I will know where your good humour comes from,’ she said sarcastically. She giggled and her cheeks flushed, then her forehead.

“Maybe we can watch one of his shows together. Me, you popcorn.” I moved closer as I said this. “Some wine too.” I smirked and used my elbow to lightly touch hers insinuating God knows what.

“You know I have a boyfriend.” She had gotten to that already. The boyfriend card always worked on me. And how she loved using it. And how I was never able to outmanoeuvre it.

“What he doesn’t know won’t kill him.”

She smiled, grinned then frowned. Then smiled again.

“Really! Charles, stop it.”

“Imagine I am your boyfriend then. Imagination always works for me and you are my queen there already. You should join me, I will be Martin Luther and you, my Coretta.”

As she was about to reply, looking disappointed, I heard a loud “Good morning студенты.”

So by now, you have probably figured out that I lied. I am not speaking from the book. I am the main character in the book. Retelling my story to those who wish to listen. So let’s continue…

The teacher looked at me intently, “Having your way, are you, Charles?” I looked down, I felt shy. My shyness and low self-esteem came out simultaneously and in front of you know who.

“If you keep to this path, you will end up like Pablo Picasso.”

He laughed mockingly. Margarete’s red cheeks and the way I looked at her intently probably gave me away.

The teacher unlocked the classroom door and the students started flocking in. I rose to my feet. She held my hand and whispered, “Don’t feel bad, he’s just kidding. Guess what, let’s go out tonight. I and my boyfriend; and I will hook you up with one of my German friends, Emilia. How does that sound?”

A smile returned to my face. “Deal,” I whispered back. “Maybe you will forget about me and see that there is more to the world that plain old Margarete.” Then she winked. I winked back. But deep inside, I felt the nociceptors on my pericardium respond. In layman’s terms, I caught myself a bowl full of heartache from her words. I walked into the classroom, looked down and saw Margarete’s behind staring back at me. I looked behind, saw no other group-mate of mine nearby then I closed the door. Bye for now, the lesson will go on without you and we will meet in Chapter 2.