There was too much pink for one place at one time. Dress, ribbons, even handkerchief– all were laden with a fluorescent shade of rose. And if you could notice close enough, it was even a shade of it for the synesthetics.
Life in here could be called as some sort of a challenge, because between here and the playground, all that mattered was lasting in here. Without being influenced. By them.
I was sitting exactly three chairs down from where she was. Mary McShane. She was playing with the tower, with what I wanted to play with. Her hair was one high ponytail, and all her friends were sitting next to her, admiring her. I winced at the thought of being close to her. I mean, not that I thought what it could be like or anything. But it’s just that she is a girl, and well, girls are… girls.
I didn’t understand how people could be close to girls and stuff. They always nagged and cried and wanted things. They cried shrilly, stomped their feet and how my father always said, “Son, never get married.” They wanted the same things, over and over again, much like my mother when described by my father. And oh my mother! What could you say about her? She was very much like a girl– dressing up and always in front of the mirror. Ugh, make-up. How women could spend literally hours putting it on, was way beyond what I could understand.
Mrs. White, our class teacher came into the class, with her really un-genuine smile and she really tried too hard on her voice.
“Good morning, kids!” She exclaimed; probably the only one cheery in the mornings. “Today we are going to draw what is on our minds, yeah?”
Everyone around me was excited on a strange level. As per my thinking, I thought of everyone in my class as unusually robot-like. They were very predictable. Even my best friend Mickey. Not the mouse, if that is what you were thinking. Mickey was usually wandering around the glue, and always had paint and stuff all over him. He is a slow learner, I guess. Mrs. White was giving out the white chart paper and paints.
Oh please, we just did this yesterday, I told myself. But what could I have done? Even at nine years old, I had to live up to expectations, you know.
Nine and three quarters, okay?
Mrs. White was handing out papers when she came to the last one. And gee whiz, it just had to be between me and Mary. I wouldn’t call it co-incidence, but an act of pure Evil.
“Oh dear! We are all out. Now, why don’t you two decide who gets this last one, okay children?” she said and went to her desk.
Mary and I were sitting face to face. I could mark out the darkness that was just waiting to burst out of that perfect little face of hers. Girls are evil, you know? That’s why my father always said that… well, he said a lot of things.
“You can take it. I’m really not that ‘into’ drawing, ya know,” said I, trying to keep my ‘cool’. I didn’t need any sort of an argument with a girl over a sheet of paper.
“Oh, you are just being sweet. Aww,” she said ‘cutely’.
I stuck my tongue out in disgust.
“I’m not being so. You can take it. Besides, you are going to cry anyway.”
Mary looked at me with her piercing eyes. “I’m not going to cry, silly.”
“I’m not going to cry, silly,” I repeated her words to annoy her.
“Stop doing that,” she cried.
“Stop doing that,” I said again.
And she started to cry.
It was almost as if suddenly I had turned into some sort of a villain. Everyone looked at me as if I had committed a crime or something.
“Doug, what have you done?” said Mrs. White to me. “Don’t cry, Mary. Don’t cry Mary. Doug, you aren’t ever like this. Why are you behaving so rudely?”
I was quickly put away into the silent corner, awaiting interrogation. I was talking to myself. I don’t need this, you know. I am smart enough. I don’t need to be in this class. I could skip one class and people won’t be able to tell. This is stupid.
“Doug,” said Mrs. White, “Why did you make Mary cry?”
“Pff,” I said and rolled my eyes, “Girls cry for anything.”
“Doug, is it because it’s Valentine’s day today? Did no one fill your box?” She asked me. I looked at the box my mother had made for me. People were supposed to put in candies and notes about today. And it was only then that I realized that I had forgotten to even ask mine to be filled.
“Mrs. White,” I said nervously, and she understood, giggling at me.
School was over and Mary was leaving.
“Mrs. White asked me to say sorry to you,” I mumbled.
Mary was pretty upset, and she really didn’t want me around, I could tell.
“Well, you can tell, if you want,” she said, trying to be as rude as me.
“I’m… uh… I’m sorry. And anyway, it wasn’t really my fault… you cried…,” my words trailed.
She took off one of her ribbons and put it in my Valentine’s box, and stared at me expectantly.
“What?” I asked her. “I’ve got nothing. You girls always expect something in return.”
She turned around, stomped her feet and left.
Mrs. White came into the room.
“Did you give it to her, Doug?” she asked me.
My face to the ground, hands in my pockets and feet shuffling in shyness, I shook my head.
For the record, I am not writing this. My mother is making me, okay?
If I haven’t already thanked you, I am thanking you now. Thank you for your candies, and your ‘tine’s notes.
My mother has left the room, so I am writing this now.
I would like to thank you and your mother for her amazing lunches that I so hungrily ate, when you weren’t looking, of course. And so that was me and Mickey didn’t have anything to do with it. I know I told you that I hated your ribbons, but I kind of really like them. They are shiny and everything, and they look good on you. You look nice pretty okay. I like your drawings and I am sorry about your colour-pencil set. Yes, it was I who lost them. I threw the red and yellow out the window, and I put the green and blue ones in Mrs. White’s handbag. I guess I’m sorry. I’ll ask Santa to give you one this year. Or why don’t you ask for one yourself? I don’t want to waste spend my wish.
I heard you liked comic books. That is quite unusual for a girl. Because girls always cry like them dolls and stuff. So, I guess you are better than the other girls? Which are the ones you like? You must tell them to me so that I can see which ones we can trade. And also, you like the fizzy orange popsickles? That is truly amazing. But I also heard that you dislike the fizzy purple pop. There was where you let me down. Every one has gotta like that one.
Are you into Hot Wheels too? Because then you and I can play toget… that’s just weird.
I like sitting next to you in class, and I like it when you get me things. Or I take them from you. You are very kind. You don’t really put up much of a fight. I remember Christmas last year when my mom called your mom to come to my house. I don’t really like your mom. She puts on too much make-up and she drinks too much. I saw your father tickling my mother, and I really cannot tell why. But I think it’s only a matter of opinon opinion. I am sorry I was very rude to you, and for spilling punch on your dress. I did it willingly, although I denied it then. It’s just that I did not know what you thought of me.
I am not as rude as people say, you know. I am a good enough boy, though I tend to be very loud at times. I like to voice my opinons opinions. You know, like He-Man. I don’t have the sword, but. Like that time when Billie was copying off your alphabet test paper. He said it was me, but no! no! it was Billie and only his fault. I was only looking off Billie’s paper, not yours. And I don’t think it was right for you to scream in class about it. But I guess you are you. Girlie.
I like it when you came home again, and you always come. It’s maybe because we are neighbours, but I don’t know. You come home too much. I like your toys; your parent’s have nice taste in toys. You have nice things.
Eh. Uh. I don’t know how to actually write any letters. I like you. Your You are nice. I like you. But I must tell you that I am a very carrer career minded man, and I would not like for this to enterfear interfere with my dream of being an astronaut. And I must make it very clear that if it came down to choosing between my friends and you, I am sorry to say but you come second. You are going to have to adjust to that. But if you can play football, then you can come join our team. You must do my help me do my math work. These additions and multiplications are yours to do. They really mess up my head. And if I bring a bag a crisps, you can have a few too. So, I guess I am also contributing. You must listen to what I tell you to do, and not question me at most times. But I can question you anytime. I probably sound very harsh, but you can’t question that.
There might be a few differences between us. Like the kind of breakfast cereal you prefer, but I think I can make a few adjustments. I like that you prefer Cadbury. Me too. One thing I will not accept is the presence of a pink coloured balloon. Oh no. No. I think it kind of embarrasses the whole identity of a balloon. But if you want, we can play with one when my friends aren’t around. I’ve got to keep up my repatation image, don’t I?
Neither of us are too experienced or anything on this. But I must tell you, I’ve had many a girl who fancies me. Your friend Justine offered me her coco chip cookie a few days ago, but I turned her down. I had my eyes on you, and I have some self-respect too, you know.
I don’t want you to make a big deal out of this. Sure, you can go and show me off in front of your friends, but not too much. I don’t like too much of publicity. It is bad for the personality. I will make appearances with you on the playground and places. But I won’t stay long, I have to keep up with my duties as the sportsman too. I wouldn’t want people to start saying stuff like, “Eesh, look at Doug! Got a girl, and became one!” No! I wouldn’t want to hear that at all. So please don’t break your heart if I choose dodgeball over you. I will cross my fingers.
You shouldn’t feel any pressure, I am very ackomodating nice. You can talk to me and stuff, but don’t make me play tea parties with you. Although occasionally I will play. To make you happy, of course.
I like you and everything about you is okay. You are quite nice. You don’t like Mario Kart, but I’ll live with that.
Happy Valentine’s Day,