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Main >> AR Stories >> 'A Forgetful Day'

'A Forgetful Day'
Author: skywavesage  

Chapter #: 2
Updated On: 17 February 2017 - Words Count: 899 - Number of Reads: 0
 
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Afternoon Print
The concrete ground is rough and hot against my bleached feet. I run towards the swimming pool and plunge into its aquamarine waters, glad to be free of the flaying sun.

There is a middle-aged woman in the lane beside me wearing a swim cap with raised rubber flowers. She moves at a leisurely pace and I can easily out-lap her. But she must have been warming up, for she gets faster and faster and I have trouble keeping up. I blame it on my goggles, they are leaky and the water rushes in and stings my eyes. I have to constantly stop to tighten them, and then my trunks as well. My swim gear is old and wearing out. I must remember to go to the store when there is a sale. I cannot afford to go otherwise, my teacher’s salary is too meager.

It takes me longer to complete my laps than usual, and I feel limp and depleted. At the showers, there are three other teenage boys, one with a shaved head, another thin-faced, and the third overweight and big-footed. They are talking very loudly. I feel uneasy, for while we are about the same height, there isn’t even the slightest trace of peach fuzz anywhere on my body. Self-conscious & embarrassed, I turn away to face the ceramic tiles on the wall, and suddenly they roar with laughter. I am certain they must be laughing at me, but no, they are laughing at a joke the thin-faced boy is telling in a French-flavored voice. Then they are gone, but I stay, bending & swaying under the shower head until their voices fade away.

Now I just cannot remember where I left my clothes. I think I hung them on the whitewashed wall below the side windows. But they are not there, and there isn’t even anything in the entire changing room that remotely fits. I am certain those delinquent boys must have stolen my clothes. I am desperate, I cannot walk home in my swim trunks.

I reach into my bag, and with great relief I find a spare set, neatly folded and ironed. I do not remember how they got there, I must have packed them last night. But the brash T-shirt and blue madras shorts are much too tight and just add to the awkwardness of my body. I really must remember to go to the store and buy some new clothes.

I leave the recreation club and stroll to the library, a brown concrete block with swinging doors and stone stairways. I pull a Flaubert off the shelf and head for my favorite armchair, but am distracted by the bank of computers along the west alcove. A shaggy man is playing something exciting, there are glowing polygons and mesmerizing landscapes on his screen. I stop and watch him over his shoulder with great interest. The game is familiar, and I think I can remember its name. Then the person beside him leaves, and I sit down and take her place. I want to play too.

I am just getting started when I am interrupted by a scratchy voice from behind. A matronly librarian looms, her hair in a pearl-gray bun at the nape of her neck, liver spots on her left hand. She says that I am not allowed here, and that I need to go to the computers in the east alcove by the children’s section. I protest, I point out that my library card lets me log in here, but she is stern and unflinching as a whip.

I sulk my way over to the east alcove, but I cannot find the game I want. Everything there is banal and dumb as dishwater! I pout. Oh the unfairness, the unjustness of it all! I storm out of the library under a dark cloud.

I decide to take a short cut across the sports field, and spot some of my students from a distance. They are idly kicking a ball around, but suddenly they swarm towards me. I am taken aback, usually my students do their best to avoid me, darting behind locker doors or slinking by me in the corridors. Now I find myself enveloped in the midst of their warmth and excitement. It turns out that they need one more player for a game, and I am the solution.

I take the field. I maneuver the ball like a Brazilian, for while I am smaller than they are, I have been playing for many more years. They marvel at my footwork, pointing and gaping, and I exult in the attention. Everyone wants me on their side! The ball whizzes and zig-zags, spinning thru the air like an electrified molecule, and I send it again and again thru the goal posts. I would have scored more, if only I didn’t have to keep pulling up my sagging shorts.

Now the sun is very low in the sky, and the shadows of the trees flow over the field like a dark river and lap up against the aluminum bleaches on the far end. My friends start to peel away, and I trudge home reluctantly, sticky and speckled with grass. I am weary from the long day. I wonder what Mum is making for dinner tonight?


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