I was excited! They announced there was going to be an over-night meeting because it was our turn to decorate the school. Seeing as I just joined a unit of the student chaplaincy, this was going to be the first time I would be decorating and my first time pulling an all-niter in order to get the student auditorium ready for the series of programs set for tomorrow, marking the founder’s day.
I was buzzed; everyone was asking why I was going. I was going, not because if I decorated tonight there would be an exception from the programs tomorrow which was compulsory for all students of the university, but because I had promised myself to try new things as soon as an opportunity presented itself and this was no exception.
The meeting was to start by 9 p.m. An hour to the time I had gone to the cafe to grab myself a pack of white rice, beans and fish, because that was all I would have access to; the cafe would be shut down by 9 and the halls of residence by 10. I had ulcer, so if I didn’t eat I would have to endure pains and that was not the way I intended to spend my all-niter.
At a quarter to nine after having my bath, I dressed up wearing a white and black striped polo shirt, a pair of black trousers and my palm slippers. My best friend commented on my look saying that I looked like someone going to see a girl, rather than someone supposed to be decorating the auditorium. I sprayed some perfume and grabbed my watch as I looked at the time. I picked a set of beaded bracelets that my sister had given me and I was off to the auditorium.
It took me about 5 minutes to walk from my hall to the university auditorium, it would have taken about 7 but I was walking fast. I was that excited. As I got to the auditorium, expecting to see a throng of people all working together to beautify the auditorium, I saw instead a few people sitting in different spots and talking. I walked down two flights of stairs and past an air-conditioning unit as I made my way to the unit office.
There were people inside piling up fabric unto different parts of the floor. The executive members of the unit were all present going over the final designs of the decorations to be displayed in the auditorium. They were all smiles as they said I should carry some fabrics and wait with everyone upstairs. As I waited, the auditorium gradually filled with the members of the unit. We were divided into different sections of the school which we were also supposed to decorate.
I was posted along with some other people to decorate the cafe. I noticed you and your friend. You were the pretty, tall chocolate-skinned girl while your friend was shorter, fatter than you. Being a new member I didn’t know too many people in the unit and the few people I knew were executive members and they were too busy to socialize. I decided to join the two of you. I was rewarded with a simple “hey,” as I said hi to you. You were also posted to cafe along with me.
We marched along with the rest of the group to cafe. When we got there we couldn’t start with our decorations right away because the materials we needed were not there. We volunteered to go back to the auditorium office and talk to the head of the unit, John – my course mate – for the materials, mostly because we were bored and you kept saying how thirsty you were.
We figured that there would probably be water in the unit office. As you kept mentioning how thirsty you were, my throat began to dry up. We walked back to the auditorium, talking about our favorite songs, joking about random things that had occurred. Your friend stayed upstairs while you and I went downstairs to the office. John told us that the women who were supposed to bring the materials we needed were not yet around and that there was no water in the office, the women were also supposed to bring water for us.
The thirst was becoming a bit unbearable. John told us to wait till the women came. When we got outside, some guys were standing there talking, right on the air-conditioning unit was a barely-drunk sachet of Hebron water. We walked past it as we climbed the first flight. I mentioned the fact that we were looking for water and someone had left a barely-drunk sachet of water to you and you smiled.
The boys took off and the thirst got unbearable, so we ran and grabbed the water while laughing about it. We sat down on the air-conditioning and shared the water looking into each other’s eyes and laughing. All of a sudden the laughing stopped and we sat there facing each other not saying a word. There was this look on your face like you wanted more and so I raised my hand to touch your face and you brought your mouth down to meet mine in a kiss.
The kiss was electrifying, like thousands of little currents flowing through my brain. Neither of us wanted to stop, deepening the kiss. Thirst couldn’t even come close to what was rushing through my veins. You tasted like I had taken a swig of strawberries. The mumbles of people’s voices were coming closer and sounding clearer. We pulled apart like there was an invisible force-field separating us; you were breathing hard, with your lips swollen from the kiss. We walked back to the auditorium in silence not mentioning what just happened.
We see every day; you wave, smile and sometimes wink. Sometimes I do the same. We talk some times, but we never mentioned what happened. Sometimes I just think about the moment we had together and smile.