After The Event
My last day at secondary school. Any education from this point onwards is in my hands and under my control. From now on, I learn for myself and for myself only.
Exams start on the 6th of June. I'm unworried. I plan to sit them again next year, and I expect to score much higher. School has been getting in the way of my studies. A set of subjects chosen on MY terms, and the knowledge that I'm doing this for myself. Not for my parents, not for some pleasant suburban life in twenty years' time.
I haven't dared tell my parents. I have a suspicion they'd send me on a cross-country guilt trip and convince me it was for my own good. Meanwhile, I've lost all connection with what "my own good" would be. Recently it's become clear to me that if my future is regular employment and a comfortable living, something will have to change.
Everyone came to school. Shirts were signed, pockets were forcibly removed. The water guns were broken out. The seventy-seven of us were thrown out of class, the vice-principal came and told us to go back. The balance of power tipped in our favour.
Nine of us went to the beach. I held my Danish Postal shorts up with a keyring and a tie. As I was hacking the legs off with blunt scissors, Ifa walks up to myself, John and Paul, carrying a bowl of fruity snacks and wearing, for the first time in her life, a bikini.
"I've got melons!", she proudly exclaims.
As we fall about laughing, she looks blank for a moment, and then-
"Oh, for fuck's sake..." She walks away, shaking her head. We steal her melons and eat them.
There's a large, rectangular rock pool further along the beach. The water is gloriously warm. We sit there for some time, then go back to the cove where we left our bags and food for the barbecue. Burgers and sausages all round, and considerable consternation about the lack of any vegetarian food, as the meat-eaters have stolen all the fruit, due to their added aggression and protein-fuelled strength.
Half the people leave in one car. Me, John, Paul and Caen are left around the barbecue. Half-naked men, eating meat off the fire. One by one, each of us gets up to relieve ourself. Nobody mentions exactly where they went. Caen, the last to go, cries out piteously as he puts a bare foot in a wet, warm patch of grass.
Eventually, we decide it's time we got back into our civilian clothes and left. The graduation ceremony's in an hour, and we're about an hour's drive away from the school. I pick up my pants and throw them onto the rocks.
I'm looking for my underpants. I was sure they were in my pants when I put them down, but now they're nowhere to be seen. I'm going to have to wear the skanky pair in my bag. As I'm putting my pants on, though, from the left leg there issues a pair of boxer shorts. They land three feet away, perfectly folded, upon the rocks. Why? Nobody can answer this. The underpants are obviously enchanted.
I arrive at the school just in time for the ceremony, still wearing salty, crumpled casual apparel and carrying a bodyboard. The rest of the school have chosen their best clothes for the occasion. Speeches, presentations. Light refreshments afterwards. Apart from that, it's over. We say goodbye later, over exams. Few enough people in my year have given me cause to form an attachment to them, in any case.
Yes, it's late. I only found it floating around as a text file today.