At the school gates, two girls were trying to sneak past the on-duty teacher. Zarmeene slowly sipped on her bottle of lukewarm water while observing their efforts come to fruition. A group of boys successfully distracted the teacher, sauntering past her with a hi-fi deck – resting on one boy’s shoulder- blasting obscene rap songs. Zarmeene wondered how much damage his poor eardrums were suffering, or was he just too thick to even feel the soundwaves?
She wondered what kind of cunning it took to embark on such missions: skiving lessons, bringing in electronics, squaring up to the teachers. After all, she trembled at the mere thought of asking for permission to use the restroom. She always believed teachers would catch her out as if she wasn’t genuinely in need.
She didn’t hate school; she just…couldn’t get along with the people within it. It was no fault of her own, mind you. The people around her seemed to her to be from a different era. She shared nothing but a classroom with them. They’d repeatedly tease her while she secretly wished she could be like them – just because it would make her life so much easier. But it seemed as though God had created her with the spirit of an old-fashioned, eighy-year-old grandma. Lately, Zarmeene always thought about forgoing her usual braid for something more dangerous, a bit more glamorous. She wondered what’d happen if she got into detention just once. Would they accept her then?
The smell of the library first thing in the morning and walking through the colourful mosaic walls of the art corridor was something she always looked forward to. It made her feel at home.
Zarmeene perched on the chair in her usual spot, having taken a book she’d read countless times before from the recently returned shelf. She opened it and out fell a note in exquisite gold ink and impeccable handwriting: Don’t let anyone quench your thirst for knowledge even if you have to dig from here to China, roll your sleeves up and dig that tunnel.
Zarmeene thought back to the girls at the gate, the boys with the music, and smiled to herself.