I was five… and madly in love. Just the other day I had dragged myself into a fierce engagement with some other kids. A few days later, diplomacy failed and we got into a fight. We were after the same girl - little Miss M.
One day, not long after the incident, mom drove me to school. I was reluctant to go inside, and I persistently pleaded my mother to take me back home with her. I was in no mood for school that day. Mother said “No” but I kept pushing on. Then, I saw M. on the balcony with some friends and I was seized by a sudden urge to stay back. “OK, OK! I’ll go inside the foolish class” I told her, “please don’t forget to pick me up at Eleven. Bye!” I went inside.
M. and myself were not in the same class. Her classroom was on the first floor; the last one on the right wing, looking out to the road leading to the city. Mine was on the main block, on the ground level, four rooms from the principal’s office. Many a times was I taken there for my little innocent mischiefs, which I boldly committed from time to time. Back then, I was sort of a rebel with a cause character. The teachers’ would loose control and drag me to the principal’s office for counselling. Fortunately, the Principal happened to be a very good friend of my father, and was a real gentleman. He would dismiss the teacher and then hand me a bar of Kit-Kat, some blank papers and his personal roller ball point pen (always red). I would then sit on one of the cushioned chairs in his office and draw mad drawings while he flipped through his office files and made phone calls. I missed a lot of classes in this fashion. It was glorious.
That fateful morning, after my mother dropped me off, I wanted to go say “Hi” to M., and so, slowly I started towards the stairs, ascending cautiously, one step at a time, fingers dragging along the wall. Suddenly, the morning bell went off, and I found myself facing a landslide of kindergarten children, all plump, with chubby cheeks glistening in the morning sun, mad and roaring in a hurry to get to the court to assemble for the morning announcements. It was utter chaos. Confusion everywhere. I was angry, but most of all I was heart-broken. She had disappeared with the crowd. Disappointed and defeated, I blasphemed and joined the crowd.
Back in class, Miss S., after having taken the attendance, made us sing a couple of songs (nursery rhymes actually). I hardly sang as I was not the mood. My mind was made up; I was determined to meet little Miss M. that day anyhow. I told the boy sitting next to me to move aside and let me through, which I cleverly condensed into two words: “GET OUT.” He obliged, and soon, I, after having conquered the aisle, walked over to Miss S.
“You’d have to excuse me Miss S. but I have to go meet someone upstairs. Her name is M. Its important.”
“What? You can’t go out now. You’re in class!”
“I must. I must.”
“NO,” she put it firmly at last. Plain and simple.
She was stubborn just like me, but my mind was electric that particular morning. I had to come up with some sort of a plan. "If she wins" I told myself "I’ll look like a fool in front of the whole class." Then the thought of fighting her to the death for my freedom crossed my mind a couple of times, and I looked at her once more - she was big and I was puny. But boy, I was ready to do anything that day, and so I threatened her with everything I had.
“If you don’t allow me to go, I’ll start crying!”
“NO! You can’t go out. And you can’t cry.”
It was then that I let all Hell loose. I cried…and when she said “stop” I cried louder. And as the crescendo of my own passion rose, I shuffled and banged my feet hard on the floor. This went on for a good couple of minutes, then, I don’t know exactly what happened to her; maybe she took pity on me, maybe her nerves were shot, or maybe, just maybe, she was moved. After all, this was a grand love story (mind you, the year was ’96, before TITANIC came out.)
“OK! OK! OK! I’ll take you to her myself” she submitted, finally.
Two minutes later we were ascending the stairs. Miss S. was holding my right hand; with my left I was drying my tears. “He wants to meet little Miss M.” she told the other teacher, having reached. She called out and a shy M. treaded slowly towards us. “She’s here” Miss S. stared at me. M. held out her tiny hand, and I, barely recovered from my earlier emotional breakdown, shook her hand in a very business-like manner. It was a timeless, spaceless moment. Then, my heart conspired against me. I let go off her hand, embraced her and vehemently kissed her right cheek. Everyone gasped.
“See, I’m here” I told her. She smiled.
I don’t remember much of what unfolded afterwards, but I do believe that I ended up in the principal’s office. I also believe that I became the hero of the local kindergarten love story in the school staff room.
As for me and M., it was the beginning and the end of our little love story. I have no memory, whatsoever, of any incident involving me and M. indulging in questionable activity. But I did meet her again, nine years later. I recognized her immediately; she had a rare hair color. We talked a couple of times, as strangers, and I never once reminded her of our little moment in history. Her visage visits me sometimes, and even after all these years I still smile at the memory of walking up to her, confronting obstacles in retarded ways. She doesn't know, but I’m victimized by acute heart burns... every August.