Stirred memory

Monday, October 24, 2011

We can do without an awkward start to this. About how one can never forget their first crush or how hormones rage that they cause a crater on some part of your brain that it never goes away, etcetera.

However, she would never want to begin with such clichés.

"Kangaroo" evoked a lot of memories in her. It was the first time, someone had gifted her a stuff toy. Someone who wasn't family. Someone who was a guy. Someone who was her first crush. The person who made her cheeks turn red with embarrassment (for no reason, whatsoever)

It goes back to a long time ago, fall of 2000 something, when she had just turned a teenager. Some leadership programme, something was happening. She doesn't remember. She doesn't want to remember. In an air-conditioned room on a chilly November evening, Stephanie dressed rather inappropriately in a chic cotton top paired with a denim skirt and red belt. She was freezing to death in that room, filled with 25 like-minded young adults like her. They were looking for a moderator to begin the discussion, most of them were new to each other as they had worked individually on their own, managing area wise chapter for the organisation. Since he was the eldest, he had to moderate the discussion.

She looked at him, disproportionate body, skinny on top sporting a goatee, he smiled at his brother. They could look like Siamese twins, with younger one being cuter than him but she decided otherwise in her head.

One by one, they introduced themselves. When it came to her, she couldn't go beyond her name and age, unlike some few who went on telling their life's ambitions to shoe size. She regretted this much later for she had nothing to talk about to him or to anyone else.

The discussion went on for some time. He caught her staring at him and she couldn't take the embarrassment. If this wasn't all, for some reason, the discussion digressed and he went on telling about his "sweetheart" and how her dad found out that he had sneaked in to her house to meet her. This was the last nail in the coffin. She decided to go and not work further on this whole leadership shit. It was the beginning and end of one-sided love in a 13 year old's head.

After the discussion ended, all of them were given a stuffed kangaroo with joey stuffed in the pouch. It was highly sentimental for her. Don't raise your eyebrow. A 13 year old's idea of utopia includes sappy movies, stuffed toys and a freckle boy to make love to.

As soon as she returned to reception area, she saw her 6-year-old sibling, who at the spur grabbed the kangaroo off and decided to raise it as his "mama".

"Now, Steffy, it's okay. Your sister is a kid. Learn to share, besides you're too old to play with this, remember you told me last week?", her mother reacted to her protests and cries when she snatched it from her. Her mother suggested her to ask the receptionist for another one.

Bashfully, she walked to the round table where the receptionist was shamelessly flirting with the same guy. He had this aura about himself that made him so charming and effortlessly sexy, she thought to herself.

"Excuse me, do you have another stuff toy that you can spare? My sister has snatched the one you handed us all."

Being a bitch is a prerequisite if you plan to apply for the post of a receptionist and this one was no less. She laughed it off and said the same "you're grown up Stephanie" line that her mother used.

This was a nasty end to one of highly unproductive days, she thought to herself. First, the guy has girlfriend, second, she couldn't bring herself to talk to him and third her stuff toy was forcefully taken away.

She was walking down the stairs, cold and still embarrassed about something she didn't know till she heard a voice.

"Stef, hi!"

She looked back and it was him. The same guy she fussed about in her head for two whole hours.
"Hey, I have an extra Kangaroo, take mine?"

She extended her hand, without any other reaction, took the toy and thanked him. No other word. No other expression. With this, she quickly ran into the car, where her mother and sibling were waiting.

"Steffy, I told you, see you got another one.", her mum added.

She kept quiet.

That kangaroo hung in her room on glass shelf for four long years until it was given away to her cousin who couldn't keep her teeth off it. Joey still remained in her room though.

Many years and a string of boyfriends later, she had changed. No longer did she wear skirts, stayed with her parents or worked with leadership programmes. She was smoking her last Dunhill while surfing the net until she saw a status update from him,

"Bob Graham is now a proud father. Welcome 2 family Anna Gabrielle Graham!!!!!!!!!"

She felt uncomfortable. Not 'cause her first crush had just been blessed with baby daughter and the life fatherhood but because of his use of multiple exclamations and abbreviated spellings.

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