Remember I told you that when I first arrived in Morland, the three of us were crying with laughter remembering old times, all the funny stuff back during our time together in Nkana/Kitwe, the people? Well, I wasn’t remembering the names so well. Some of them, sure, like the guys I’d had a crush on, that barrel-shaped Sister at St. John’s Convent School who terrified me, the girl who ran like a duck trying to take flight down the basketball court, the girl whose lips looked like a pig’s butt when she sang “Cherry Ripe,” the girl who told me I was uninvited to her party (I can’t remember why), the girl who became Miss Northern Rhodesia. And the town’s “loose” girl in whose back lane I had my first brush with sex. (That’s me below around the time in our back yard at 24 Kantanta Street, wearing a pointy bra along with a dress hot off my mother’s Singer sewing machine.)
I’d tagged along to this girl’s house on Fourteenth Street with a clump of boys I knew from my first year in high school, one of which was someone who’d shown interest in me; he wasn’t bad looking; he had potential. It was early evening and her parents were gone, a party out at Mindola dam; they’d be away for hours. So there I stood in the back lane with Potential, his ducktail and that little squiff on top gleaming with Brylcreem in the light from the naked bulb over the girl’s back door, watching while the others decided who’d be first to knock on her bedroom window. This took place with interludes of jabs about this or that defect in each other’s personalities, bodies, intelligence, rugby playing skills, along with jokey shoving and scuffling, and knuckle punches on the arm.
Finally, one of the boys, propelled forward with a mighty shove meandered, hands in pockets, toward the side of the house with much over the shoulder grinning. My heart pounded with the thrill of it all. Until the boys turned to look at me. I blushed, feeling exposed, and wondered what I was doing there. I don’t remember how the evening ended, but I do know that Brylcreem head didn’t work out. Hell, I can’t even remember his name.