“Okay! That will be all for today. I hope you all have a well-rested recess.”
Finally, I thought letting out a sigh. Even though the lecture was forty five minutes long, it felt like I was stuck in there for years. Don’t get me wrong, literature is a very interesting subject - given that I enjoy reading outside of art and painting - it’s just that I don’t really have the mindset to analyse or look for hidden meanings in literary works. Like a character brushing their teeth could have a hidden meaning or a tooth. Not to forget having the misfortune of reading boring ass book that are too long and too complex to even know what was happening in the plot. And I thought I wouldn’t have to worry about literature after high school only for it to follow me all the way to Uni.
Sadly, modules under Literature were a requirement for my degree since they were going to help me analyse and understand Artworks and the meaning behind it since Art is a form of literature. “Many famous artwork were inspired by literature.” I recalled what the lecturer said to the class during the first lecture,
At least it was recess. That meant no school, tutorials and assignments to worry about. People got to do whatever they wanted to do during that period. As for me, I never did much during recess. Normally, I would be at home catching up with some Netflix and anime, working fulltime at the Art Nursery School, getting dragged anywhere and everywhere by Maren or finish off my artworks.
Which reminded me, I needed to head to the stationery store nearby and buy new pencils, paintbrushes and restock my paints and varnishes. Thank God I got paid fabulously the past two months.
“Before you go and start your shemons, I have an announcement.” The lecturer said. “When we open up for the second half of the semester, we will be looking at The Little Mermaid.”
“The Disney film?”
“No. The original fairy-tale that inspired the Disney film which was written by Hans Christian Andersen. He was the same author of fairy tales like The Ugly Duckling, The Princess and the Pea, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, The Red Shoes, The Snow Queen and Thumbelina to name a few.” He clarified. “The plot for the Disney film is similar to the original but the twists and the ending of the original are different.”
“‘It’s going to ruin your childhood’ kind of different.”
I raised an eyebrow. “So, be sure to find time to read through it during recess so we can discuss it when we open. I’ll also be assigning you to groups of three for the assignment.”
Everyone groaned and whined. “At least I have something to look forward to when we open.” I muttered, rolling my eyes.
“Clutch pencil or 2B pencils.” I mumbled to myself, staring at the two packets in my hands trying to decide which one to purchase. On one hand I wanted the clutch pencil since I liked the thinness of the lead, but it was a bit expensive. On the other hand, I needed to restock my 2B pencils. “Fuck it. I’ll just take both. As long as it’s worth it, I have nothing to lose. Except my money.”
I tossed both packets into the basket and moved to the next aisle. My phone started ringing. I rummaged through my clutch and found my mobile talking device. It was Maren requesting a video call.
“Honey Bee!” she said gleefully by the time I answered her call.
“Mare-bear! What’s up.” I replied.
“Your nostrils, apparently, because that’s all I’m seeing.”
“Fuck you! I see your crusty ass face on the daily, but you don’t hear me complaining.”
Maren gasped, clutching her chest as if I attacked her. “Bitch, you’re calling this - “she waved at her face. “- ugly? Nah, nah, nah. I’ll have you know that this face is a work of art crafted by the Olympians themselves. I bet you five bucks that Leonardo Da Vinci would have picked me over that Mona Lisa girl for his painting. Heck, I bet even Aphrodite would feel inferior when she stands next to me.”
“Clearly, you’ve never read about what she did to Psyche.”
“Not my fault that attention seeking whore of a Goddess was too insecure to handle competition. I mean, she was the Goddess of Love and Beauty. Couldn’t she just use her Goddess powers to maintain her position instead of creating unnecessary drama for the poor girl?”
I rolled my eyes and made no comment. “I am so excited for recess and you know what that means.” She said.
“Being temporarily released from the restraints of the most corrupt system known to man?” I asked while picking some bottles of acrylic paints.
“That; and going on a three day vacation.”
I looked at my screen with an arched brow. “Vacation?” I crowed confused. “Yes, and that brings me to the reason for this call.” She said.
“Since your birthday is around that three day vacation period, why not celebrate it at Eaglesvale? Remember I told you about the gala celebrating Queens’ thirtieth anniversary?”
I frowned in confusion as I didn’t recall such a conversation until I ah-ed when the memory resurfaced. I remembered Maren gushing over spending three days at one of the most aesthetic tourist places and her mother issuing invites and tickets to the staff and employees stating that they can bring a plus one. Then it hit me. “Isn’t Kevin going with you?” I questioned, to which she responded by rolling her eyes.
“He was supposed to until he cancelled on me saying that something came up just a few hours ago when I asked him about it.” She scorned. “I know I shouldn’t be surprised since it’s not the first time he cancelled plans on me for God knows what reason he has, but this is getting ridiculous.”
“Oof.” I grimaced.
“I was going to settle for going alone and buying you a birthday gift there, but having a girl’s trip with my sistah from another mistah sounds way better.”
I paused, spreading my lips thinly. “I dunno, Mare. I wasn’t really planning on doing anything or going anywhere on my birthday.” I said. “And you know I’m not really fond on going out all the time.”
“Bitch please! You’ve gone out with me numerous times.”
“Only to make sure you don’t do anything stupid.”
“Mention one time.”
“The Campus Life Carnival incident.”
There was a brief pause before she said, “We don’t speak of that.”
“Mare, you made out with the security guard, then proceeded to throw up on his shirt!”
“I was drunk!”
“I told your dumbass not to exceed your limit knowing how low your tolerance is, but you still did it anyway.”
“Dang! You sound just like Claire.”
“Dang! For a twenty three year old you still act like a glorified teenager.”
“I - we’re going off topic here!”
A smug smile pulled my lips as I felt a sense of victory. “You know I’m right, but for the sake of sparing what’s left of your already bruised ego and pride, continue.” I said getting flipped off by her.
"As I was saying,” she put a strong emphasis in her words while glaring daggers at me. I stuck out my tongue at her. “You’re always playing it safe and not having fun.”
“I do have fun.”
“Spending the greater part of the day until night watching anime and Netflix is not what I would call fun. That’s safe and boring fun. Not adrenaline and lively fun.”
“I hang out with you. Your crackhead energy is enough adrenaline and lively fun for me. Plus, it’s not like I have anyone else to hang out with.”
“Yes, but that’s the problem.” She pointed out. “Not once have I heard or seen you talk to anyone in your year.”
I sighed. “It’s not that easy talking to people, Mare. You know how awkward I get around people.” I reminded her.
“I know but I’m a final year and I’m worried about how you’re going to cope when I graduate.” She told me.
I frowned pressing my lips together, my gaze fixed away from her gaze. “Look, I know you don’t want to do or get involved in shit that might bring you trouble in the long run and I completely understand that,” she said. “but you can’t always play it safe. Life maybe cruel but it’s also about taking chances and risks. You can’t evade risks even if you want to. And you need to start interacting with people because your line of work requires you to do so, Bee.”
As much as I hated to admit it, Maren was right. It wasn’t that I didn’t like talking to people, it was just that whenever I did try interacting with people or surrounding myself with people, I often felt like I was just there. I didn’t feel like I was part of the group or part of the conversation because whenever I did contribute something to the conversation, whether it was a comment or my opinion, people either ignored what I said as if I never said anything or didn’t acknowledge me at all. I had had so many encounters like that, and I gave up trying if I was going to be ignored inthe end.
The closest thing to an interaction I ever had with a human was during group work or anything related to school.
“Besides, you’re going to love it at Eaglesvale. The place is so breathtaking, I can even find any synonym in a thesaurus to describe how beautiful it is there.” Maren said. “You might get some inspiration for your art too.”
“Are the art museums there?”
“Yeah. There’s even a Pier, a theme park and an aquarium.”
I puckered my lips. “Sounds tempting.”
“You don’t have to give me an answer straight away, Bee. You can think about it and get back to me before the day we leave. No pressure.” She assured. “And even if you say no to the trip, I’ll still buy you a gift, then drag your ass out of the house so we can go out. No way you’re celebrating your birthday at home, little girl.”
I rolled my eyes and laughed. “Sure, whatever you say, mom.”
A few minutes passed until I heard a vibrating sound from her end. “oh great! Guess who decided to call?” she scowled.
“Ben Affleck?” I said.
“I wish,” she rolled her eyes. “It’s Kevin. I bet the bastard’s calling to reconsider coming. Well too bad, bitch! You ain’t coming!”
“Shouldn’t you at least hear what he has to say first before making that conclusion?”
“I would but I won’t. My ears are allergic to bullshit excuses.”
“Fine! I’ll talk to him. Just not now, okay? I’m too angry to listen to his shitty excuses without turning white with rage and putting the nigga in the hospital.”
“As long as you two are communicating.” I told her. “Communication is important.”
“Look at you giving me advice when your ass is still single.” She snarked with a smile.
“Piss off.” I scoffed.
She laughed. “Imma head out now. But remember what we discussed.” She said feigning a parental voice to which I rolled my eyes. “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Whatever.” I waved her off.
“Love you, Honey Bee.”
“Right back at ya, Mare-Bear.”
By the time the call ended, it was almost three in the afternoon according to the time on my phone. That meant I was in the store for almost an hour even though it felt even less than that. Time is really strange. I already have everything I need, might as well leave and head home before the store closes.
I left the aisle I was in and made my way to the cashier counter to pay for my stuff. The cashier had his back towards me. “Excuse me. I’d like to pay for these.” I said, placing the basket on the counter.
He didn’t react to my words. I frowned until I noticed the earphones that were plugged in his ears, meaning that he didn’t hear what I said. I tapped on his shoulder, which startled him in the process, breaking whatever spell he was under.
He slowly turned around as though I had just caught him stealing a cookie from a cookie jar and lo and behold, it was Matthew.