“I like having biology first period,” Kago said walking toward his first lesson.
“Only because Mpho’s in there,” Shashank said.
“Do you think Mpho even knows your name?”
“Sure, why not?”
“Well, for one, she’s the most beautiful and popular girl in the school. And, two, you’re like a huge nerd. Girls like that, don’t notice boys like us.”
“You don’t know that. Maybe Mpho’s different. Some beautiful women like smart men, no matter what they look like.”
Kago wanted Mpho to be like that. He wished on every star. On every chicken wishbone and every set of birthday candles he’d had for the last four years. He wished and wished that Mpho Rabosigo would be able to look past his height and his light weight. That she could look inside and see the real him.
“Look at Stephen Hawking, the most famous physicist in the world, he’s had a few beautiful wives along the way,” Kago said.
“You’re not Stephen Hawking.”
Just then a very tall, very thin, hunched over girl passed by. “Hi Kago,” she said, she being Annah Ditiro.
“Hi Annah. Are you off to biology then?” he asked.
“Yes,” she said.
“Then you best be off,” Shashank said rudely.
Annah squinted her eyes at him, but before leaving she said to Kago, “The school dance is next Saturday.”
“Queen of the obvious,” Shashank said. “You can move along now.”
Annah ignored him but marched off anyway.
Shashank pointed in Annah’s direction. “See? Despite what both of us might like, our world will be populated by Annah Ditiros. Lots and lots of Annah Ditiros and not a single Mpho Rabosigo. The sooner you get used to that situation the better.”
The topic for the day in biology was the dark cycle of photosynthesis, one of his favourite topics. But Kago paid little attention. He was, instead, studying what lovely long fingers Mpho had. She had an odd way of leaving her eyelash-heavy eyelids closed for a fraction of a second longer than the normal person when she blinked. Kago found these things very endearing.
He was surprised when Mr Saunders asked Mpho and him to remain behind after class. Kago went to the front and Mpho smiled at him. For a brief moment, he wondered what the statistics were for 17 year old boys dying from a heart attack. He hoped small.
“So, Mpho, as you know you’re really struggling with biology. If it continues like this you will in all likelihood fail,” Mr Saunders started.
“Yes, I know this Mr Saunders. I’m trying my best.” Mpho looked remorseful. Kago felt angry Mr Saunders was putting her through such humiliation.
“I think I have an answer, though. Kago is our biology star. I thought it might be a good idea if he started tutoring you- that is, if he’s agreeable to my idea.”
Though Mpho had been at the front of Kago’s mind for just about every minute of the last four years, he suddenly realised he’d never actually spoken to her before. That thought made his tongue uncontrollable. And though he had all intentions of saying, “Sure I think that’s a good idea” what he said instead was- “Showagudabeadea”, or something very similar to that.
Amazingly, Mr Saunders was fluent in Idiot, and said, “Well that’s great, Kago.”
Mpho smiled at him – again! “Thanks so much, Kago, you’re a life saver.”
Not only did she know his name (take that Shashank!), she then did the thing Kago would never forget-ever. She reached forward and placed her lovely hand on his shoulder.
Tell us what you think: What do you think about Shashank saying Kago should settle for girls like Annah Ditiro?