Ayisha and Sean parted ways after a pleasant conversation about movies and books. Despite his intelligent nature, Sean saw no point in wasting ridiculous amounts of time reading books and preferred the more dynamic medium of movies. Ayisha, on the other hand, found the patience he was desperately missing and, in her own words, enjoyed more profound storylines. Then they waved at each other and said goodbye.
“Why do these moments still come?”, Sean started whispering to himself. “I do not really mean what I said back then, I really don’t. I really don’t… I am not a child anymore, I can control myself.” He clenched his fists. “I should be able to control myself… But then, for a single millisecond I really did believe in what I said. It came from my heart… and that’s why Ayisha looked so shocked. I am not crazy nor am I maniacally evil. I am … normal.” The word normal aggravated him for his immediate connotation was of ‘mediocre’, something which he avoided more than the plague. But, acknowledging this, in its current sense it also meant cured of all the anomalies in his thinking. “I shall not be the quintessential melodramatic teenager, I am not a leper, nor an infected… There I go shirking off the problem. Of course, denial would the first step in accepting a diagnosis. It is the natural reaction to the billion times a day you think something is wrong and it turns out to be a fragment of your imagination.”
When Sean reached his accommodation what awaited him at the door was a poster with Herbert Drury’s face. Getting more worried with every step, he started to carefully examine the piece of paper. His began pulsating as he read, “MISSING: Student First Year, Male, Herbert Drury, Height: 1,75m, Fluent in English, German, French. Reward for any information about his whereabouts.” Cooper gasped for fresh air but everywhere around him smoked abounded.
“Why is he still missing? Why? Why? Why? Shouldn’t they have located him by now” His feet gave in and he fell on the cold, muddy ground. “Just when it was all going according to plan…” And he laughed while his consciousness was slowly fading into oblivion.
Sean woke up in the common room, surrounded by a host of people he had seen around the corridors but never really spoken to. He thanked them for their help and refusing further assistance, clambered to his room where he immediately fell asleep.
In his sleep he heard the door shut – someone outside his hall had entered the room as anyone else wouldn’t have let it slam. With all the swiftness he could muster, he jumped out of bed, reached for his eating knife and tried to identify the person intruding. It was Emily.
“I knocked but you didn’t respond so I let myself in.”
“It’s my fault for leaving it open like that. What do’ya want?”
“Before that, can you please put that knife down? It’s scaring me. And more importantly, why do you have that?”
“Wha? ‘Tis? It’s my eating/cooking knife. I waz lazy and din’t wash it…”And he put it down on the table, next to a dirty plate and fork.
“I wouldn’t normally categorize you as linguistically gifted but you were at least above average in terms of eloquence. What happened to you?”
“I collapsed yesterday after seeing Herbert’s poster. I don’t know why it upset me that gravely. I am all better, thank you for coming. For the second time, what can I do for you?”
“I want you to ravish my body like there is no tomorrow! To turn me into a woman in the most indecent way you can!” And she looked downwards amply showing skin.
Sean raised his eyebrow. Then he raised his head, followed by the other eyebrow, resulting in the most astonished reaction.
“Quite frankly, this is best way to start the morning. May I ask, while we get undressed, as to the reasons behind your new-found love for me?”
The girl went past him and sat on the bed. “I don’t want to be the sacrificial pawn in my family’s chess game. If only in this, I shall follow my wishes.”
“And these desires involve turning me into a paid gigolo, I see. Dare I say, a well-thought out and not in the least impulsive decision. Also, how … different from your family?”
But Sean’s slowly awakening mind became less cynical and finally focused on Emily’s trembling body – her slender figure was barely holding. Contrary to his instincts though, she did not explode with anger.
“Sean Cooper, you are the person with ambitions, I am the one with endless possibilities and a rich family. It is clear who can do without the other. And it was you who approached me, not the other way around. So DO NOT, never accuse me being like my family! No, I do not want to turn you into a gigolo… Sorry, it’s just that… the Drurys have called my family to accuse me of their son’s disappearance. Apparently, it was my responsibility to babysit him.”
“Quite frankly, your sad, sad life story means nothing to me this early in the day. Can we go back to me taking advantage of your emotional instability?”
“You are forever free of him. His parents will find him in a couple of days but he has gotten the message and will not bother you again.”
“Then your word is as valuable as you claim… Thank you. I shall repay you as soon as possible. On a different topic, do you like that the Ayisha girl?”, she asked.
“A question out of the blue. May I enquire why you are asking?”
“Because you don’t seem like it and this lack of emotion bothers me. Most boys your age would have fallen in love, head over heels by now. And some girls have started gossiping about you two. But I don’t see that in you. Is this another one of your grand skills of deception or do you genuinely not feel anything?”
Sean did not expect her question and was frankly taken aback by it.
“If I had wanted her, I would have had my way her – mentally and physically.”
“If I didn’t know you in person, I would laugh. But as I am well aware of your capabilities, I have to keep a straight face and hope never to witness more than just your boasting. I am leaving now. Bye, Sean, I will come by these days with your reward.” And she left. But Sean was already deep in thought.
He whispered before going to wash himself, “If, for a brief moment, I wished her, I would take no more than an arm’s reach to get her…”
Sean phoned Ayisha and invited her to his room on the pretext he was ill and needed help. She accepted.
With a brief knock on the door Ayisha announced her entry.
“Hello, Sean. How are you feeling?”
“A bit under the weather, or even under a brick. Can you make me a sandwich?”
“You really are sick. Don’t you remember asking the very same thing over the telephone?”
But Sean never forgot details, they were both the spices and the main dish in his life.
“Then, can I have it? Your delicious home-made sandwich?”
“Sure, let me get it out of the bag.”
Distracted for a second with the lack of orderliness in her rucksack, Ayisha did not see Sean get up. Nor did she notice him extending his arms around her face until it was too late. He pulled her head a few inches from his. Their eyes started directly into each other. In Ayisha’s confusion, she failed to notice or deduce anything from his expression. But he saw what he was looking for – patience, lack of action, waiting for the other to do something. He knew she was not averse to him and with no other options, he thought, this was equivalent to affectionate of. So he sharply turned his face away to hide the salient victory grin. But Ayisha unexpectedly spoke.
“Sean, I am sorry. I never knew you liked me. And we’ve known each other for a few days only. I am so sorry. I just don’t see you in that light… I am sorry… Goodbye.” And she left, without looking back.
Flabbergasted, surprised, seemingly having lost an important pillar in life, Sean could muster only “Wha….t, I…was….wron…g”, before grabbing his cup and smashing it in the door.