Prev: Vol I
This is based on a true story. Names, places and dates have been changed to protect the innocent, and in the case of one guy, the very stupid. Some scenes have been dramatized for that extra oomph.
The lecturer looked up from his notes, annoyed at being interrupted by the latecomer.
“Young lady. You are late. I do not tolerate tardiness in my class.”
The poor girl tried to defend herself: “I’m very sorry sir, but..”
“Please do not waste any more of my time with your excuses. Take your seat. I will excuse you today since this is the first class, but I WILL lock the doors in the future once class begins. That goes for all the rest of you, too. Now, as I was saying earlier….”
As the lecture resumed, she began walking towards the rows of seats looking for an empty one.
In the last occupied row at the back of the hall, Steve watched her approaching. He couldn’t make out much detail when she first walked in and brought the lecture to a halt. But as she came closer, Steve, somewhat unconsciously, began critically appraising her.
She had black wavy hair, pulled back and tied into a ponytail that reached just below her shoulders. It bobbed from side to side as she kept swiveling her head left to right trying to look for a place to sit. It did not help matters that the lights had been dimmed because the lecturer wanted to project some slides.
She was wearing a simple green jumper, and a pair of baggy track bottoms. Not the most attractive of outfits, but Steve did notice subtle hints of curves underneath the plain clothes.
She was two rows away from him, when he was finally able to see her face in all its glory. She was wearing a rather large pair of glasses, perched precariously on her small, button nose. She had well-defined cheekbones, but you would have missed it unless you were actually looking for it, for the minute details was overshadowed by the glasses.
She wasn’t stunningly beautiful. Steve had seen enough pictures in magazines to know what stunningly beautiful women were supposed to look like. Yet, Steve did find himself strangely attracted to this girl. He realized that her features, if considered separately, were indicative of a Plain Jane appearance, yet combined together, made for a rather pretty, if understated, look.
He could see now that she was beautiful, or at least had the potential to be beautiful if the right clothes and make-up were applied. She also had a graceful walk. She was neat and clean. She smelled faintly of an exotic perfume.
And she was now standing right next to him.
“Is that seat taken?”
She was pointing to the seat to Steve’s right, the one with his backpack and files on it.
Steve hastily gathered his things and half-stood to allow her to get to the seat. As she did so, her legs brushed against his lightly. She was quick to apologise, but Steve barely heard her, since he was still feeling the tinge of electricity coursing through his body.
As she settled into her seat, Steve remained half-standing holding his bag and files as he contemplated his next course of action.
“Is there a problem up there?”
All eyes turned to the back, trying to catch a glimpse of the person to whom the lecturer’s question was directed.
Steve shook his head vigorously and quickly dumped his things on to floor of the aisle and immediately sat down. The lecturer, with an exaggerated sigh, turned back towards his slides.
“Are those your notes?”
Steve turned towards her. Now that her face was only inches away, he could see that behind the comically-large spectacles was a pair of beautiful eyes, with pupils looking like perfectly spherical brown islands in a clear sea of white. It took him a full 5 seconds to realise he had forgotten to breathe.
“Mind if I copied the earlier parts?”
“Sure, but there’s not a lot actually. I’ll lend them to you during the break.”
“Great, thanks. I’m Mina, by the way.”
“Steve. Nice to meet you.”
For the rest of the lecture, Steve barely heard the drone of the lecturer’s voice. What he mostly heard was the scratching of her pen on her notepad, the soft rustling of the sleeve of her jumper on her pad as she wrote, the near-silent, measured sound of her breathing, and most of all, the infrequent yet all too eagerly awaited moments when she would whisper to him:
“I didn’t get that. What did he say?”
Looking back, Steve would have called this the beginning of the happiest period of his young life.
He might also call it his one, true regrettable experience.
Next: Vol III