She looked around a fourth time to ensure no one would see her. She released the clench and sweet! Sweet! Release. Just when she opened her eyes so dreamy , so satisfied and accomplished, Gerald; her high school crush, passed and began to cough from the terrible smell. He looked at her and scoffed and walked off, fanning himself with his hand. She cupped her face in her hands she was so embarrassed. She wanted the ground to open up. She was glued to the spot hoping she was invisible.

“How could I fart in Gerald’s presence?” she thought. “I want to die.”

Students milled past her for about 5 minutes, some bumping into her on purpose, just to annoy her. Others staring and passing in whispers jeering her more. The bell rung and the footsteps and laughter around her turned to running.

She slowly peeled her hands from her face and walked to class slowly. Alice was scared that someone would see her and know what she did. When she walked in to class, the teacher unfortunately was there before her. And as per class rules, she was to be punished for her lateness. She was told to kneel outside the class for half the lesson. Alice, was resigned to self pity and that is all she felt. She went out with no pleas of leniency. She had already been ‘punished’ at breaktime, “I might as well get some more punishment now,” she mumbled.

Just 5 minutes into the punishment, the principal, Madam Cherrie, walked past. Alice wasn’t asked what she had done, the principal pointed at a nearby bucket and mop by a tap in the quadrangle near her class. That was all the principal had to do. She knew what that meant. Another punishment, clean the toilets, one of the principals favourite.

Alice rolled up her sleeves, went to the cleaners and asked for soap and off she went. Towards lunch two hours later, she had cleaned both the gents and ladies toilets. As she walked in to the gents to inspect that it was clean again, she hadn’t noticed Gerald walk in, he was using the nearby urinal.

Alice froze staring at him. It seemed like her default action. Only this time, her shoulders where lifted upwards towards her neck, the bucket and mop in her hand hanging limply by her side, her mouth a jar and eyes popping out of their sockets. “Do you mind?” He yelled echoing in the room.

Alice said nothing and just shook her head. ‘What’s wrong with you?” he retorted!

Alice’s mouth shut and she tripped on her way out. Once again she stood outside the gents, back to the door, head bowed, chin pressed against her chest and tears where rolling down her chubby cheeks.

“What is wrong with me?” Alice whispered. The bell rang for lunch as Gerald walked out of the gents. This time he muttered something and flung his hand at her in a rage. And the water (she hoped it was) from his hands sprinkled on her face and she cringed as it landed on her. She slid to the ground in a mound. Alice just dropped everything and cried.


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