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Nuwe skryfwerk | New writing > Fiksie | Fiction > Kompetisies | Competitions

"Timeless Love" Competition: Kimberley, 1987

Clint Noah - 2011-09-06

Midsummer. Transvaal Road blazed and shimmered in the intensity. Cars whooshed by on their way into and out of town. A school building stood by the side of the road and watched as they came and went. The sun beat down on its zinc roof and the heat filtered down inside. The classroom was hot and stuffy, as classrooms in Kimberley so often are. Mrs. Jones, the teacher, wrote on a green chalkboard, her back turned to the class. A girl sat next to a boy in a newly refurbished desk. The school’s caretaker had just sanded and varnished the desks last week.

The Girl’s thin voice piped up next to The Boy: “Excuse me, Miss,” she said to the teacher, “I don’t feel so good.”

“Why don’t you put your head on his lap until you feel better?” Mrs Jones gestured to The Boy.

“You there,” she said to another boy who sat by the window.

“Yes, Miss?” he responded.

“Open the window,” she ordered.

He peered at the already opened window and did not know what to do. Mrs Jones interrupted his confusion and said, “Open it wider.” He did as he was told.

The Boy stared down at The Girl as she lay her head down. Her face was in profile. The light and feathery brown hair in her neck grew darker as it went up to her scalp. Her waif-like ears fitted the proportions of her face perfectly and the parts of her lips that he could see were full and flushed pink. A slight breeze touched her hair and a wisp of it settled on her soft, rounded cheek and it contrasted beautifully with her olive-brown skin.

Mrs Jones’s voice seemed to come from nowhere and he remembered that he was still in class. “Repeat after me,” she said and gestured at each word: “THE … CAT … SAT … ON … THE … MAT.”

The Boy looked back down at The Girl as he repeated the sentence. Without thinking, he tenderly moved the strand of hair behind her ear. She turned her head slightly to look up at him and smiled. Her big, brown eyes seemed to shine. They were only six years old, but in that moment he loved her.