I just realized my email had a mistake. 😦 MailChimp and I couldn’t agree on formatting and I inadvertently deleted half of a sentence somehow in my struggle to fix it all. So… here’s the corrected excerpt. Sorry for the typo. *bad author*
Semi-SPOILER ALERT for those of you who’ve only read Emi Lost & Found…
The lights come up in the classroom a few seconds after the video ends and I look over at Zaina, who’s fallen asleep next to me in her chair. I poke her playfully once, and she awakens suddenly, quickly adjusting to her surroundings. She smiles and thanks me. I guess she got just as much out of this lecture as I did. She was dreaming; I was reflecting on a nightmare.
“So as you can see, abstinence is the best choice,” Mr. Oran says simply. If they’re trying to scare us away from sex, just have everyone in this class assist someone with childbirth.
Done and done.
Thank God for the Internet, though. Even my parents are disappointed that the private school I go to hasn’t branched out with its sex education curriculum. “The rest of his education is what’s important,” my dad has to remind my mother when I disclose our daily abstinence lessons to her. “We knew this was what they would teach him, and we chose to send him anyway. Livvy turned out fine.”
And I don’t rely on my school for sex ed. I just sit in class, watch the videos, ace the tests, listen to the lectures I don’t agree with, keep my mouth shut for good measure – like most of the other students – and ask my uncles and brother-in-law any questions I may have that can’t be answered definitively by friends or the web. I’ll even throw one to my dad every now and then.
I’ll turn out fine, too.
“Do we have any questions?” our teacher asks. What questions would we have on not doing anything? ‘How do I keep it in my pants, sir?’ This class is ridiculous.
“Mr. Oran,” my friend, Callen, asks, “did you practice abstinence until you were married? Wait– are you married?”
“Questions about the video, Callen, not personal questions.”
“Then no, sir. I don’t have any. Nope.”
A few of us laugh, but our teacher maintains his composure, and isn’t at all flustered by the question. I venture to guess he’s been asked that many times in his long career here. Sometimes when he’s teaching, I wonder if he truly believes in his lectures anyway. Some days I respect him more for this; other days, less.
“That’s it then. You’re dismissed ninety seconds early. Live it up,” Mr. Oran says with a smile. “Have a great weekend.”
The hallway is relatively quiet when we reach it since the dismissal bell hasn’t rung yet. “Dress out at seven, Holland,” Callen says as he passes me at my locker right outside the classroom.
“I know, Captain,” I tell him.
“Zai, don’t hold him up like last week.”
“That was not my fault!” My girlfriend laughs. It absolutely was her fault, but not for the reason Callen’s insinuating. Her grandmother had fallen, and I went with her to a hospital in Long Island before our soccer game last week so she could spend some time with her. Zaina didn’t want me to go out of my way, but I knew she wanted to see her, and I didn’t want her to have to go alone.
So maybe it was technically my fault. I missed our after-game celebration, too, because Zaina had wanted to take her a book she had asked for. Callen was ticked off about that, as well.
“So… will I see you at the game tonight?” I ask Zaina. Even though next week is the last week of school, the summer soccer league had started up in mid-May. Callen and I missed the first two games because it overlapped with baseball.
“You know I like to see my guy in a uniform,” she says, sidling up to me as I throw some books in the locker. “Who all’s coming?”
“I guess my parents and uncles and Jon…” She watches me, hopeful. “And Max.”
“Okay, then definitely.”
“Should I worry about this?”
“Never, Trey,” she says. “I just think Max is cool. I like hearing stories about when you were kids. He has a million of them.”
“Yeah, I know,” I respond with a glare. He loves to embarrass me in front of her, but I let him, because he’s my best friend, and I guarantee I’ll do the same to him when he brings a girl around.
“Don’t worry, Tria,” she coos softly, using the nickname she gave me, which is the number three in Greek, “there’s no one I’d rather not practice abstinence with than you.”
It takes me a second to deconstruct her sentence. “Zaina…” I laugh nervously and sigh her name at the same time. I close my locker and face her, taking her head into my hands. Apprehensive, I look into her eyes seriously with a gentle smile. “Beleza–”
We both jump when the bell rings. She starts laughing, but I don’t. I smile, though, because she’s the most distinctive person I’ve ever met and the prettiest girl I’ve ever dated, and I really do like her so much.
I decide not to finish what I was going to say, and I kiss her instead. Full on the lips, with everyone watching, I hold her as close to me as I can, and I kiss her until I make it difficult for myself to walk, and even harder for her to breathe.
©2015 Lori L. Otto