A School Memory

That sweeping coolness that washes over you when your sweat cools and breeze sweeps up your shirt is one of the best experiences one can have under the afternoon sun. I raised two fingers, palm facing downwards, and placed them on my neck. I kept them there for a while, savouring the icy coolness. I put them away again, because I was afraid I’d overdo it and it wouldn’t as a fun anymore.

My shirt, once nearly blue with all the Ujjala (cloth whitener) that it had been soaked in, was now fringed with a sweaty brown. A bead of sweat made its way down my face. Slowly, too slowly.  It was ice cold. I jerked my shoulder up and rubbed it off on my shirt. It smelled vaguely musky but it still retained the awesome odour of sun dried cloth. My short sleeves were crisp like they’d been ironed and folded just a few minutes ago.

‘The Tree. Come bro.’

Vishay. He was a short odd looking creature. His rug mat brown hair, un-tucked white shirt, dirty grey pants that didn’t reach his ankles, vibrant red belt with a bronze buckle, and tattered black school issued shoes made him look like a tramp. A pale pink, chubby tramp. He had this way of pouting and sticking his jaw forward. I pulled my un-tucked white shirt from under me and got up. I saw that my shoe laces were blunted and worn.

‘Get new one’s da.’ He said as we walked to the other end of the ground. The corporation wanted to turn it into a park but the school insisted they needed a ground. We were happy we would never have to bother about it. We’d be gone by the time they got to doing anything about it. I pulled up my pants, my belt was loose, the back of my shirt wet.

We got to the tree. A miserable old thing that was dying, but you could climb it. We’d taken to climbing it and claiming it as ours as the year ended. Vishay tugged at his pants and awkwardly grasped at the tree like an unfit monkey. He begged to differ about his climbing skills.

I stretched, and felt the coarseness of my belt as I put my hands on my hips. I kicked of my shoes, making them muddier in the process. I looked at my grey socks, unable to understand how they could get so brown despite having stayed inside all day. They were ankle legs I’d pulled up because I didn’t like ankle lengths.

‘Climb da’ he said.

So I tossed my socks aside and climbed the tree.

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