You turned me into a criminal.

I did everything I was supposed to: got the cash, the ATM cards and didn’t tell anyone what the plan was.

The timing was perfect: it was impossible to supervise school trips in such a crowded area, with so many other teenagers mingling in the venue. And an outing so close to the end of the mid-term break was also perfect. That was how I got the cash, and the cards.

And that’s probably why the cards hadn’t been blocked: their owners didn’t notice they were missing.

We met during the trip, remember?

No one would think it odd if two people in different uniforms who seemed to know each other went into the bathroom together.

Two words per kiss. That was the standard, wasn’t it? The rhythm of how we talked.

Conversations with you were music.

“Are we-” kiss “doing this-” longer kiss “for real?”

And you stopped, looked me right in the eye and spoke.

“I’m packed.”

A change of clothes in my bag. Two changes of clothes in yours, because you thought my school would be too strict to let us carry too much stuff with us for a 6-hour trip.

But they hadn’t been, and I was thrilled that you thought to carry that stuff for me.

We got changed. I’m surprised no one saw us, or noticed. I guess it was like we transformed into other people once our uniforms were off.

Trousers. No more skirts or dresses for the likes of us.

But you had to get your luggage, which you’d kept in your aunt’s house and I was to wait for you at the bus stop. We’d be harder to find if we split up, or so wisdom dictated.

And I waited. The sun rose higher in the sky. Set. Darkness covered the trees. I refused to eat: couples did that sort of thing together.

Waited until the bus began to drive off.

And you didn’t show up.


Cover image source; Miri in the Village

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