I’ll Be Watching You

I listened to her strumming the guitar, and stared in awe, secretly wishing I could play just as well and make it seem so effortless. Even though I know how to play the guitar, I stopped learning in 2 months. I probably know only 5 chords out of which I can’t even hold the F chord; my fingers hurt for days whenever I try. But when she played the guitar, I couldn’t even make out which chords she used. I’m sure she creates her own chords. I wonder if she’d teach me how to do that. In fact I wonder if I could ever be like her. It was today morning that I realized it was much more the desire to be around her. I got tired of walking past the staff room ever morning to catch a glimpse of her or waiting for her to look at me and talk to me every time I followed her till her room after our 15 min recess; or even when I tried listening to her conversations with other teachers. I had so many things to tell her, so many things to ask her. Maybe I looked up to her. Maybe I really liked the way she dressed. Most of my friends do. Maybe I just wanted everyone to like me the way they liked her. Or maybe I didn’t want anyone to like her, but me.

My mother told me that for a 13 year old I behaved in a very mature manner. My teachers always tell me that I’m the smartest girl in the 8th Grade. Yet, somewhere I didn’t seem to fit in. I do have classmates of the opposite sex who looked at me like they looked at the girl with the shortest skirt in my school. Yet, I never looked back at them. I don’t find the boy who sits at the back seat of the bus, cute and I never want to giggle when he passes by, but I do it anyway. Most of the time, when I’m sitting in the bus trying to block out the various moving conversations, I like to watch her come out of the school building and drive away. I’ve even memorized her address but I haven’t told that to anyone because I know they’ll give me the look. The same look I got when I told my best friend that I really didn’t like Akon, or any of those rappers. Even she told me she didn’t like Rap, the first time we talked.

I first saw her when she joined school as a temporary music teacher. All my other friends really like her too. Especially the boys… and when I think about that at night sometimes, it irritates me. Once I got into a fight with some of my friends who were talking about her. They said that she lives with a boy. I tried following her to her house to see who the boy was, but that day she didn’t go home directly and I got lost. My mum had to come pick me up from somewhere. Of course I got grounded for a while and I still don’t know who that boy is. I wish I could follow her home again but my mum has made sure that I am in the bus everyday by talking to the teacher in charge of my bus route. Once when I was walking past the staff room, I heard my teachers talking about that boy she lives with. They say it’s her boyfriend. My mum thinks it’s not okay to live with a boy before you’re married, and she tells me that I’ll be allowed to have a boyfriend only when I finish college. I wonder how that boy looks though.

I heard her play the guitar three months ago; I was the first one to enter her class. It was quite an interesting one. We even talked after the class for long and ever since, we’ve been very good friends. She tells me often that I’m her favorite student and that I’m very well mannered. I had to be her favorite. I could feel it in the way she greeted me with a kiss every time she saw me. It makes me very happy. In fact I’m the happiest when I’m around her, and the days I don’t see her I cry till my mum comes into my room and forces me to sleep. The best part is she’s just 19 years old. That’s six years older than me. My own parents are six years apart, so that’s okay… right?

I had a dream about her last night. She wanted to teach me how to play the guitar so we could do shows together. She also asked me to live with her. Sure I’d miss my mum, but I could always meet her during the vacations.

I woke up smiling today. I’d be happy if she really asked me to live with her. In fact I think I’m going to talk to her about it. I’m sure she’d love to live with me. I’d love to live with her. I’d love to talk to her, to hear her talk. I’d love to know what she thinks and each detail about her life. Most of all I’d really love to know what she does every minute of the day. I’m sure I’ll never stop looking at her if we started living together. She’ll even forget the boy she lives with. I’ll make her.

I entered her room today feeling very content. She had called me to her room after my classes got over but I went to see her after my first class itself because I couldn’t wait. I couldn’t stop looking at her. She’s really pretty, a little short but that’s okay, my mum’s short too. She was writing something but she put her pen down when she saw me. Every time I entered the room her face lit up. Today, she just looked at me, a little concerned. She didn’t seem sad, but she didn’t seem happy either. She asked me to sit next to her and when I sat on her couch instead, she looked at me for a very long time. She came up to me, gave me a tight hug and subtly smiled. I looked back at her with a million questions running through my head. Something wasn’t right. Then she finally said it.

“Today is my last day.”

Swetha Ramakrishnan