Monday, August 26, 2013
`The Royal Preparatory Blues
While living in Accra as a young boy I studied at The Royal Preparatory. We were made to wear khaki shorts and orange colored shirts.
These source of clothing were often washed with starch which gave them a rugged surface when ironed became almost thick. The building itself was leveled at about four floors with a compound. Early mornings students met before the headmaster on this compound for what seemed to be a roll call. The headmaster at the time a rotund gentleman fierce in stature would give a speech and prepare the students for the day.
As my memory serves me it was a compound filled with orange red uniforms. Some of the students never gave a care as to what was happening they were more or less laughing among themselves, picking their noses, combing their hair with afro picks or if a boy had a girl behind him she would be inspecting his hair for bugs. These bugs infested ones hair due to lack of grooming with shampoo.
On one particularly morning when my mother was driving me to scool we arrived late at the school's gate. My mother saw the headmaster whipping with a long cane bunch of students who had also come in late. She promptly turned the car around and drove me back home. As a means of chastizing students, teachers kept a cane in a bucket of water. When appropiate they would call a student to the head of the class and he or she would be whipped.
The teachers were middle age men in white shirts with tie in grey trousers. They taught lessons in mathematics and english. As a student I seemed removed from what was the circus surrounding me. My fellow classmates passing around afro picks, revealing their hard ons to the girls. The girls themselves gossiping among each other. I recall the boys were into race horses and soccer. They would often imitate jockeys at the stretch or illustrate race horces or atheletes playing soccer.
During lunch there were intramural agmes where certain teams played soccer on the compound. I was fortunate to have been a part of this several times. It was very exciting to be among other students kicking the soccer ball around. At times stuck in a corner with threee to four people struggling to gain momentum of the soccer ball.
Often there were women who arrived with food sat around the compoud selling dishes such as fried plantains and beans. Many of the students gathered on the several floors eating and watching the games. When the bell sounded there was a struggle to make it to class. Otherewise those who were late would be whipped. Students jumped over each other along the staircases, screaming and hollering, pushing each other as they went along.
I had a crush on one particular girl. I did not know her name. I do remember seeing her, a fair skinned girl with a stylish hairdo. She was thin with a strong bone structure. She was indeed beautiful. I spent certain nights at home sitting in the dark thinking about her.
It is very revealing thinking about this memory as to how I grew up to have a neurosis of beauty and aesthetics. I have a fond memory of her coming down a staircase with glorious sunlight pushing down on her, reminiscent of that very famous painting. It has never been coitus that brought a charge in me. It was always what surrounded it - the pre emptive dialogue. I have grown to be that boy in the memory where I don't value sexual intercourse as much.
It is the allure of a woman. The burning desire and sensation. As time would have it my experiense with sex and lovemaking stems from pornography, an extra marital affair and time spent in the theater.
Mother worked full time so it was impossible to pick us up from and to school. She had it arranged that we were picked up by a van known as a Neopalan bus. It was a surreal psychedelic multicolored bus with room for about forty. Along the way we picked up other students from other schools. There was a clash with some of these other students certainly to be expected.
I always remained quiet combing my hair with an afro pick, watching quietly through a window as the van passed through neighborhoods.