It Is Not What It Looks Like

Of all the experiences life has to offer, one of the worst has got to be having a false accusation leveled against you. Think about it. There you are just sailing through the extensive sea that is your life when an accuser sprouts out of nowhere like the kraken, disrupting your voyage and seeking to drag you down to Davy Jones’ locker. These accusations can range anywhere from being accused of breaking priceless china by a sibling, to robbing a bank. Now, often what ends up sealing one’s fate is the sometimes misleading evidence that may be found on their person or their whereabouts during the perpetration of the crime. This has given rise to the all too familiar statement, “It is not what it looks like”.

A long time ago while in high school, my colleagues and I were working tirelessly on our projects as the days gradually passed us by. Being younglings with varying degrees of rebelliousness, we adhered strictly to the all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy slogan. We worked hard and played hard. Correction, we played with moderation and worked very hard. Being computer-based, our project was the most difficult in the entire school (Yes I said it! It had to be said!). This came with one perk that trumped all the rest. We were allowed to access the computer lab at odd hours. And where there are computers and stressed out teens, you can expect to find music and video games being played. It was like our own private getaway. Got bored during evening prep? Comp. lab. Didn’t feel like doing laps round the track? Comp. lab. You get the point.

Now sometimes, you could find that time had flown by and you had to snap back to reality on realizing a certain event was taking place, you were absent and our hawk-eyed class teacher Mwaks (A moniker we had assigned to him) would no doubt be scouring the hall for you. Failure to show up would result in a caning. In our entire computer class we only had one girl, Brenda. A rather odd person but interesting in her own way. One day, some event that I cannot clearly recall was taking place. The morning was spent cleaning and arranging certain areas of the school in preparation. We comp. students stealthily exited the scene and made our way to the lab. If anyone asked, all we had to say was “Project” and they let us be on our way. There was little resistance as they knew that when they craved the touch of a keyboard, flashy moving pictures (movies), games and music, we would be the ones to decide their fate. We “owned” the most prime real estate in the entire school (From a student’s perspective that is).

While at the lab, we begun to debate on if we would attend the event. We unanimously agreed to stand firm and not go but some got cold feet and left as the thought of Mwaks beating down on them was too much. One by one they left until only Brenda and I were left. We kept doing our own thing until she looked at me and suggested that we just bow out as being found there together would have certainly borne some consequences. We promptly left and headed to the hall. Just as we were about to enter, she took off her sweater. Brenda was… challenged, with regards to waist circumference and general body mass. That is to say she was skinny.

As she walked into the hall, (which was packed by that time) she begun adjusting her skirt because apparently it was a bit large at the waist. I went in after her (poker faced as usual) and noticed that part of my collar was hidden by my sweater and my tie was off the center. So I too walked in adjusting my uniform as I liked to look my best (Still do). On taking my seat, I noticed that lots of glances were being shot in my direction and some of my classmates were smiling and winking at me. Thinking perhaps I had wandered into some crazy parallel universe I turned to my friend beside me only to find he too was smiling. I got concerned. Had they planned some evil against me? Quite the contrary, my friend leaned in and whispered “Buuuuuuuuudaaaaa” (Buda: The Swahili slang equivalent of dude). He went on, “Ulikuwa unafanya nini na Brenda?” (Translation: What were you doing with Brenda?). “Nothing. Why?” I asked. “Ameingia akiadjust skirt na wewe umeingia ukiadjust shirt….” (Translation: She came in adjusting her skirt and you came in adjusting your shirt…) He said. Trailing off to let the message sink in.

It instantly hit me. They all thought I had made a move on her. “It is not what it looks like”, I  said trying to deny it but no one would listen. I was a good boy (I still am mum and dad). I did not indulge in such activities. After a while, I got tired of fighting the tide and decided to surf it instead. I never officially said I made a move, but I did not deny it either. Brenda’s silence and my own fueled the speculation and in a way, it was quite enjoyable. For on that day, people realized, this emotionless individual could be a beast like they had never seen. After all, the most dangerous beasts are the ones that you do not even know exist.