The rows of dusty black shoes and ankle length white socks entered the great hall in single file. Always in a single file. Row after row of ill-fitting maroon blazers that were too long and too baggy. Hanging off our shoulders because our parents could no longer afford the changing bodies of a teenage girl.
We sat down in the great hall, yawning, fiddling with our cuticles and reapplying our sticky, sweet cherry-flavoured lip gloss. We had not been told why we were called to assembly today. Probably something about Jesus. It is always about Jesus, and when only the girls are called to assembly then it’s probably about Jesus and breasts or Jesus and the length of our skirts or how Jesus hates teenage girls who wear their mom’s mascara.
I was sitting between Jade and Kelly. I would rather have been sitting next to Tori. Jade was popular and the captain of the netball team, but my mom said she was a bit of a slut. I mean, she isn’t wrong; the whole school knows what she did with Matthew when they went to the movies last weekend. Or rather, to Matthew.
I keep trying to catch Tori’s eye, just so that I can roll my eyes. Private school girls love rolling their eyes. We learn it from our private school moms.
I am mid-eye roll when a lady I don’t know walks into the hall. Oh God, yup. This is definitely about Jesus, this lady definitely loves JC. Her hair is cut short, but not in the cool way like the girl from that 90210 tv show. She looks like she goes to the same hairdresser as Mrs Laategaan, my Afrikaans teacher. Surely only one hairdresser in Joburg can master that very particular kind of purple, red and orange highlighter combo. I feel Kelly’s shoulders shudder as she tries to swallow her giggle and I know we are thinking the same thing.
The longer I stare at this woman… no, scrutinise her… no, judge her, the more I start to crave a Steri Stumpie. She is shaped a bit like a Steri Stumpie, dumpy and round. She is also wearing a light pink blouse, with matching light pink slacks and creamy white sandals that make her look a bit like strawberry milk. Anyways, she is of course a ‘straight out of Foschini’ fashion emergency. I do love pink Steri Stumpies though; I’ll get one from the tuck shop at break.
‘’Good morning girls. My name is René, I am a friend of Mrs Laategaan and I have been invited here today to talk about sex..’’
I knew it.
‘’… And how important it is to wait for marriage.’’
I knew it.
Rene rummages through a small wicker basket. She looks more prepared for a picnic than a speech telling teenage girls about the eternity of fire that awaits them if they even think about fiddling around with a boy’s penis. She pulls out a marshmallow easter egg. I mean, niche. I have always hated those eggs, I far prefer the hard white ones, that you have to suck before they get soft. The marshmallow ones always feel more like a handout than a treat.
Nonetheless, she’s got me interested now. What the fuck is she going to do with this egg? A reward maybe, for the person who can shout “SIN!” the loudest?
She unwraps the chocolate and holds it up like a new age body of Christ. My Catholic father would hate this, his convenient Catholicism (my mom’s term) means that he hates everything even slightly new age. I recoil as I remember his tantrum when the priest made us sing happy birthday to Jesus on Christmas day.
OMG. I gasp as Rene starts aggressively breaking the egg apart. Pulling at the edges and stretching the sticky white marshmallow before throwing tiny pieces of egg onto the floor. Oh, she is stamping on them now.
‘’This’’, says Rene, her once mousy voice now booming through the hall, ‘’is what happens to your soul every time you have sex before marriage.’’