The only class I like is chemistry. My classes vary from 10 to 15 people and everyone is about two years ahead of me. Even the dumbest people know more than me yet none of them actually do any work, especially the ones who I seem to be places next to. Basically, I have a lot of catching up to do.
On the second Friday afternoon of term, after two weeks of St Richmond College which are a blur of classes, faces, names, people and places which I forget in an instant, we are sitting on the floor of our room ‘doing prep’ which basically means Henry and Zook are watching cat videos, Jel is playing on his IPad and Brad’s downloading music while I scroll mindlessly through his newsfeed.
“Does anyone have the time?” Brad asks.
“Yeah it’s ummm quarter past eight.” I reply.
“Kay well I gotta go and see my dad before we leave.”
“Wait, where are you going?” Zook asks and they all stand up.
“Christening in the south of France.”
“And when are you coming back?”
“Cool. I gotta go so yeah, love you bro.”
Then he went into hug Jel. And it wasn’t a man-hug with handshakes and slapping each other on the back, it was a proper hug. Please bear in mind dudes in my world do not show physical affection to one another. At all.
“Yeah love you too man.”
What was this, a gay commune?
He worked his way along to me and he went in for a hug but I backed off and I must have given him the funniest look.
“What on earth are you doing?”
“How come you guys are showing so much affection for each other? It’s so…weird. And…”
I didn’t want to be beaten up.
“Were you going to call us gay?” Jel was giving me that I’ll-mash-you-up-if-you-say-the-wrong-thing look again.
“I’m just not used to it, that’s all.”
“Well you better get used to it.” then Brad put his arms around me and I thought he was going to crush me.
“Okay-I-can’t-breath-I-think-you’ve-broken-a-rib-can-you-let-go-now-please-I-don’t-like-being-touched!” I reply to him but I know he just ignores me.
Then he let me go and grabbed his laptop as he went he said:
“Love you guys.”
To which they all replied:
“Hate you too.” as he disappeared off into his room. As I said, it creeps the hell out of me.
“Ben, if you think that’s bad…” Jel mutters and Zook ruffles my hair.
“Actually. I have a plan for this evening.” Henry says, grabbing his books and textbooks which he hadn’t used at all and threw them on his bed.
Henry mouths something to Zook who nods and whispers it to Jel who also agrees.
“So Ben, how long have you been here for again?” Henry asks.
“Two and half weeks.”
“You are coming to the reels next week aren’t you?”
What was this? Dorm question time?
“Suppose. I mean I wasn’t planning on doing anyone else.”
“Hey losers, I’m going for a shower? Do you guys wanna come?” Jel strips into his boxers so I turn away but the others keep talking to him it’s totally normal which it’s not. I am going for a shower too but not with them. I like my privacy.
I go to pee and then I head downstairs for a shower. I hear voices but I presume their all just, yunno, making polite conversations between the curtains.
I go in and woah! there’s two older guys walking around stark naked. I try not to look but one of them says:
“Oh by the way, these showers are blocked.”
I look down and it is very flooded and the water is very grimy and full of hair and soap and…I don’t want to think about what else in it.
“I think it’s probably hair. But don’t check. If you think that waters bad then the drain will make you chunder.”
I have no idea what chunder means but I smile and agree anyway and I decide to head over to the other showers across the corridor.
There’s no-one in there so I strip into my underwear and it’s only when I’m in the shower I realise there is only one curtain going all the way around. I wonder where the other curtains are.
The door is thrown open and about three people come crashing in.
“Oh crap! Who’s in the shower?” Zook asks. That means the other two people are Jel and Henry.
“Oh that’s fine then.” I hear them say to each other as I turn around to turn the shower on, I hear the curtain open and when I spin back they are all standing there, showering and completely stark naked. I’m so taken aback that I want to grab the nearest anything to cover myself up and that seems to a bottle of shampoo that isn’t mine.
“What the hell are you guys doing?”
They are totally unfazed by the fact they are a bunch of teenage boys showering together which is just wrong on so many levels. So many damn levels.
“I’m trying to shower!”
“And so are we.” Henry says. “Oh and can I have my shampoo that you are covering your knob with?”
I am very reluctant to give it to him but I do and try to maintain some of my dignity as I have my shower. After about a minute I am getting sort of used to it until Henry pisses on Zook so Zook runs out the shower naked and takes Henry’s towel with him. Zook has also taken my towel and Jel’s so it means I have to run along a corridor and up so many stairs then along another corridor butt naked. I was really paranoid it was going to be like in that St Trinians movie when they film me running around and getting lost and putting it on YouTube. But as I am discovering as I sprint back to my room and hope I’m going the right way, real boarding school isn’t like that. Well at least I hope they aren’t filming me and making it viral.
I was sprinting down the wrong corridor and I open a door and almost collide with Peterson, our AHM and I am so embarrassed and I automatically put both hands on my knob.
“Benedict. Where are you going and why aren’t you wearing anything?”
“I ummm…going back to my room.”
“And why aren’t you wearing anything?”
“It’s a…ummm a long story. I am on the year 10 corridor aren’t I?”
He gestures from where he came and I charge down there into our room and after I’ve got on some boxers, I attack Zook with a pillow and then we laugh a lot about my incident with Peterson and for the first time since I’ve arrived at St Richmond College, I genuinely laugh until my ribs hurt.