The Principal's Daughter

Locked in a kiss, they seemed locked in a different dimension. Martin hurried past them on his way to the train; it was leaving in two minutes.

“Stop it, you freak!” the girl screamed in mock-indignation and jumped back bumping into Martin, almost knocking him over. His briefcase sprung open, its contents spilling pathetically all over the footpath.

“Oh sorry, Sir!” she exclaimed, instantly metamorphosing into a good girl. She promptly collected all the items from the pavement, and putting them neatly in his briefcase, handed it back with a smile.

“Not a problem,” he muttered, eyeing the duo curiously. He was in no hurry now, with his City Express already gone. Here was your typical high school couple: him – amazingly clumsy, yet inexplicably graceful in his clumsiness, and her – just pure harmony. He couldn’t help smiling at the sight of his crumpled and not-so-clean school uniform and the contrast it made with her neat attire.

There was, it came to him, timeless poetry to them.

“Not a problem, at all,” he repeated, forcing himself to give them a carefree wink, a skill, alas, long-forgotten.

“Are you sure, you’re all right, Sir?” the girl shouted after him with concern in her voice. The boy was looking on sheepishly.

On the train, he was unable to concentrate on the newspaper. The print was dancing before his eyes. There was something strangely familiar about those kids, yet he couldn’t say what it was.

“A free magazine, Sir?” a street vendor pushed a glossy thing into his hand as soon as he arrived at Central.

A casual look at the old black-and-white school photo adorning its front page triggered an instant flashback. Yes, he knew it now. The girl was the spitting image of his great grandmother as a teenager, and the clumsy boy resembled one of her classmates. Both featured in his mother’s beloved family photo.

“Mary Ann,” his mother would say, “was the loveliest and most decent lass in town, and all the local boys were crazy about her. Her father was a respected school principal. She only fell in love once and it was love for life.”

Back home, Martin walked upstairs to browse through an old family album, an urge he hadn’t experienced for years. On opening his bedroom door, the first thing he noticed was crumpled bedclothes. Only then did he recognize his son lying there fully dressed. Next to him was the girl who had inspired him that morning. Martin realized that he had almost caught them in the act.

“Oh, Dad,” his son muttered somewhat embarrassed, “meet Mary Ann, the principal’s daughter. She’s dumped her boyfriend today.”

The Principal's Daughter

Greg

Joined January 2008

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