I can’t believe I haven’t told you this story yet!
It encapsulates my sense of humour in such a fine way… The sun shining on the prettiest flowers couldn’t make a bigger impact. In fact, maybe photosynthesis should now occur as the result of plants absorbing my radiant humour instead of UV light. Of course I’m being obnoxious. I’m aware of that fact. But I so enjoyed the event about which I’m going to tell you that my obnoxiousness can be overlooked for now.
Near the end of last term (Wednesday is the end of this term so this was a while ago), my school was very busy. Our school was in the production stage of the movie the drama department were making, auditions for a massively awesome Battle of the Bands were being held and all the teachers were fretting over report comments; however this story only concerns those of us involved in the first and second events.
There are rumours that the school is haunted. There is a painting of a little girl holding a cat that used to hang in the hallway which was moved to the Geography classroom on account of its acclaimed “scary eyes”. Apparently, they do a Mona Lisa and follow you wherever you go. They might do that; I’m not an art expert, but I seriously doubt they do that because the girl in the painting now haunts the halls. I’ve walked past that painting at least seven-hundred times and all I ever see is a little girl holding a tabby kitten, while everyone else kind of speeds along, afraid to be “followed by her eyes” and haunted themselves.
There are also rumours of a ghost that plays piano in the chapel after hours and of the French classroom accommodating a vengeful alumni who used to have a swing in there (really, a swing in a classroom?) and doors that miraculously open and close by themselves do freak me out time to time but I’m not falling for any of the paranoid poltergeist stuff. I don’t believe in ghosts– or at least, if they are around, I believe they have much better things to do than to freak out the living. Like, attending once-in-a-lifetime Broadway shows, for example, and watching attractive individuals shower (the teenage girl in me has to shine through occasionally).
Anyway, I’m losing the plot here.
Because the school was so busy, many girls stayed late– until nine sometimes several nights of the week and because of this, many of them started claiming they’d seen spooky beings moping about while they were moping about. I teased them repeatedly. They insisted what they’d seen was legitimate and that I was going to be cursed for being a non-believer etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
So when the opportunity arose for me to teach them a lesson, I grabbed it greedily by the ankles and exploited everything it had to offer:
I was at school late one evening for our band’s audition– we performed well but didn’t go through because the standard is so freaking high even my sense of humour wouldn’t have gone through. The final bands were amazing, just saying– and by the time I started packing up it was past six– prime ghost time! Apparently. While I was walking to get my bag, I noticed (we’ll call her Bethany) Bethany’s bags in the corner, meaning she was still here for the movie’s set construction along with a whole bunch of other people who had tried cursing me that week. Her pencil-case lay on the floor a little away and I had a lightbulb moment. (The kind from Despicable Me- Liiiightbuuuulb!)
I really did think about doing what I did before I did it. I stood there for minutes on end, weighing up all the pros and cons of my actions but eventually the phantom in me triumphed. Its logic was: You can’t not do it. It’s so perfect that it’s a crime if you don’t do it. So I dug through Beth’s bag for an exam pad and grabbed a blue marker out the pencil-case. Beth’s a really good friend of mine so I figured she wouldn’t call the police or anything. And it wasn’t like I was threatening her… This was a little month-early April Fools prank. That’s all.
I thought about how I would write the note and eventually decided to summon my long-forgotten Cursive skills. Halfway through, though, I realised my handwriting is quite distinct so I panicked and changed to print for about three letters before changing my mind again and going back to Cursive.
Then I got a message from my mom saying she was there to pick me up so I threw the pen back in the case and carefully balanced my note on Beth’s bag before grabbing my own and leaving. All the note read was: Do you believe in ghosts? The “gho” were my little letters of handwriting hiccup but it just made the note look more freaky so I didn’t change it.
Hours later, I’d forgotten all about my little bit of cheeky fun. I only remembered when I saw the statuses:
“Guys, that note was freaky!”
“I’m sure the note was a joke…”
“Sleeping in my parents’ bed tonight! So scared.”
I could not contain my hysteria. I lay in bed and laughed myself to sleep but not before I told my parents of my joke, received a lecture about making sure I didn’t bully anyone, and resisted the agonising temptation of asking Beth and the other girls what the story was about. I wondered if that was what thieves feel like when they see a news story of the robbery they committed. In less extremes, obviously, but in essence, the same thing.
I slept easy that night knowing for sure the only ghost around was wearing blue teddy bear pyjamas and had a sinus infection.
I arrived at school the next morning to find a crowd. Initially, I was befuddled but then I saw several girls gawking at the note. One girl even started analysing the handwriting!
“They made it look all old in Cursive. But look, they lost it here…” They said, pointing to my hiccup.
“It was so weird,” a girl said. “We were talking about ghosts and everything while we were walking up, and then we saw this note. It’s just too freaky.”
Oh it was the most painful thing holding back my pride at what I had achieved– I’d made even some matrics feel worried. All I wanted to do was yell, “It was me! I’m the ghost! I had hot chocolate and read Seventeen magazine before bed last night– are you terrified yet?” But I had to let them suffer a little longer so I pretended to be concerned, rehearsed my Oscars acceptance speech (because seriously, my acting was sublime) and debated sending more letters. Which I did.
I wrote another saying, “You really shouldn’t” and slipped it in my Biology file before the lesson so I could slip it in Beth’s bag afterwards. It was break so in my mind I had a plenty of time.
I waited until I was almost the last person out the classroom. Thankfully this isn’t an unusual occurrence so I wouldn’t have looked suspicious; due to my embarrassing clumsiness, I’m often one of the last people out the room because I always find a different way of running into the desk and falling out of my chair. I swear the teachers think I’m some sort of drunkard. In my defence, the desks are trapezium-shaped which makes it extra easy to walk into their pointy corners, crippling myself.
After the lesson, as planned, Beth’s bag was still on the shelf and so I slipped the note into her Afrikaans book because I knew it was her next lesson. With a smirk, I spun on my heels and went to enjoy break.
Then disaster struck.
As I looked over the balcony, I saw Beth standing in the bag area, sliding her own bag off her shoulder. I froze. Whose bag had I haunted then? I still don’t know whose, but I do hope it was someone about to make a really bad decision and then they saw my “You really shouldn’t” note and stopped. At least that way my note would have been somewhat helpful and not just a stupid failed prank.
I took my gargantuan mistake as a sign and as I passed Beth on our way to our sitting spot, I said, “What lesson is it after break?”
“Whatever you have for Green,” she replied. I actually have Geography as my Green subject– the same Geography in which the spooky cat girl painting resides.
“Thanks.” I smiled and began walking faster. I waved my hand nonchalantly. “Oh, and I’m the ghost.”
She was a bit confused at first and then she started swinging her lunchbox at me like a deranged gorilla and I ran in fear of losing a limb. “How did you know we were talking about ghosts?”
I replied that it was all they’d been talking about for the past two weeks so naturally, I guessed and then prayed and been right. In actual fact, I hadn’t even thought about whether they’d be talking about ghosts or bright yellow ferrets in bikinis. I’d just wanted a laugh and I laughed plenty that day.
I probably blew the story out of proportion with all my obnoxiousness and excitement, but I must say I had fun doing it, telling it and reading over it and I guess that’s all that really matters.
And the fact that no-one believes in ghosts anymore.
“There’s something liberating about not pretending. Dare to embarrass yourself. Risk.” – Drew Barrymore