It was at the age of fifteen that I first fell in love. It was with a boy from the school. He often stood with his friends at the front entrance, with a cigarette, defying all rules and conventions. His name was Oleg, truly a beautiful boy.
But as the story of our times goes, the first love is rarely the one that is lucky, and nothing really happened with Oleg, even if in theory it could work, and I could be happy with Oleg forever after end.
The day after Oleg invited me on a date-and it was a spectacular invitation-he disappeared. Such things happen in Russia, quite often in fact. It was in 2008. I was fifteen then, Oleg was seventeen, and his dad was a vice-mayor of the town of Tula. I realise now that I have forgotten to introduce myself properly, but I will come back to it in due term.
Oleg came to my class in maths. He entered the room in the middle of the lesson and put a note on my desk. I was sitting on my own, but this was a usual occurrence for me. I wanted to be small and invisible, and chances were in my favour. No one paid attention to me, and I was left alone. A girl from a foster family like me is not a happy child, and other children avoided me.
“Meet me tomorrow at the Kolonin’s café, at seven. It is a date. Oleg.’’
I stared in surprise at the text, because surely this wasn’t happening. The teacher was already pulling the note from my hands, shouting that this was highly inappropriate. The whole class was staring at me, so I just dropped my shoulders as if in total indifference, opening a math book to avoid stares from the classroom, while repeating to myself over and over: “Tomorrow at the Kolonin’s café, at seven.’’
The class soon resumed its pace. We were learning a new formula, and I pretended to tune in, while silently repeating to myself: “Tomorrow at the Kolonin’s café, at seven.’” Oleg was the first boy I ever fancied, and I think I grinned at some point, because the teacher was standing above me, asking me to repeat what she had just said. This teacher wasn’t a very kind woman. Who would disturb a pupil after seeing what had been written to him or to her? I saw her quickly glancing at the text in the note, and so she knew precisely what I was dealing with. I was invited for my first date!
Later at home, locked in my room, I opened a cupboard and stared at my two available dresses. One was old and black, and the other was old and blue. Neither of them was suitable for a date. My only good clothes were my school trousers and a blouse, and I decided then that I had to take some initiative and dare at more chances in life. So far, it was terribly unfair as far as I was concerned, but fortune was turning in my favour!
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