I had been to a convent all girls school till I was 14 after which I was put in a co-ed. And for the first time in my life, I talked and sat with boys around me.
So I was this awkward, scared girl in the threshold of adolescence who even liked boys as well as hated them.
Cut to a few months into the school and I went to washroom in the middle of the on going class. I reached the washroom to find myself in period and a big blotch of stain on my underwear.
Thanks to the cream colored skirt, the blood soon had made its way to my skirt as well as I examined it. The blood spread into the skirt and I stood there not moving an inch.
Was this a big problem for a 14 year old? Not of this generation. But this was back in 2001 and I was in panic. In the previous school I just had to walk to the office and ask for the pad. Since everyone were female I never faced any problem. But now? I couldn't do that.
I stayed inside the washroom for a good 5 minutes wondering what to do. I peeped outside in the hope to find some girl from whom I could ask a pad then maybe an extra pair of skirt from the school office. Or maybe ask the office lady to call my mom.
I was standing there for more than 10 minutes now and I knew the class teacher would get annoyed at a student missing out a class for so long.
The washroom was in this small alley where there was a girls washroom on one side and the boys one in the other.
A few agonizing minutes pass by and I hear the period bell ring. Aah what a pun.
There was a hustle but no kids coming near the washroom.
How come no one wants to pee? I wondered. It's winter! Aren't you all drinking water? I wanted to shout.
Just then a classmate of mine came singing into the alley. He shook a leg along the way assuming no one saw him.
He looked at me and paused. I hid behind the door.
“What happened?” He asked.
"Can you call some girl? I muttered after he asked me for the third time.
“Everyone is in the science lab. I can't go in because I didn't do the homework. You did yours?” He asked.
Dammit! I didn't do the homework plus I was bleeding here without support. How screwed can I get?
“No. But I can handle a scolding. But right now I want you to call some girl.”
“What is it? Can't you tell me? Come out.”
“I can't. I.... Please.” For a convent girl who promised to stay away from boys this was way out of line.
“Oh!” He understood. “You need that?”
“That….” He said rolling his eyes. As if that was a hint.
“Yes.” I said thinking he meant what I thought he meant.
“Okay I have one.”
I looked at him puzzled. Didn't my mom tell me only women get period? Or did I assume that? I wondered. It had been just a few months since I had started getting my periods.
He took out a safety pin and gave it to me.
“What do I do with this?” I asked.
Now he looked at me puzzled. “Pin this to the that area.”
Can we do that? My mind asked me. I stood there without a reaction. I didn't know how to react.
“What?” I asked bewildered.
“Your skirt tore right?” Aah! The mystery solved. My mind and my thumping heart finally rested.
“No!” I said. “You call a safety pin ‘that’?”
“I didn't know how to say without you being embarrassed….”
“I don't need a safety pin. Please call some girl. I can't stand here any longer.”
This time his eyes went wide.
“Oh! Oh! Now I get it. Oh this is more embarrassing. I will call someone.” He turned around and paused. He turned back to me. “But I can't go in the lab. You know...”
“What do I do?” I almost went into a cry mode.
“Wait. Don't worry I have an idea.”
He hurried off assuring he will be back soon.
He went to the office and asked for a band-aid.
The no smiling office lady gave him the first aid box and went back into writing something in the register.
He quietly took out a pad and along with a band aid and gave the box back.
He came running towards me in less than two minutes.
“Here.” He said handing me the supposed bomb with trembling hands.
“Why are you shaking?” I asked.
“I have never held that before. Just seen in ads.”
“I have never taken it from a boy too.” I said.
He smiled and I thanked him. I was about to go inside when he stopped me.
“Wait. Take this.” He said and gave me his sweater. “This is for that...” He trailed off. He and his ‘that’!
“Thanks.” I said wondering how it didn't strike me.
I went in and did the needful. Came out to see him standing near the alley.
“I promise I will not tell this to anyone.” He said.
“Thank you.” I said and started walking. He accompanied me but stopped abruptly after a few minutes.
“What happened?” I asked. “The homework check would have been complete by now. We can quietly go in.”
“In all this I forgot I wanted to go to the washroom.”
I looked at him run and had a hearty laugh.
What my friend did that day is inspiring for all the boys and girls out there. He was a gentleman for a girl who was embarrassed.
I hope we all can reach our children that there is no shame in such natural things and we might have more boys like my friend here.