Feb 11, 2009

The Singleton Set

The freshman year had brought many joys in my life, loss of virginity not being one of them. Yes I was 18 and still a virgin. That was a black mark on my otherwise popular life in college. I solved a particularly hard B-8 problem in the first month in the college and had the intellectual alpha male image but girls had the effect of a big wide clamp on my mouth. I have always thought that girls are the best aphrodisiac but also the best paralysers.

I was having lunch at johnny's with mates from the computers Olympiad team. A gaggle of football jocks entered with one and in certain cases two admiring nymphs in their arms. I felt the same old feeling of impotent rage when I saw those beauties getting wasted on these guys for whom the greatest intellectual feat would be to solve a jigsaw puzzle.

Today there was a couples party at "The Catatonia". I was not invited for obvious reasons. "Asshole" Arnie managed to get invited at the last moment by luring a school girl into his trap. He actually bribed her with a large pack of Hershey's bars.

Today she looked at me in the class. I found out her name by asking Arnie the asshole...Larissa.

She had been stuck on a particularly arcane term in mathematics which the the lecturer had asked her to humiliate her because she was inspecting her nails with more interest than the lecturer who had worn a new suit. I whispered the answer...singleton set... so deftly, CIA would have been proud of me. At least I was so proud of my achievement I couldn't suppress an ecstatic smile which looked pretty demented and of course very noticeable to the lecturer. She blurted out the answer and the lecturer gave me a dirty look that said he plans to dance on my grave before the next academic session.

She gave me a brilliant 7.34 inch smile before going away with a hockey jock. I stood rooted to the spot till my mates practically carried me to the mess.

I met her again in the chemistry lab. This time she came to me to ask me something about carbonic acid, not that I heard it, Its just that I felt something stinging my ungloved hand and later investigation revealed It was H2CO3.

Arnie the asshole told me she is a heir to a great hotel chain, lives in the custody of her uncle and aunt, will get the money only when she gets married to a suitably intelligent boy that her professor uncle approves(The hockey jock was found badmouthing her as a slut in the late hours at johnny's bar).

She has asked me out! God! is this happening or Am I programming? I have borrowed a suit from Arnie and no! he is not an asshole. Its a damn classy joint we're going to. She met me in the gym where she was doing God knows what. If you ask me she doesn't need to do any gymming with that body of hers. Not that I am a pro at gymming, its just that Arnie the erstwhile asshole dragged me there to watch his Adonis like six packs move like fish in water while he did his crunches.
I found her waiting at the table. Isn't that suppose to be a male territory..waiting? Anyways I was shivering like a rag doll on live wire. She gave that thousand watt smile of hers and I was blinded by the flash. Shit I could see my reflection on her perfect white, shiny teeth. She was talking about her interests. Yeah, Arnie said this is when I should listen to her with wide eyes to appear...what? yeah sensitive. I didn't need to act. I was rapt by default.

I didn't talk much about myself, not that I was in a state to. Then we took a walk to her uncle's house which was in the college premises because he was a professor in here. When we reached the door, I knew I don't have it me to do what Arnie had told me to do. The asshole didn't tell me it will be this difficult just to move a muscle. Then I felt a softness on my throat, by the time I realized it was her hand my lips had been enveloped by her soft wet mouth. I closed my eyes and let her explore. After a very short eternity of time, the pressure was released and she looked dreamily into my eyes. "See you tomorrow in your room."

She lay breathing heavily beside me. Arnie the asshole had lately started grumbling about the room always being occupied by two noisy monsters. She said as I kept eating her face with my eyes "Uncle Harry wants to meet you."

Wow! Uncle Harry is looking at me as a potential husband for Larissa! Gawd! stone the crows!

I entered the house diffidently. No company interviews had scared me as much as this. I had actually sat in the library to learn quotes and jokes to make my conversation witty and interesting. I had browsed the mall for the best shampoo and deodorant. I was going to meet moneyed people after all. I rang the bell. It took about 5 minutes for Larissa to open the door. She must have been busy in make-up. Uncle Harry sat on the sofa in front of the T.V. She introduced me to him. 'Uncle, this is Mustafa, Mustafa, uncle Harry'. He gave me an absent minded smile and a nod acknowledging my presence. It was a bit of a bummer if you ask me. I had thought of him as a grand, incisive, terrifying old man. I had been battle ready and all I found there was a common old man. Anyways it was time to meet auntie Ruth. 'Nice to meet you, young man' she said as i shook hands with her. Young man, huh! I could do with some respect for my new french beard.

The dinner was an elaborate four course affair. Anybody who cooks that much food for three people had to be stinking rich. Am I going to get married the most beautiful and one of the richest girl in this city? Yes...If I do this dinner good. As was preparing to eat my soup auntie Ruth interjected with the severity of a viper trodden upon "Mustafa, we have a tradition of saying grace before starting any meal". Flustered I put my spoon down and lip-synced with Larissa.

The soup course went without any further casualties. Uncle Harry kept looking furtively at me. Should I win him over with my sparkling newly acquired wit? Or does auntie Ruth wears the pants in this family?

Uncle Harry spoke up for the first time in the whole evening. 'Darling, Mustafa is a computer genius I'm told, he has won the computer Olympiad gold medal recently'.

An icy cold "congratulation" followed which sounded more like "strangulation". 'So mustafa do you plan to become a computer professional in future?'

Here it starts, I started answering 'yes ma'am there's a huge demand of good computer professionals all over the...'
'but that's simply not possible! Larissa's business will need a good, sharp mind to manage it. Her future husband will have to manage it' interjected the awful aunt.
'But darling why shouldn't he pursue his own career? And we have you to manage the whole business and I too.'
'You keep out out of this Harry, This is my sister's company and it will not let it go to waste because of your sentimentality. You have never been any help to me in managing the business, though that was what my father had in mind when he agreed for our marriage. Now my sister's daughter is ready for marriage and I will have to think about her future also. '
What? is that what she is looking for? she needs a manager for her business? OK don't panic, her concerns are right in their place. I'm sure we can sort it out like civilized, reasonable people.
'Do you have any offers Mustafa?' The aggressive interlocutor demanded.
Yes ma'am, I have one from IBM, I'll be posted in Egypt as a Programme developer.
'Egypt? we don't have any hotels there." Am I supposed to care?
'Where do you reside Mustafa?'
"Reside"! The hoity-toity bitch. 'I live with my parents in Florida'.
'Hmm with your parents. Would you consider living with us? here?'
'Uh...I will have have to think about it ma'am'. Why wasn't Larissa saying anything?
'Auntie is right Mustafa, we can be a lot happier here with everything we would like to ever have.' she spoke for the first time.
Ah...so this is what it is.
'And what about my freedom?' I was hurt and didn't care if this offended them or not.
'Well, love sets you free' said The Bitch Woman.
'But it doesn't let you go anywhere.' I thought bitterly.
The dinner was over as far as I was concerned.

Uncle Harry offered me some dessert, I promptly refused. I saw the lines of emotional fatigue on his face. Now I understood why that man looked so haggard and dejected. Do I really want to get into this? I will have to think. Second thoughts are wiser after all.

The door closed behind me. Larissa was waving at me from her room upstairs. I turned and caught her pleading to me with her eyes.

I passed the math department garden full with freshmen preparing for the coming exams. One bespectacled guy with pimple marked face murmured as he plodded through a dangerous looking math book. 'Singleton set is a non empty set that contains only one element.'

'Yeah, single but not empty' I felt light. Arnie my good friend, my best buddy must be waiting for me. Lets have a proper hog dinner tonight. Amen.