Kilburn Poly’s Black Jack Punishment!
I got in! I was now a college student and not with the weirdos in 6th Form.
Our first day was super cool. we sat in pairs and listened to the introductions, what to expect and what the lectures… not teachers but lectures expected of us. I couldn’t contain my excitement it was so surreal. I sat next to this other black girl, we shared a joke and that was it, I knew we would be friends.
Practical lessons were a breeze, I felt at times I could teach them a thing or two!
I looked forward to our breaks as we always headed down to the cafeteria. It buzzed with an atmosphere of fun and all the stresses of theory lessons were discarded there. Over to the side was a table that was surrounded by some guys shouting and laughing, myself and my new friend Bernel were intrigued and peaked over, and to my delight they were playing a card game, yes my beloved Black Jack. Anyone could join in after someone was knocked out. I couldn’t resist, the addiction to this game was real. Bernel was a real goody two shoes, she was mad but not as mad as me, she knew when to quit and head to lessons when our breaks were over.
Our college was a short bus ride away from Brent Cross Shopping Centre, so when the cafeteria wasn’t buzzing, Bernel and I took a trip for one thing only… an Armandine! A sort of Danish pastry. It was simply out of this world delicious, especially when the attendants warmed it for us. Our lunchbreak was an hour, it took us 20mins each way to travel to Brent Cross, so we literally had to run in and run out to get back for afternoon lectures or practical’s.
I was getting distracted, Bernel tried her best to get me to not skive of classes but I was getting attention, the boys in the cafeteria liked my company and I liked theirs. A couple of times my eyes would meet with this guy Garys. I had a feeling he wanted to ask me out. I liked that feeling,somebody wanted me to be their girl, who would want to go to class??
I attended enough to know and understand the topics. The voices of my teachers haunted me in my head, ‘You won’t amount to nothing,’… I had to beat the feeling that they might be right. For crying out loud, I chose to do German at school as French seemed to have too much rules on how to speak to whom. German to me was like broken English, the translation was easier. Why didn’t someone tell me that in the catering industry French is what is widely used. I also told my maths teacher his lesson was a waste of time as I wouldn’t go into a shop and ask for two squared root of apples please! So I played black jack instead…. Huge mistake, weighing, measuring, conversion tables, degrees in Celsius and Fahrenheits, portion control, costing, altering ingredients for different sizes and numbers… maths maths maths. It was a painful realisation, so knowing I had a stress release via the cafeteria was a welcome. It seemed this was all a punishment for playing Black Jack in maths lessons, it haunted me. Now it seemed it was my comfort zone in college but I had no idea how to break it.
Gary asked me out, we were an item but we didn’t actually go anywhere except to his house when no one was home, to his bedroom, well that’s where he hung out with his friends so he said. Then we’d snuggle up, talk, giggle then the kiss… the kiss that spoke a thousand words, nice words and I was slipping into my fantasy world blocking out the voices that shouted NO, that’s dirty, don’t let him touch you, its wrong. Well I just wanted it to be right for once, to be clean and ok. I struggled, Gary’s’ mouth over mine. The inside of me shook in panic as flashbacks of similar touches done by the wrong people at a wrong age lit in my mind.
“Stop Gary I heard something, someone’s downstairs” He shot up to check and as he did I jumped up and fixed my clothes. By the time he turned around I was dressed properly with shoes on. Well that relationship lasted two weeks, I let him get intimate, then I’d hate myself and freeze. What can I say? we drifted, I stopped being like a ‘girlfriend’ and just played friend! he got the message.
A few weeks later I went to a house party with my sister. There I was dancing to some Rare-Groove and Studio One music, the vibes was nice. late hours into the morning the DJ start to play Lovers Rock and this guy touches my arm to dance. off course I felt sweet, my sister being ten years older than me, had friends that were more mature. I started to prefer older guys. Rodney was his name, we slow danced till the pace looked like we weren’t moving. A dance that told me ‘he’s gonna ask for my number.’ So said so done. Yes off course I gave it to him.
Rodney and I dated for a couple weeks, well going with a guy to me was called dating, we didn’t go anywhere on dates, it was always a case of sneaking him into my house when everyone was out. It was over three weeks and I was getting board, I was with him far too long.
It came time for me to ditch him but he wasn’t like the others, he wouldn’t take no for an answer. I tried everything, said mean things to put him off me but he was hooked and became like a stalker. Couldn’t go for help as he was a secret. I mean how could I tell my friends I was going out and sleeping with some guy eight years older than me, It just wasn’t the look. He came around my house. I looked through the spy hole and refused to let him in but he started to create a scene outside and wouldn’t go away, I had no choice but to open my door.
He looked distressed, pleading with me not to break up with him, the more he pleaded the more he disgusted me, this big grown man whimpering like a wounded dog. He then went too far, he said he’d kill himself and he would refuse to leave by the time my mum got home from work… My Mum… Him… no way in hell. I was fuming, threaten me in my own house? Time was ticking and I needed him out. Told him straight, he lost me for good with this little stunt and if my mum came home and saw him there I would swear he forced his way in and held me hostage. I also told him if he felt he needed to kill himself, go right ahead as I couldn’t care less, all he did by coming to my house was make me lose respect and hate him. It actually worked, he left. I shut the door hard behind him and breathed. Never again was I to let anyone know where I lived. First year exams were approaching and I couldn’t let men or black jack stop me from proving my teachers wrong. I was going to do this… This was war.