To read part 1, click on the following link: https://creativewritersleague.co.ke/the-love-laboratory-part-i/
The antics began. First, there was that boy who at first glance we thought he had bought a blouse instead of a shirt by mistake. We inquired. He said it was a gift from his girlfriend. Wow! And he really loved it. He would wear it twice a week. I thought that was weird. But love has lots of surprises too. He never graduated with us. He left in the first year. The class organized a kind of outing to the hadeeqa so guys could get to acquit to each other. I skipped that one as I had some errands to do but I heard it turned out good.
The love lab has some of the courageous ladies around. The first group is the go-getters. They are so confident in their skins that they make the first move. It happened to a friend. The lady came and told him that she liked him so much. He was tall and handsome so he stood out of the crowd. From then henceforth the lady would, first thing in the morning, pass by where we were and call him aside, greet him and just tell him she was checking on him. At first, the guy was confused. Should he get in or not and why him?! And they would remain best of friends throughout their lives on the campus though not love birds. At times, the girl would bring him gifts when we resumed after the holidays.
The other technique used as the Professors of love affairs (POLAs) explained was the Zoning in. It would be used by a shy lady who could not muster enough courage to tell a boy that she gets goosebumps upon seeing him. The lady could come and just greet the guy and maybe ask for some explanation regarding a concept. If done consistently, the POLA explained the boy would also become interested in the lady. People become interested in those who show interest in them. People like people who like them.
The Passing glance was for the meekest ladies. This involved a lady looking at a guy maybe during a lecture. When the guy feels the weight of the stare would turn to look at the lady only for the lady to look in front and concentrate on the projected slides. Done repeatedly, it would pass the obvious message that she had some interest in the boy. The boy, excited, would make a move and behold! you had a couple. Ladies had an arsenal of techniques to rope boys in. It was just a matter of time. Boys would always be outwitted.
In the Faculty of love, couples can spend quite a considerable time together swapping stories. A time they could get to the faculty earlier before the lectures started to get in touch and remain after the lectures only to be requested to leave by the soldiers who would want to close the Faculty’s gates in the evening. The Faculty felt like a social club where if you were bored could go to socialize. You had to be an expert at small talk. The likes of ` If I didn’t have you, life would be blue; I would be a candle without a wick, a Watson without a Crick (the duo who discovered DNA). I’d be an atom without a bomb. Ever since I met you, you turned my world around. You supported all my dreams and hopes. You’re like uranium-235 and I’m uranium-238, almost inseparable isotopes. I couldn’t have imagined how good my life would get from the moment that I met you. If I didn’t have you, life would be dreary, I’d be string theory without any string. I’d be binary code without a one. A cathode-ray tube without an electron gun. You are my best friend and my lover. We’re like changing electric and magnetic fields. You can’t have one without the other.’ Please don’t use these vibes, they are so convoluted.
That was a staggeringly huge amount of time dedicated to small talk and sweet nothings given one wouldn’t have spent a minute in the library. Academic accidents were definitely bound to occur as the bulk of work increased. One of the couples would fail and repeat a class splitting the couple. Then there was ‘tawaf’ where couples go round the Times Square-the square in the middle of the faculty-along the corridors conversing. But unlike the real tawaf, they may go in a clockwise direction and not necessarily seven times.
Sometimes we had guests. They mostly came from the Arabic institute. They would find their way and snoop around. A few would get lucky and land a catch only to get into somebody’s territory. Depending on the country from which he was coming from, guys would convene for a diplomatic settlement. Once it happened from a guy from my country. We told the guy to back off. This was our territory and we were the ones who call the shots.
The lab love had the highest number of smokers compared to other faculties. Cigarettes could exchange hands when guys were playing pool table. It was ironic given that we were the most knowledgeable guys when it comes to the dangers of smoking. The pool was situated beside the faculty building on your way to the cafeteria. By the way, the prices at the cafeteria were different-higher- from other cafeterias in the campus. The general assumption was anybody getting into the system had deep pockets. At one time students boycotted going to the cafeteria. It was the most active political step ever taken during our time. Though the boycott was coordinated well, the cafeteria management stood by its practice and couldn’t give an inch. The boycott was called off.
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