Different Somehow

He’d been told that they were more tactile than he was used to. They liked to touch each other and were freer with their bodies, invading each other’s personal space, or obliterating the concept of personal space altogether. There were stories of what they got up to at school, being all over each other, arms around waists, fingers in hair, grooming like certain primates do.

Things were different in his day, of course. It sounded absurd to think of it being his day back in the day, as his day wasn’t all that long ago, and how much could things really change between then and now, but they were different. Quite different. He kept hearing it. And he had no reason to disbelieve what he heard.

None of it really interested him, at first. There was cyberbullying and that seemed like it was a massive beat-up. Except a mate of his was a school teacher and he said it was a huge problem from top to bottom of every school. They touch each other when they’re in close range and they’re nasty when contact is virtual. It seemed weird. He didn’t get it. He also didn’t really care.

It wasn’t just the girls who might be given a bunch of flowers on their birthday now. Boys would get flowers too, and they would kiss their female friends goodbye and hello and just for no reason at all. It didn’t make sense. It was as if all inhibitions had been cast off and that must mean everyone would be happier and more well-adjusted and all those things teachers say, but if things of that sort had changed so much in a few short years he wondered what else had changed and it bothered him.

It bothered him because there was one of them, right now, working under him. He said “working under me” to himself, because it amused him to be a bit cheeky. The sort of joke you have to make in your head. And yes, she was good looking, with blonde short hair and a Superman T-shirt, and teaching him about how the section he ran might be run better. She was sitting on his desk, her legs dangling, the thongs on each foot fiddling with each other as she thought about what to say next.

Her vocabulary was perfectly good, which was what he looked for, and she seemed to lack inhibition in any form. This ought not be confused with arrogance or bossiness or conceit. She was not loud. It had just never occurred to her to be nervous or self-effacing.

And he liked that. He overcame his fear, because that’s what it was: it bothered him that much. She would be a valuable member of his team.

“It’ll be fun to work under you,” she said with a wink, and he thought so too.

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Published in: on September 19, 2016 at 8:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

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