“What hath he said?”
Iago replied “Faith that he did- I know not what he did.”
“With her, on her, whatever you will.”
“Lie with her! Lie on her! We say lie on her—“
Jaafar’s mind drowned out the monotonous classroom recital and turned his straight gaze three rows ahead of him. There sat Denise, in a clean white shirt tucked into her skirt. She played with the corner of the pages with one hand while she read, squeezing her pale red lips with the other. Jaafar’s gaze roamed her figure, from her arms to her lips and soft brown eyes. He imitated her action and violently squeezed his bottom lip.
“Did you hear about Denise, man?” Milo said as they sat on the concrete wall overlooking the school’s majestic and ancient building.
“What about her?” His heart monstrously shot into his rib cages, until it arrived at a harsh rough rhythm, causing his hands to shake and his mind to race.
“She’s in love with that new kid, Roland.”
“How do you know?” Jaafar replied, clenching his jaw.
“It goes around. But they’ve been talking on the internet, and after school.”
“Does he know?”
“I don’t know. Probably, but didn’t you say you liked her once?”
In the cafeteria, Jaafar ordered a sandwich and a drink and sat down with a group he didn’t like, to avoid sitting alone. While the group laughed and talked he looked around the hall. His eyes soon fell upon Denise, who was sitting with the new kid Roland. He said something and she laughed. Jaafar chewed his stale sandwich, taking deep breaths and trying to look away.
“Hey Roland!” he heard someone behind him say.
“What’s up guys?” Roland replied.
“This guy, I swear, he’s a king. Two weeks here and he has Denise on lock.” Jaafar recognised the voice as Steven’s.
Roland laughed while Jaafar clenched his teeth.
“You like her, man?” Steven said.
‘She’s nice, yeah’.’
“When you gonna seal the deal, man?”
“Seal the deal?”
“You know, when are you gonna officially ask her out?”
“Oh right, uh this weekend maybe.”
“Good luck man.”
“Crying ‘dear Cassio’ as it were; his gesture imports it” Othello said, and Jaafar was back in the classroom away from his recounting of the painful conversation that was increasingly amplified by his own overactive and envious imagination.
In this scene from Shakespeare’s Othello Iago is manipulating Cassio to extract a false confession of his affair with Desdemona, while Othello, Desdemona’s husband, hides and listens to the conversation. Iago manipulates Othello with this false confession so that he can achieve his own interests of being promoted to Othello’s military rank. Othello sees Desdemona’s handkerchief in another hand and promptly, but wrongly, believes that Desdemona has betrayed him with Cassio.
The lesson ended, the school day too. Jaafar found Jake and Milo and walked to the nearest corner shop where they bought fizzy drinks and cheap over flavoured crisps. They sat at the bus stop and waited for their bus.
“Hey guys” Jaafar heard Denise’s voice.
“Hello” Milo and Jake replied.
“Nothing much, my friends ditched me today, can I hang out with you guys?”
“Of course” Jake said, but after his bus arrived said “But you’ll have to hang out with Jaff, that’s our bus.”
“Yeah, have fun, bye” Milo said after chuckling.
Jake said “See you later Denise and Jaff call me when you get home about tomorrow yeah?”
Jaafar and Denise were alone.
“So what’s up, we haven’t talked in awhile” Denise said.
“Yeah I know, I’m always on line but you don’t talk. Well, why don’t you?”
“I don’t know”
“Is there something wrong?” Denise said, sliding closer to Jaafar.
“You seem upset. Come on tell me.” She took Jaafar’s can out of his hand and sipped. “Is it a girl?”
Jaafar forced a laugh “No no I’m fine. What about you? You got a crush on anyone?”
Denise giggled, “Why you asking?”
“You can keep a secret right?”
“Of course.” Jaafar smiled while his eyes glared.
“I have a little crush on the new kid.”
“Nothing, I heard him talking about you with Steven today.”
“Yeah? What did he say?”
“He just implied he finds you attractive and…”
“He wants to take you to a party and, like he said, ‘seal the deal’.”
“Seal the deal, it’s slang for-“
“I think so,” Jaafar replied looking away, his eyes in ecstasy as he planted false information.
“You’ve liked her for three months, you deserve this,” he justified to himself as a slight guilty conscience emerged.
“You okay?” he said.
“Yeah I’m fine.”
“Your eyes are watering up.”
“Do you think that’s all he thinks of me?” she said quickly wiping her eyes.
“I don’t know, but probably. There are a lot of people like that. Who play with people just for their own interests.”