For all my forgetfulness, I still keep a lot of vague memories from secondary school. I remember not being able to sleep the day before resumption, being locked in a suitcase first day in the hostel, how I cemented my status as a “duster”, and many other formative, often traumatic experiences.

Yesterday, for some reason, I remembered the almond tree in the school compound, peeking out from the right of the picture above.

Sometimes, I’d run out of money (out of recklessness) and not be able to afford lunch. I don’t remember if the school had food arrangements, but very likely I was too proud to eat school food at school. Boarders had a reputation to keep and I was high in the pecking order.

There was a water tank under the tree, so during class just before the break, I’d ask for permission to go wash my face or something. But my real plan was to go and eat the ripe almonds that had fallen from the tree.

When I was sure no one was watching, I’d pick up the almonds with “style”, eat them very quickly while running the tap, wash my face when it was all done, and then go back to class. I didn’t do this too often, but I won’t be surprised if someone saw me. Thankfully, they didn’t spill and my reputation stayed intact.

I don’t know why I remembered this, but it makes me smile just to imagine myself on one of these almond missions. I guess the moral lesson here is that problem get levels. Now I want an almond.