Oranges & The Sparkling White Wall



At boarding school, each night before bed we were given supper.

From Monday to Saturday supper was usually a baked treat – a sausage roll, a cookie or slice of cake.

On Sunday’s we were given a portion of fruit.

Everyone looked forward to this nightly treat, even if it was a piece of fruit.

One Sunday afternoon while eating dinner in the cafeteria, my roommates and I planned the supper heist.

That weekend twenty girls from our dorm had gone home on weekend leave.

The kitchen staff who prepared the supper always supplied the usual sixty portions per dorm.

We thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to gain extra supper, without anyone noticing.

Once we had finished dinner we nervously set our plan in action.

I walked over to Jackie’s table whose responsibility it was to collect that nights supper, and smalltalked with her keeping her distracted.

Merry casually walked into the kitchen, signed for the supper, picked up the supper tray and walked out the backdoor.

As soon as I saw Charlie and Lisa leaving the cafeteria, I excused myself from Jackie’s table and hurried after them.

We ran to the grandstand behind the cafeteria to meet Merry with the supper tray.

We counted the supper – sixty oranges.

As we named each girl on weekend leave, we removed an orange from the supper tray until we had twenty oranges in a separate pile.

We then divided the twenty oranges between Charlie, Lisa and myself, stuffing them into our uniform pockets.

In our planning we had forgotten about how we would get the oranges back to the dorm unnoticed.

We walked back to our dorm with pockets full trying to act nonchalant.

Merry dropped the supper tray off in our dorm parents flat, while Charie, Lisa and I ran to our room desperate to hide our stash.

By the time Merry joined us in our room, we had hidden all twenty oranges in the space behind our bunk drawers.

We felt quite chuffed with ourselves for our effort.

Later that evening while doing her usual check before supper, our dorm parent walked into our room and asked why it smelt like oranges.

We vehemently denied the smell of oranges in our room.

But then she asked why Merry had collected supper from the kitchen when it wasn’t her duty, why twenty oranges were missing from the supper tray, and why our room smelt like oranges.

Before we could offer excuses,  she wished us a good night and left our room, leaving us in a quandary.

After much discussion we took the twenty oranges up to our dorm parents flat and confessed everything.

Every day after school my roommates and I met the maintenance supervisor at the long white wall that stretched from block the science block to the maths block.

It took us three weeks to scrub every white brick with a toothbrush until the whole wall was sparkling white.

Now, whenever I pass my old high school and see that white wall I am reminded of my crime and punishment, and the twenty oranges.




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