Written by: Imbesat Z. Meer
Inshirah watched as twice Mustafa passed by his chair (which were designated by role number) and had to finally ask the bored invigilator for assistance. She winced as he then tripped his way into the chair and quickly righted himself, yelping in pain when he banged his knee against the mucus-coloured table.
She could see him swallowing thickly, his Adam’s apple bobbing up and down, as he alternated between scratching the green table top, tapping his black crescent nails against the hard surface, and wiping his hands on his scruffy pants. Green veins were popping out over pale sweaty skin.
With twenty minutes still left before the start of the paper, Inshirah was getting very irritated with Mustafa’s constant fidgeting. He could hardly sit still. You’d think someone had put itching powder in his underwear. He tapped his feet against the leg of his chair and the click as he bit his nails to the quick, was like a nail being hammered into her brain. Tick, tick, tick. She winced each time she heard the snap.
She was not the only one who was annoyed by Mustafa’s pre-exam jitters. Her exasperation at his annoying actions had given her a headache. His leg was almost a blur as it vibrated in time with his nails tapping against the table, as his eyes darted about the room and he tugged at his askew tie.
With five minutes left till 9, everyone was openly glaring at Mustafa including the not-so-bored-now-as-he-was-angry invigilator, because Mustafa had taken to smacking and licking his lips. He’d lick them, and then smack them, and then grind his teeth, all the while clicking tapping his nails aginst the table top and kicking his table leg. Lick, smack, grrrrrinnddd, click click, tap tap, and repeat.
When the clock struck 9, Inshirah was least surprised that Mustafa made a strangled gurgle right before he slithered like boneless mass onto the floor, a limp body passed out due to stress.