"NO one is allowed to go out in jeans because we will have sundown worship at the lawn after dinner," The booming voice of our octogenarian dean from the door of the dormitory we were staying way back in college made us freeze in the hallway.
"Oh shucks!" I mumbled under my breath. I and my two roommates Lea and Phoebe were already clad in jeans because we had planned to munch on stalks of sugarcanes at the plantation about half a kilometer from the dormitory.
Our dean, whom we all call Mommy, has been famous for her ever-ready stick for beatingany errant dorm occupant and her sharp tongue, two factors which we all concluded long ago why she remained unmarried after all these years.
To be summoned to the dean's quarters at any time of any day never failed to stop any one of the 300 dormitory occupants from quivering with fear.
Time and again I had been at the receiving end of her sharp tongue for failing to join the morning worship which is at the worship hall every 5:30 in the morning (hello, take note 5:30 a.m. is the peak time when I'm in dreamland because I'm never a morning person).
We decided to go out in our jeans anyway but stopped when we saw the dean's stooping figure with the wig covering her head blocking the dorm entrance with her stick. We were back to our room at the second floor in a flash. We were angry because the dean foiled our plans but as we sat scowling in our respective beds, the prospects of munching on juicy stalks of sugarcane getting dimmer when a brilliant idea flashed in my mind.
I eagerly told my two roommates about how we could still go on with our plan, and albeit hesitant at first, they were carried away by my confidence and convincing power. Taking off our jeans, the three of us put on knee-length skirts and went out of our room but instead of going straight to the door, we went to the worship hall and hurled our jeans down to the clotheslines below.
Wearing innocent faces, we went past Mommy's stick at the door and bit back our laughter as she nodded in approval at our attire. Somehow I just couldn't imagine going into the thick sugarcane fields wearing skirts.
We immediately went straight to the back of the dorm and retrieved our jeans from the ground. Laughing and congratulating ourselves for putting one on our ever-wise dean, we put on our jeans, hang our skirts on the clotheslines and headed towards the sugarcane fields, confident that our dean will never found out our secret.
We carried our satisfied grins in our faces to dreamland but little did we know what the next day had in store for us. At exactly 5 a.m., we were awakened by a loud banging on the door. Even in its sleep-befuddled state, my mind told me it was the unmistakable banging of a stick on the door.
Stick! Who else owns a stick in the dorm but the dean! I bolted up from my bed and was in time to see my two roommates doing the same.
Gathering all my guts and trying to control the shivering fear in me, I pulled open the door and came face to face with a very stern come-and-account-for-yourself look from the stick's owner, our dean. "Come follow me to my quarters immediately!" was all she said before walking away.
We were fully awake now. We were all shaking, sure that we would be suspended or worse, to be sent home.
How I wished that the dean's quarter was so far away so that it would take us long to reach there. We pushed each other as to who would go first when suddenly the door opened. The dean motioned for us to sit down. Without saying a word, she tossed our skirts at us and told us never to repeat the "childish act" we had done, then she told us to go. For a while the three of us were unable to move. We were expecting the worst and that was all she did. Once out of her quarters, we heaved huge sighs of relief and thanked our stars we were not suspended.
In our excitement, we had overlooked the fact that half of the rooms faced the clotheslines and so many girls had seen the flying jeans the day before. Naturally, the news spread like wildfire and of course, the dean learned of it.