Biology Class

I went to a public school in a poor area.
Boys and girls weren’t allowed to play together.
We’d always hear the words halal and haram thrown around.

I fell in love with a girl in the fifth grade.
We agreed to get married.
Her name was Marwa.
“My parents won’t agree, so let’s wait until I finish fifth grade,” I said to her.
“Okay. But try to broach the subject.”

I loved another girl called Esraa when I was still in elementary school.
I once drew a picture of her on the board and kissed it.
There was another girl called Hoda. She was one of the top students.
I saw her during a religion competition.
I was instantly excited about the competition when I saw her.
She was very fair-skinned.
I would get a tingling sensation every time I looked at her.

All contact with females was cut off after elementary school.
We were separated in middle school.
I tried to understand the reason behind it, but everyone would tell me, “You’ll understand when you get older.”
I didn’t understand until ninth grade in biology class.

The school never expelled students, so there were older guys with mustaches and beards with us in class.
Normally, no one attended classes, but everyone showed up for this one: the lesson on reproduction.
The classroom was packed.
Students from other classes even joined our class for the lesson.
Apparently some boys made it their mission to attend every one of these lessons.

That day, the Arabic teacher, Ahmed Abo el-Dahab, came into the classroom.
“Listen up! You know the lesson about…
You know….
Do you know what you’re supposed to do or not?
You know all that stuff about becoming men,” he said.
I couldn’t understand a thing.
A student sitting in the front row told him,
“No, sir. They’re still young. They don’t know.”
Badr was a troublemaker.
I couldn’t understand a thing, so I asked a student from another class,
“Did you take that lesson?”
“No,” he said. “The teacher skipped it.”
“Why did he skip it? What’s going on?”

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