I had to phone a friend from elementary school to see if he remembered Khanoum Maleki’s boobs the same way I did. We had both cried tears into her cleavage, but who knows, maybe my memory had added a layer of eroticism to the punishments she often gave us after she dismissed the rest of the class. But Kamran remembered things the same way down to the smell of her perfume and the heat of her breath on his ear as she pressed Kamran’s fingers painfully around a pencil, his small body trapped between her thighs.
Her thighs? Are you sure it wasn’t just her knees? It was her thighs; otherwise how could we both remember the sensation of our own legs in short pants against two squeezing surfaces, part flesh part hosiery? It was wrong to talk during class, and Khamoum Maleki wanted us to sincerely realize that. But kids never mean it when they say they’re sorry, so we were made to feel the remorse as physical pain. Writhing and groaning between Khanoum Maleki’s legs was a mandatory minute, after which we knew the pencil pressure would ease if we surrendered into her cleavage and sobbed deeply between her breasts. That was how she knew her discipline had gotten through to the student.
After this conditioned act of submission, she brushed forgiving lips on our faces and the squeeze of her legs tremulously subsided to the rhythm of our fading sniffles. I remember the receding pain bringing a warm pleasure to my body, which Khanoum Maleki seemed to share. I had forgotten, but Kamran remembered how cozily mothered we felt when our teacher cleaned lipstick off our faces with spittle before she let us go.
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