View Full Version : A Journey in the Life of Michelle Gorokan
4th Oct 2011, 11:54 AM
Chapter 1: Moving to the South
I sat in the car looking out at the window when my mother drove into the driveway of our new house.
“Here we are Shell!” Mum sang cheerfully “Our new life!”
What Mum meant about our ‘new life’ was that she divorced Dad and moved me to Batemans Bay away from all my friends and everything that ever mattered to me. Not that it matters but Mum drinks heavily and forgets everything. One time, she thought that me and my brother Cooper were being retarded because we were dressed for school and Mum thought it was Saturday not Monday. Cooper stayed with Dad while I stayed with Mum.
“Shell,” Mum said “I know how hard it must be for you to move away from your friends, favourite places to hang out and our family in Fairfield but you’ll make new friends.”
“It’s not that Mum.” I said “It’s just that I’m glad to be rid of that lowlife!”
“Don’t talk about your father like that!” Mum said angrily “I may think he is a lowlife but he’s still your father and he loves you!”
“You’re right. I’m sorry”
We soon carried our boxes into our new house. The new house is painted sky blue whereas our old house in Fairfield was just full of bricks. The good thing about our new house is that we live towards the beach and fifteen minutes away from my new high school. By the way, my name is Michelle Gorokan. I’m fifteen years old and I will be starting Year 10 in three days time. Where was I? Oh, yes! The bad thing about this house is that the bathroom taps don’t come out of the one tap. You either freeze them or burn them. Other than that, everything is perfect.
That evening, we were just about to fall asleep on the couch when we were interrupted by a loud tapping noise.
“Hello!” a man’s voice said and I soon recognised his voice. It was Uncle Douglas, Dad’s brother. He and Dad don’t get along well so he always looks up to Mum like his own sister.
“Hello Doug.” Mum said kissing him on the cheek. “What brings you here?”
“I thought I could come and help you but I see everything is complete.”
“Me and Shell are a winning team!” Mum said laughing “Aren’t we Shell?”
“Yeah.” I said
“So where’s Cooper and Geoff?” Uncle Douglas asked
“Up north!” Mum said in an angry tone
Geoff is Dad’s first name. His real name is Geoffrey but everyone calls him Geoff for short.
“So, when does Michelle start school?”
“Next week. She has to apply at the school at 8:30 Monday morning.”
I was focusing on watching the television rather than listening in on the conversation. The Wheel of Fortune was on and me and Mum would usually bet $20 on who would get the most correct answers. Mum usually wins but tonight we so exhausted we didn’t even bet.
“I might as well be off.” Uncle Douglas said “See you soon Donna.”
“See you later” Mum said
After Uncle Douglas left, I went to straight to bed. I imagined what the next day would bring me.
4th Oct 2011, 12:17 PM
Chapter 2: Making New Friends
The next day was Saturday. Usually I would hang out with my friends and go shopping at Macarthur Square or Parramatta Westfield. If it was closed, we would play sport or have a smoke in the park. But today was different. Today I woke up feeling sad. I usually have a smoke when I feel down but I used up my last packet yesterday morning when we were driving for four hours straight.
“Hello Mum.” I said cheerfully
Mum woke up clutching her forehead. She had been drinking again.
“Why aren’t you at school?” Mum asked drunkenly
“Mum, today is Saturday!”
“Don’t give me that garbage Michelle!” Mum snapped “You are going to apply at that school whether or not you go in your nightie.”
“No buts or ifs!” Mum said “Just do it!”
I had no choice but to leave. Every time Mum gets like this, you don’t argue with her. She will knock your lights out. When her and Dad got drunk they would argue for hours on end and have punch-ups. There was one occasion where the police were called to our house at 2am because Mum and Dad wouldn’t stop beating each other up. I’ve lost count on how many times Mum and Dad have been given warnings and court orders. I think that’s the main reason that me and Mum moved to Batemans Bay. Dad and Cooper live in Port Macquarie, up the north coast. Cooper is a year younger than me and unlike most brothers and sisters, we get along really well. Cooper chose to live with Dad because it was near the harbour and he wanted to meet new people. I thought about going back home but I didn’t want to get a hiding from Mum.
I went to a nearby bus stop and waited for the bus to come. When the bus came, I told the driver to drop me off at the high school. He looked at me as if I was crazy but that didn’t bother me. All I kept thinking about was all my friends and family in the south-west Sydney area. Finally, the bus stopped at my destination and I started walking across the shopping village. Once I passed the shopping village, I saw my new high school. The building was made from bricks and the windows looked very old-fashioned. Once I got my attention back on track, I saw a bus that dropped off some passengers. I got on the bus and asked the driver where he was going.
“Batemans Bay.” the driver said
I gave him the correct change and sat down towards the back row.
That afternoon, Mum had to go to the bank and she practically dragged me over there. I really hate going to the bank. There are too many people that wait to be served and the bank tellers take forever putting the money in or out. I had to get outside.
“I’m bored.” I whined
“Shell,” Mum was beginning to lose her patience with me, “just stand there and shut up!”
“Can I go outside?” I asked
“All right. I’ll meet you out front.” Mum said
I went outside and leaned against the side window. Just as I was about to go into the shop next door I saw a group of kids that looked around my age. The leader of the bunch seemed to notice me because I noticed her tapping on my shoulder. I wanted to tell her to get lost but she had a smile on her face and looked friendly.
“I hear your starting at our high school.” the girl said
“How did you know that?” I asked her
“I saw you this morning outside the high school.” the girl said, “What’s your name?”
“Michelle Gorokan.” I responded
“Mine’s Kathryn Leiataua.” the girl said, extending her hand to shake mine
I shook her hand and said, “What year are you in?”
“I’m starting Year 10 next week.”
I looked surprised. “Really? So am I?”
Kathryn then looked embarrassed. “Oh, I’m sorry! Let me introduce you to the rest of the gang. This is Lilly, Eric, Daphne, Nicholas, Jeremy, Adriana, Matt and Susannah. Nadine’s in our group as well but she has the flu and couldn’t come with us today. I’ll ring her later and tell her about you.”
“Where are you guys going?” I asked
“We’re going to the beach!” Nicholas said smiling at me “Wanna come with?”
I thought about Mum in the bank. I checked inside but she was still at the end of the line talking to some woman.
“Uh…okay!” I said
The gang cheered and we raced to the bus stop to go to the beach.
When we arrived at the beach, the first thing we did was sit down on the sand and had a smoke.
“How long have you smoked?” Lilly asked me
“Since I was fourteen.” I replied
“Do you drink alcohol?” Adriana asked me
“I only drink alcohol on special occasions.”
The gang looked very pleased by my response.
“We only drink alcohol once a month.” Matt said “Well, some of us.”
I got the point. Matt, Daphne, Nicholas and Susannah were the only ones that didn’t drink at all.
“I like your shirt.” Nicholas said
“Oh, thanks.” I said blushing “Don’t you have a girlfriend?”
“I did.” Nicholas said “But she left me for a man twice her age!”
“I’m really sorry.” I said, feeling bad
“Don’t apologise. It’s all right.” Nicholas said
Kathryn looked at Eric and Jeremy then. They were wrestling with each other on the ground.
“When are you two going to act your age?” she shouted at them
Eric and Jeremy laughed and gave each other a handshake.
“Where do you come from?” Susannah asked me
“I was born in Liverpool.” I told her “But when I was two, I moved to Fairfield and have lived there ever since until yesterday.”
I then told the gang about my old high school, my friends and family and our old hangout places. They looked impressed.
“Oh no!” Kathryn said, looking at her watch. “It’s five-thirty! We have to leave!”
So we did. After shaking hands with each other, we caught separate buses home.
Meanwhile at home, Mum was angry because I was missing. She was on the phone with the woman she spoke to at the bank.
“You’re damn right I’m bloody spewin’!” she yelled “One minute I get my money out of my bank account and the next minute my fifteen year-old daughter is gone!”
The woman must have told Mum that I would come back later because her voice softened and said “I’ll soon find out.”
I walked in the door anticipating the worst.
“Where have you been?” Mum said angrily
“I waited outside the bank for you.” I lied
“No, you didn’t!” Mum said “When I got outside you were gone. Just like that!” Mum snapped her fingers.
“The reason I left the bank was because I met this girl named Kathryn.” I told Mum
Mum looked suspicious.
“Does this Kathryn girl go to your new school?”
“Yeah.” I said “She’s in Year Ten like me.”
“Does she truant classes?”
“I don’t know Mum!” I said beginning to get impatient
“Just asking.” Mum said
“Anyway, I’ve got to go to bed now.”
“Okay, good night Shell” Mum said kissing my cheek
I then went to sleep and dreamt what school would be like.
4th Oct 2011, 2:04 PM
Chapter 3: The First Day at my New High School
On Monday morning, I woke up feeling excited. It was the first day of Year Ten. I got dressed quickly, said goodbye to Mum and waited for Kathryn at the bus stop. She rang me the night before saying that our bus came at five to eight. I sat down on the metal bench at the bus shelter when Kathryn arrived. She looked very pretty with her long black hair tied into a ponytail. Kathryn is Samoan whereas I’m Australian. We both have one thing in common: we love music. When the bus arrived, Daphne and Jeremy were already on the bus. Kathryn and I took a seat behind them and we all started talking at once.
“Nice hair clip Michelle.” Daphne said
“Nice earrings.” I told her
We didn’t say much after that because all the kids were making such a racket.
When the bus stopped at Batemans Bay High School, I was supposed to see the principal Mrs Adair to pick my subject selections for this year. I knocked on the door and waited for her to come.
“Hello, you must be Michelle Gorokan.” Mrs Adair said shaking my hand
“Yes, I am.”
“Come on in.” Mrs Adair said offering me a seat
I sat down on the comfortable lounge chair while Mrs Adair went through the rules of the school. I listened carefully while she went on with what she was saying. Then she handed me my subject selection sheet.
I wrote down my three subject selections and then handed it back to Mrs Adair.
“Let’s see,” she said. “Music, Visual Arts and Photography. Unfortunately, Music and Photography are on at the same time. Pick one that you really love doing the most.”
I told her that I would stick with Music and replace Photography with Commerce instead.
“Okay. That’s all Michelle.” she said shaking my hand again. “Have a nice term. Oh, and don’t forget that we are in the gymnasium at eight-thirty to discuss what’s going to happen this year.”
I thanked her and walked down to the quad to meet the gang.
“Where did you go?” Adriana asked me
“I went to see Mrs Adair to pick my subject selections for this year.” I told her
“I heard that she’s scary!” Adriana said “Last year, Daphne punched a kid in the face and she got suspended for two whole weeks!”
The bell rang then and we all lined up at the gymnasium.
Inside the gymnasium, there were a lot of Year 10 students being packed into the hall. One of them, this blonde chick with blue eyes came up to me and gave me a hug. I was about to freak out until she told me that her name was Nadine Pollock. I calmed down when she told me that she hung out with Kathryn and her friends.
“Kathryn told me about you on the phone on Saturday night.” Nadine said smiling “She and the gang think that you are a special girl.”
“I’m glad to have made some friends.” I told her
“We’ll talk later okay.” Nadine said “Let’s find out what’s in store this year.”
I sat in-between Kathryn and Nadine while Mrs Adair began her welcome back speech.
When she was finished, Mrs. Adair handed us over to our year advisor, Mr Garrison. Mr Garrison told us about our exams, what was going to happen throughout the first term and our grade sport selections.
As soon he was finished, he handed out our timetables for the year. Kathryn looked at my timetable just as I was going through it.
“Wow! We’ve got Ms Fairchild for Music. She’s not only just a nice lady but she always jokes around with us.” Kathryn looked like she was going to do a cartwheel across the gymnasium.
“We’ll find out what classes the others have at recess.” I said “Right now, I have to go to English.
I walked into Mrs Summers’ English room. She looked up from her newspaper and smiled at me. I sat down at the back row and waited for the other students to arrive. In a flash, Kathryn, Nicholas, Daphne, Adriana, Eric and Susannah walked into the room as a group. Nicholas sat with Eric while Susannah, Adriana and Kathryn sat next to me in the back row. Just as we were settling in, Nadine entered the classroom and sat next to me on my left-hand side.
“Where’s Jeremy, Matt and Lilly?” I asked Nadine
“They’ve got Ms Parrish!” Nadine said in a disgusting tone. “I had her for English last year and she was such a bitch to the whole class.”
“May I please have your attention class?” Mrs Summers called out to us
Throughout the lesson, we went through our topics and exams that we were going to study throughout the semester and then the bell rang for our next period to begin.
Kathryn, Nicholas, Lilly, Matt, Jeremy, Nadine and Adriana are in my Visual Arts class. Susannah and Eric do Drama whereas Daphne does Info Tech. Our teacher Ms Taylor is pretty cool, although sometimes she yells at the class to be quiet. Nicholas smiled at me a lot in Visual Arts and I couldn’t tell if he is in love with me or not. So I decided to let the issue go for the time being.
Later that afternoon, we had Music with Ms Fairchild. Every single person from our group was in that class. Ms Fairchild is an attractive woman with long blondish brown hair and tanned skin. Kathryn was right about her. She was a nice lady and joked around with us. She told us about her holidays when she fell into the water as she tried to get onto a paddle boat. The whole class cracked up and once they had calmed down, the bell rang and everyone stood in a line to shake Ms Fairchild’s hand.
As she shook my hand, Ms Fairchild said, “Are you coping well here?”
“Yes.” I responded
“If anything’s wrong, tell me.”
On the bus ride home, everyone said that they loved the teachers that they had today except for Matt, Jeremy and Lilly who complained that their English teacher Ms Parrish was a pushy and mean bitch.
“She started ranting and raving the second we came through the door!” Jeremy said
“She yells for no reason at all!” Lilly complained
“I agree with both of them here!” Matt said
“So Michelle,” Nicholas said “How did you enjoy your first day?”
“I did okay.” I replied
The bus stopped then and me and Kathryn got off and waved at the rest of the gang.
“Michelle can I ask you a question?” Kathryn asked me about halfway home
“Sure” I said
“Are you in love with Nicholas?”
I stood there in absolute shock.
“What? Who told you that? I, um…”
“Don’t worry!” Kathryn said laughing “Nicholas told me that you are one special girl.”
I calmed down a little.
“Are the girls jealous of me?” I asked Kathryn
“Of course not! They think you’ll be the perfect couple!”
We hugged each other and said our goodbyes.
I walked in the front door and there was a note from Mum.
Sorry I won’t be home until six o’clock. I’ve gone to several employment agencies to look for work. I hope you had a good day at your new school.
When I finished reading the note, I turned on the television and watched A*Mazing for the next half-hour. I then went to get dinner started before Mum came home. I could not wait to tell her about my day.
4th Oct 2011, 2:33 PM
Chapter 4: A Firm Friendship
Mum came home at exactly six o’clock that night. I was watching Prime Local News on the television. The newsreader was reporting on a story about drug raids in Nowra, Kiama and Fairy Meadow. Mum came in and sat down next to me.
“How was your first day of school?” Mum asked me
“It was excellent! I’ve made some new friends.” I told her
“Who’s that woman reading the news?”
“Kerryn Bancks.” I told Mum “She reads the local news here on Prime.”
“I thought it was Mary Franks.”
“No, Mary Franks is on WIN Television.”
“Oh, okay then.” Mum’s voice softened “Listen, if I apply for a job what do you want me to do?”
“Work in childcare or something like that.” I said
“We’ll see Shell.” Mum said “By the way, Dad called me today and asked me if you want him and Cooper to come down here for the weekend.”
“I would love that.” I said
“Good!” Mum said “I’ll call him tomorrow.”
When I met Kathryn at the bus stop on Wednesday, I asked her if I made a big mistake inviting my father to stay over after he and Mum divorced.
“I don’t think so.” Kathryn said “Your parents have only been divorced for two months. Some couples divorce and they remain friends.”
“How do you know all about this?” I asked Kathryn
“My parents got divorced when I was nine years old.” Kathryn said “At first, I was angry at both my parents for doing this but once I got older I understood the situation.”
Our bus came then and we went to school.
During Science, I kept worrying about Dad and Cooper coming to visit. Dad drinks a lot and I can’t stand it when he gets drunk. He is always looking for fights and throws beer cans all over the place. Back in Fairfield, the police used to arrest Dad for a number of offences. The only one I can remember the most is that he came home from the RSL club severely drunk and he crashed into our next-door neighbour’s fence.
Nicholas seemed to have noticed that I was withdrawn because he said, “Are you all right?”
“Who me?” I said “I’m fine!”
Mrs Coates was writing down an experimental report on the board so she didn’t take any notice into our conversation at all.
It wasn’t until that afternoon during our PE lesson when I had the chance to talk to Nicholas about his ‘love’ for me. The girls were facing the boys in a game of badminton. The winners of the match would receive Freddo Frogs.
Nicholas sat down next to me on the bitumen.
“Michelle, you’ve been acting very strange today.” Nicholas said “What’s going on?”
I hesitated with my answer.
“Are you in love with me?” I finally said
Nicholas looked like he was going to faint
“Well, yes and no.”
“What does that mean?” I said frantically
“Yes because you are a special girl and very popular and no because we are just friends.” Nicholas responded
“I like you as well.” I said “But only as a friend.”
“Let’s shake on it.” Nicholas said
So we shook on it.
When school finished, I went to Kathryn’s house. She lives two blocks down from my house. Her bedroom is full of posters. My favourite one from her collection is the one where Donnie Walberg from the New Kids on the Block is not wearing a shirt and he is leaning against a surfboard.
“What do you think of my posters?” Kathryn asked me
“They’re very sophisticated.”
Kathryn opened her night drawer and took out some lip-gloss. She offered me some and I took a dab and spread it all over my lips.
“I usually don’t wear makeup but when it comes to lip-gloss, I can’t resist.” Kathryn said.
“I need a new wardrobe.” I said
“Why do you need a new wardrobe?” Kathryn asked me
“I need some new clothes.” I said “Everyone here wears halter tops and bikinis. I need to look good.”
“You still look good to us.” Kathryn said
I checked my watch and told Kathryn that I had to go because Mum was expecting me home at four-thirty.
“I’ll see you at school tomorrow.” Kathryn said
“Okay. I’ll talk to you later.” I said giving Kathryn a hug
When I got home, Mum was in the living room. I knew that I was going to be in trouble.
“I’m sorry that I came home late but Kathryn wanted to show…” I stopped when I noticed Mum’s eyes. They were red and swollen.
“Mum, what’s the matter?”
“Your rotten father left Cooper behind at his school while he was playing the pokies!” Mum sniffled
I put my arms around her. “Who told you this?”
“Aunty Ursula did.” Mum said grabbing a tissue to blow her nose. “She saw Cooper at the bus stop and he was talking to some troublemaking teens. If it wasn’t for her quick thinking, I don’t know what would’ve happened.” Mum starting crying again.
I was furious! And I mean FURIOUS at Dad. How could he just abandon his fourteen year-old son who has ADHD? How could he just sit and play the pokies while his son is talking to troublesome youths? I was trembling with fear.
As soon as Mum had finished crying, we took the television into her bedroom and watched the news in there instead. I slept in her bed that night to keep her company. I was not looking forward to Dad’s visit.
The next morning, I told the gang what happened to Cooper.
“That’s terrible!” Susannah said munching on an arrowroot biscuit
“Yeah, tell me about it!” I said
“Parents should tell their kids when they are unavailable to pick them up.” Daphne said
“Some parents should be charged with child neglect.” Nadine said
I nodded my head in agreement.
During rollcall, my teacher Mrs Springer told us that the whole school had to go to the gymnasium after lunch to choose our sports for the term. We have a choice between grade sport and house sport. Grade sport is when you travel to a different school and compete in several tournaments to reach the grand final. Back in Fairfield, our school competed against every school throughout the whole of Sydney. One week, we would face Sarah Redfern. The next week, Chester Hill. My high school in Fairfield was called Fairvale High School. I loved that school. Anyway, back to business. House sport is when you stay at school and play sport with your year group. I had lot of thinking to do when the bell rang.
In Geography, our regular teacher Mr Bates was away. Instead, we had Ms Parrish, the hateful English teacher of Matt, Lilly and Jeremy. Nadine was right about her. She yelled non-stop.
“Put down that map globe Nicholas!”
“Don’t swing on your chair Kathryn!”
“Take your hat off Jeremy!”
“Adriana stop filing your nails!”
“Michelle don’t speak when I’m speaking!”
Nadine had heard enough.
“Why don’t you just shut the hell up and leave the class alone!” Nadine shouted at her
Ms Parrish’s face turned into a tomato.
“I will NOT tolerate that kind of language in my classroom!” Ms Parrish screamed
“This isn’t your classroom!” Nadine snapped “This is Mr Bates’ classroom!”
“If I take over his class, it’s my classroom!”
“You know what? Get stuffed!” Nadine spat
“That’s it!” Ms Parrish yelled at Nadine “Report to the head teacher!”
“Make me!” Nadine walked over to Ms Parrish and stood over her
The whole class waited to see what would happen next.
“I SAID GET OUT!” Ms Parrish growled
Nadine laughed right in her face and then left the room.
The whole class laughed out loud, making Ms Parrish even more irate.
“The WHOLE CLASS will be kept in on an after school detention tomorrow!” Ms Parrish shouted.
We all walked out of class two minutes before the second period bell was going to ring.
By the time we got to French class, Daphne, Kathryn, Nicholas and I could not stop ourselves from peeing our pants. Madame Hilliard reminded us to be quiet or we would finish our work at recess. We calmed ourselves down and returned to our work. There are three language classes here at this school. They are French, Spanish and Italian. Susannah, Jeremy and Adriana do Spanish while Lilly, Nadine, Matt and Eric do Italian. French is taught by Madame Hilliard. Spanish is taught by Senora Lopez and Italian is taught by Signorina Libretti. Back at Fairvale High, we had five language classes. They were French, Spanish, Italian, German and Chinese. I took Spanish in Year Seven and German in Years Eight and Nine.
While Madame Hilliard was writing down some work about Paris on the blackboard, there was a knock on the door. Daphne opened the door and Ms Parrish walked into the room.
“The following people are on detention tomorrow afternoon: Kathryn Leiataua, Nicholas Tate and Michelle Gorokan. That is all.” Ms Parrish said
That leapt Daphne into action.
“What did they do wrong?” Daphne asked rudely
“Because they left two minutes early.” Ms Parrish replied firmly
Daphne was livid.
“So what?” she snapped “Just because they left two minutes early doesn’t mean you can just put them on an arvo.”
“Daphne Forrester!” Madame Hilliard shouted “Don’t shout at your teacher!”
“She’s not my teacher!” Daphne answered back “She’s just an arrogant bitch!”
Ms Parrish’s face turned red.
“I’ve already sent one student down to the head teacher. I can make it two!”
“Stop treating my friends like dirt!” I said to her icily
Ms Parrish then tore up the detention sheet that had our names on it.
“FINE! I’M CANCELLING YOUR DETENTIONS! ARE YOU SATISFIED NOW?” Ms Parrish roared and then proceeded to slam the classroom door.
Madame Hilliard turned around and glared at us.
“What’s our punishment?” I asked her
Madame Hilliard stopped glaring at us and actually smiled.
“There is no punishment for you kids.” she said “I’m glad that you put that English teacher in her place.”
For the second time that day, the whole class started cracking up.
When the bell rang, Mrs Hilliard reminded us of our next lesson that we were going to go into the computer lab and study the French Revolution.
Nadine waited for us outside. “I heard the whole thing!” she said beaming “The look on that bitch’s face was priceless!”
“I know!” Daphne said “I thought Mrs Hilliard was going to punish me but instead she just smiled.”
“Well done, sister!” Nadine said slapping Daphne a high-five
As soon as we got outside, all of us sat down near the basketball courts. That’s our hangout area during recess and lunch. Lilly took out her sandwich and pulled a face.
“Eww, yuck!” she said “A tomato, butter and ham sandwich. I keep telling my mother that I can make my own sandwiches but she always insists on doing it.”
“Speaking of tomatoes,” Kathryn said in utter delight “We had Ms Parrish for Geography and Nadine told her off! Her face was like a tomato!”
“Serves her right!” Adriana said
Jeremy started mocking Ms Parrish. “I thought I told you to take your hat off!”
Susannah then joined in, “You’re all on an arvo for leaving two minutes early!”
We all started laughing at Jeremy and Susannah’s comic relief.
“What’s so funny?” Nicholas asked us. He was walking with Matt and both of them were carrying football bags and a towel. They had just finished playing football with the guys.
“We were just talking about Powerless Parrish.” I said chuckling as both Nicholas and Matt were sitting down next to us.
Then suddenly, Nicholas put his arm around my shoulders. I started blushing. Like Kathryn, Nicholas is Samoan but his mother is a white Australian whereas his father is a full-blooded Samoan. Nicholas plays a lot of sport, especially football. It’s a wonder why he has such an excellent body. He also trains at the local gym three times a week.
Daphne soon noticed that my face was red.
“Oh! Looks like we’ve got a new couple!” Daphne said
“It’s just a firm friendship.” Nicholas said
As soon as the bell rang, I felt much better.
After lunch that day, the whole school went into the gymnasium to pick out our sport selections. Ms Olsen, the head teacher of PE and sports organiser, told us to line up in our rollcall classes. When it was my turn to choose a sport, I had a hard time choosing between lacrosse, volleyball and netball. Kathryn, Daphne and Adriana picked lacrosse while Susannah, Lilly and Nadine picked volleyball. I made up my mind carefully and chose lacrosse.
When I told Kathryn what sport I was doing, she was ecstatic.
“Cool!” she said “Last year, our year group defeated Moruya High in an exciting game. We just defeated them 8-7.”
“I heard your really good at lacrosse.” Adriana said to me
“Yeah, I’ve played it since Year 5.” I told her
After we chose our sports, we were divided into our year groups to play a sport for the afternoon. The Year 10 girls played soccer with Year 11 and 12 whereas the boys played basketball. In soccer, we defeated Year 11 and 12 by four points. By the time the bell rang for us to go home, we were so tired that we nearly missed our bus.
When I got home, I went straight to bed. I knew that Mum wasn’t going to be home until six o’clock. She had to go and do the grocery shopping for this week. I woke up at five thirty and cooked a surprise dinner for Mum. When she got in the door, I saw her carrying a Red Rooster bag. She froze when she saw the dinner that I prepared for her.
“I didn’t know you were cooking me dinner.” Mum said with an apologetic look on her face
“It’s all right.” I told her “I put it in the fridge for tomorrow night.”
“Don’t bother. I’ll have it with Red Rooster.”
During dinner, I told her about what Nadine and Daphne said to Ms Parrish. She cracked up laughing and told me that she had a teacher like that once and he left the school after two weeks!
As soon as dinner was over, I went back to bed. When I closed my eyes, I thought about Nadine killing Ms Parrish. I could not wait for the next day to begin.
4th Oct 2011, 4:45 PM
Chapter 5: Getting to Know Each Other
The next day was Friday. I had a double period of Commerce after recess. Kathryn, Adriana, Susannah and Lilly are in that class. Nadine, Eric and Daphne do Food Tech while Nicholas, Matt and Jeremy do Phys Ed. Our teacher, Mr Morisset told us that we would be concentrating on our financial graphs throughout the first period. In the second period, we would be going into the computer lab for some free time if every single person in the class finished their work. We finished our work just in time for the fourth period bell to ring.
“Since you guys finished your work in time,” Mr Morisset said “you can go into the computer lab.”
The class cheered and ran for the computer lab.
When we reached the computer lab, the first thing that I did was play Solitaire with Kathryn. Kathryn beat me twice but I got back at her when she lost momentum and I took full advantage to get the win. As soon as we finished playing, Kathryn and I wanted to get a drink from the bubbler because we weren’t allowed to eat or drink in the computer lab. Mr Morisset excused us and we went to the bubblers.
“What are you doing tomorrow?” Kathryn asked me
“Nothing much. Mum has to go down to the employment agency and apply for a job in the childcare industry.” I said
“Me and Daphne are going shopping. Would you like to come?”
I hesitated for a second.
“If you can’t come, it’s all right.” Kathryn said
“I would love to go with you guys.” I said happily
Kathryn made the arrangements as soon as the lunch bell rang. I sat down on the grass near the football oval. Nicholas, Jeremy and Matt were playing rugby with the guys. Susannah and Lilly were passing a tennis ball to each other. Adriana and Nadine joined me and I asked Nadine how Food Tech was.
“Bloody brilliant.” she said “We’ve got Mr Levitz this year. He’s so cool. In our next double period, we will be making chocolate brownies.”
“Chocolate brownies?” Adriana said “I so envy you!”
Not long after, Kathryn and Daphne joined us.
“I’m so glad that your coming shopping with us Michelle.” Daphne said “We are going to have so much fun!”
“I’m just glad to have made friends.” I said “By the way, where’s Eric?”
“He said he was going to the library.” Kathryn said
We continued to watch Nicholas, Matt and Jeremy for a few seconds until this Year 9 boy pulled one of the Year 7 girl’s hair really hard. The girl started crying and the boy called her a cry-baby.
You nasty prick I thought.
That’s when I lost my temper.
“YOU!” I shouted, pointing my finger at the boy “Come here!”
The boy looked scared to death. I went over to him and pulled his hair by the roots.
“How do you fucking like that, you prick?” I said as his started yelping like a puppy.
The boy looked totally bewildered and ran off.
“Are you okay?” I asked the Year 7 girl
“Yes, thank you.” she said
“My name is Michelle.” I said “But you can call me Shell or Shelly.”
“My name’s Lisa.” the Year 7 girl said
I shook her hand and said that if she had any problems, she could come tell me or the gang.
Lisa smiled and then left to join her friends.
“Whoa!” Nadine said “I never knew you had such a temper.”
“I hate it when people bully other people.” I said “Sorry about that.”
“It’s all right.” Adriana said “Some people here are fucking nasty.”
Nicholas, Jeremy and Matt finished playing rugby and joined in our conversation.
“I always thought you were sweet.” Nicholas said wiping the sweat of his face with a towel
“Michelle had a right to lose her cool.” Susannah said “That wicked son of a bitch has been nothing but trouble since he started school.”
“Has he given you guys a hard time?” I asked Susannah
“He called me an Asian nerd when I was in Year 2.” Susannah said “I was so upset that I didn’t go to school for two weeks.”
I gasped in horror. Susannah is Japanese and what that kid said to her was so hateful and racist.
On Saturday, as soon as Mum left the house for the employment agency, I met Kathryn at our usual bus stop. Daphne said that she would catch a later bus and meet us inside the shopping centre. Once we got on the bus, I asked Kathryn what our arrangement was for the day. Kathryn told me our arrangement was looking at some new clothes for us. Kathryn said that she needed a new pair of shoes for school.
“My old ones are had it.” she said, looking at the broken side of her left shoe
“Borrow mine.” I told her
“It’s okay. I’m used to breaking into new shoes” Kathryn took out the bubblegum she was chewing with and placed it under our seat.
“Have you ever been caught doing that?” I asked her
“Once.” she said. “I was in Canberra for the long weekend and the bus driver saw me and chucked me out of the bus.”
I couldn’t stop laughing. Kathryn was cracking up too.
As soon as we got off the bus, we went to the Batemans Bay Shopping Centre to wait for Daphne. After about twenty minutes, we saw Daphne getting out of her sister’s car. The minute she saw us, she walked over to the spot where Kathryn spat on the ground.
“Spitting is a filthy habit!” Daphne said kissing Kathryn’s cheek
“Can’t help it, my dear!” Kathryn replied
“What store should we head to first?” I asked Daphne kissing her on the cheek.
“Let’s try Sportsgirl!” Daphne said
“I was thinking that we could try Pink Ink first.” Kathryn said to her “Michelle loves pink clothes.”
“Fair enough.” I said
We went inside the shopping centre and started our fashion frenzy. At Sportsgirl, I bought a yellow polo top and beige shorts that cost $4.50! I also bought a new bikini for half price. Kathryn bought a snazzy pear of cherry red pants that matched with a white top with cherries as it’s logo. Daphne bought six polo tops and skirts for half price as well.
“Who’s paying for all of this?” I asked the girls as we left Sportsgirl
“We are.” Daphne said
We went to Pink Ink, a store that sold pink clothes. I bought several tops, pants and skirts. Kathryn and Daphne had a minor argument over a pink trenchcoat which resulted in both of them throwing it into the bargain bin. I also bought pink Converse shoes for $20! After we left Pink Ink, we decided to go to Katies which was next door to the food court. At Katies, I bought two dresses and a floppy white hat. Kathryn and Daphne just bought pants and shirts.
“We’re not into dresses very much.” Kathryn said
“I hate wearing dresses! My shoulders always burn.” Daphne said
“Tiffany was the one who brought me into the dress craze.” I told them.
“Who’s Tiffany?” Daphne asked me
“Tiffany was my best friend in Fairfield. We grew up together.” I told her
Kathryn seemed enthralled by what I said.
“We all grew up and went to the same school as well.” Kathryn said
There was nothing much left at Katies, so we went to the food court and had lunch. I had a cheeseburger, french-fries, a bottle of Coke and a Swiss crepe. Kathryn and Daphne shared a box of french-fries and pepperoni pizza.
“We are fat bitches!” Kathryn said holding her bottle of Coke.
“Yeah, right!” I said
“Where do you guys want to go next?” Daphne said to us
We only had enough money for the bus ride home. So, after lunch, we left the shopping centre and caught the bus back home.
When we got off the bus, I asked the girls if they would come to my house.
“Of course!” they said
I opened the front door and we immediately went to the living room. As soon as we sat down on couch, the phone rang. I let the answering machine take the message.
“Donna.” the voice said “I’m dropping Cooper off at your house. He’s driving me crazy!” I soon recognised that voice. It was Dad’s
“Oh my god!” I said “Mum is going to chuck a mental when she finds out.”
Kathryn turned down the volume on the television and looked at me sympathetically.
“Don’t worry about it.” she said, putting her arm around my shoulders. “I’m sure your brother has done nothing wrong.”
Just as I was about to tell Kathryn more about my brother, we heard a high-pitched scream coming from the bathroom. It was Daphne.
We raced upstairs into the bathroom where Daphne placed a towel on her left hand.
“What happened?” I asked her
Daphne looked like she was in a lot of pain.
“I got bloody burned using the cold water tap!” she said wincingly
Oh, no! I thought. I forgot to tell them about the water fixtures!
“I am so sorry Daph!” I said apologetically. “I forgot to tell you about the water fixtures. You either use cold water or hot water in this house.”
“It’s all right.” Daphne said “I burn easily.”
“True!” Kathryn said “In Year 7, we went down to Wollongong for the day and by the time we got back home, Daphne’s skin was starting to peel.”
“That’s why I always wear one-piece swimsuits.” Daphne said.
We walked back to the living room and watched television for the next twenty minutes. Suddenly, there was a knock at the front door. I opened the door to find Adriana and Nadine standing there.
“Hi, Michelle!” Adriana said giving me a tight hug
“Hey.” Nadine said
“Where were you guys?” I asked them
“I had to go to my sister’s netball practice while Adriana had to go see her Grandma.” Nadine said
I sent both of them to the living room to join Kathryn and Daphne while I went to get some snacks.
“Are you surprised that they are here?” Kathryn asked me
“You bet!” I said
“Before I left, Nadine rang me and said that her and Adriana felt bad that they couldn’t come. So, I told them to come over to your house when we finished.”
I was so glad to have made some friends in Batemans Bay. I wonder how my friends in Fairfield would get along with those guys.
4th Oct 2011, 5:00 PM
Chapter 6: Cooper’s Moving In
Later that afternoon, after my friends had left, I vacuumed the floor where we made a huge mess by leaving our food scraps there. I cleaned the kitchen counter, scrubbed the bathroom and made the beds. When Mum got home from the employment agency, she looked surprised.
“You cleaned this whole house for me!” she said surprisingly
“Well, some of it!” I said
Mum looked at me suspiciously.
“All right, what’s going on Shell?” she asked me
“What do you mean Mum?”
“You never scrub the bathroom. You only make the beds and vacuum the floors. Is there anything you want to tell me?”
I groaned and led her to the living-room.
“By the way, did you get the job?” I asked her
Mum smiled at me.
“I’ve got the job! I start on Monday!”
I gave her a big hug and went to make her a cup of coffee.
“Now, before I play this message, I don’t want you to go ballistic.” I said to Mum
“I promise” she said
I replayed the message Dad had sent earlier that day. Mum looked like she had just stepped on dog poo.
“Shell, I need you to go to Kathryn’s for a few hours.” Mum said practically seething
“Um, okay.” I said
I immediately raced outside and walked to Kathryn’s place. By the time I got there, I was nervous as hell.
Kathryn’s mother opened the door.
“Hi, sweetheart. Come on in. Kathryn’s in her bedroom.”
I went to Kathryn’s bedroom and when she opened her door, I started to cry.
“What’s the matter Michelle?” Kathryn said putting her arms around me
I sat down on the bed and let the tears roll down my face.
“I showed Mum the message.” I cried “She had that look on her face when someone pisses her off.”
“Did she tell you to come here?” Kathryn asked
“Yes. I just hope that Cooper is all right.”
“Can you tell me a bit about your brother? If you want to that is.”
“I was just a year old when he was born. When Cooper was four, Mum took him to the doctor because he was going hyper all the time and wanted to have him tested. The test results came back a week later and that’s how Cooper was diagnosed with ADHD. Mum was so upset that she drank non-stop for three weeks. I feel like it’s my fault he was diagnosed.” When I finished, I began crying again.
Kathryn gave a hug. “It wasn’t your fault. He was born with it.”
“I know.” I said, sniffing “It’s just that, he doesn’t take Ritalin or any other medication. He eats healthy foods instead of sugar.”
Kathryn gave me a tissue to wipe away my tears and blow my nose.
“On a lighter note, did you have a nice time with us?”
“Yes, I did. Thanks for coming with me.”
“Hey, that was friends are for. We will always be there for each other.” Kathryn said
“That's right.” I said, holding her hand.
When I got home, Mum was sitting down on the couch. She looked at me and told me to sit down with her.
“Cooper’s moving in with us.” Mum said
I looked surprised.
“What?” I asked her
“Your bloody father is sending Cooper down here because he ‘can’t cope’ with him. Can you believe that Shell? Because I can’t!”
“Have you been drinking again?” I asked Mum
Mum gave me a look.
“No, I’ve decided to quit drinking.”
I began to feel guilty.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know.” I said giving her another cup of coffee
“I wanted to surprise you. Anyway, Cooper’s moving in tomorrow.”
“I can’t wait to see him.” I said excitingly
“You two have always been close. Not like Aunty Ursula’s children.” Mum said laughing.
Aunty Ursula is Mum’s older sister. Her four kids drive her insane, according to Mum. The oldest child, Sarah is a constant runaway and smokes weed. She’s been in jail more than once. The second child, Charles isn’t so bad but he has his moments. The third child, Lisa (I’m not referring to the Year 7 student at our school) truants school and hangs out with kids my age. Finally, the fourth child, Jenny is totally different than the others. She is kind and caring and always looks out for the people she cares about.
After we finished talking, me and Mum decided to call it a night and we went to straight to bed.
The next morning, I woke up really early and waited for Cooper to arrive. Aunty Ursula was dropping him off at our house at nine. I made breakfast for the three us and the smell of bacon and eggs woke my mother up.
“Why are you making breakfast at six-thirty in the morning?” Mum said groggily
“To surprise Cooper.” I replied cheerfully
“He’s not coming until nine.”
“I know that! It’s just that he probably didn’t have breakfast before they left!”
Just as Mum was going to say something to me, there was a knock on our front door.
“Get the door please Shell!” Mum said
I breathed anxiously and opened the door. Cooper was there carrying two suitcases.
“Sup, Michelle!” he said giving me a warm hug
“Sup little bro!” I said “Where’s Aunty Ursula?”
“Carrying my belongings which are packed in boxes!” he said
Just then, Aunty Ursula came in the door, carrying several boxes and placing them into the spare room which was now going to be Cooper’s bedroom. As soon as we finished arranging his room around, Cooper laid down on his bed and started talking to me.
“Why is Dad the way he is?” Cooper asked me
“Because he’s a lousy drunk who used to break the law and never looked after us.” I said angrily
“I loved it at Port Macquarie! Dad is just so unfair!”
“I know how hard it is to live with Dad. Remember that time he nearly ran over our next-door neighbours cat with a lawnmower?”
“That was so cruel! I’m surprised old Mrs Ballard didn’t sue us for animal cruelty.”
“And there was that time when we were walking home from school and Dad was having a blue with Alison Hopwood’s father because he parked in our driveway. I’m surprised that Alison is still my friend.”
We pissed ourselves laughing.
“Which high school are you going to?” I asked him when we stopped laughing
“I think it’s the one that you go to.” he said to me
“Batemans Bay High School?”
“That’s the one. I start next Monday.”
Despite being different than me, I think Cooper will make friends easily around here. I just hope they accept him for who he is.
“Kids!” Mum called out to us “Aunty Ursula’s leaving!”
We raced downstairs and said goodbye to Aunty Ursula. While I was glad that Cooper was moving in with us, I was angry at Dad for cancelling his visit and for being a selfish bastard by sending Cooper to our house because he ‘couldn’t cope’ with him. He has ADHD! I don’t think Dad will ever change and I hate him for that.
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