|Lost in HopeForever
Author: Janay Leonard PM
A mother kicks her fifteen year old and six and a half month old daughters onto the street with eachother. The mother and daughter fight about the situation and the daughter faints. She is put onto a train to Queensland. She does not know what to do.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Family/Hurt/Comfort - Words: 13,517 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 1 - Published: 03-14-10 - id: 5816366
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Lost in Hope- Forever
I smile at myself with pride as I am looking into the mirror getting ready for school. My hair is pulled out of my face and is in a French plait. I was never the best of students and wasn't ever close to being he worst.
I was the only student to dress the way I did. Some students teased me because of the way I wore my uniform; it didn't change me and after a while I was over it. Some students really like the way I dressed. They said it made me look good, mature and sensible. (And cute, but I had always hated being called cute.)
My attitude toward students that were unkind wasn't too impressive. If someone at the high school screamed out nerd, I would scream back slut. (All the girls skirts looked like garter belts. I had a better attitude after being with my first and last boyfriend until the age of twenty-one.)
After my first boyfriend I promised in heart to my friend not to go out with anyone until I was an adult.
Alas, it had never stopped me from sitting next to the boy I liked. My friend, Angela, hated the fact that I would sit next him rather than her during the lessons we had together. Whenever I sat with another group of friends and wanted to come back, she always held the door wide open. I liked Angela, as she was the friend that was very easy to talk to and was kind.
The one thing Angela didn't want during her teenage years was a boyfriend, especially after seeing what I was too blind to see during my relationship. A student that thought he was my father and saw me as a slave.
I once thought he was perfect, I thought wrong. The boy I liked now seemed perfect, but I knew there was always more than what the beholder could see, whether it is good or bad.
When Micah (the boy I had currently liked.) asked me out I was so happy and anyone would have said yes. I wanted to go out with him and didn't want to upset him, but I refused and told him I wouldn't until I was an adult. He respected what I had said and saw great reasons behind it and said he would do the same. I respected him by trying to believe he would stay true to his word. Micah was a bit taller than me, had short black hair, hazel eyes, brown tight skin, wasn't fat, nor was he very muscular, could take a joke but was mature and respected others beliefs. Sometimes I wished we were both adults and were together, got married and had children.
Mum's ready to drop me off to school. "Come on woman. I'm ready to leave; I've got students' to teach." It was almost seven, but I hated walking to school so I got up early so I could be dropped off.
"Coming," I call out. I run out the door and throw my bag in the car. I'm so tired I fall asleep. Falling asleep on the way to school was something I did often. Most nights I would stay up doing homework and watching T.V until eleven, and then I would get up at five the next morning and straighten my hair so I could tie it back more easily and would tidy up my room from the night before.
"Wake, wake up. You're at school." I wasn't in a rush to wake up. I knew that if I stayed home and walked to school, I could sleep for another two hours, but again I hated walking. Well, I only hated walking when I was by myself.
"Oh God, I'm tired. See you later." I look outside and the sun is already out. It's not long after seven and I'm already dying in the heat. Even though I lived in Adelaide my whole life lived so far, I wasn't used to the heat. I was a bit of a freak at home, in some ways. On forty-five degree days I would sometimes feel so cold and would wear a robe, when I was upset I would laugh and sometimes I would just laugh randomly and wouldn't be able to stop myself.
I walk toward the school gate and jump over the fence and onto the oval. I walk to the middle of the oval and lie on my back with my knees up. I stare at the sky; I always had some sort of fascination with the sky. It's my second to last year of school and I had finally learnt to keep myself from getting distracted. Every day I would lie in the middle of the oval and stress to myself the importance of school, good grades and learning. My big goal this year was to do well in school. If I ever found myself getting distracted I would stop myself, especially if I was thinking of my family and future.
I look at my watch and it is almost eight. The school library is about to open so I start making my way to the other side of the school. I stare at my feet, watching each one constantly hit the ground. I notice there is so much rubbish on the ground. I am now in the school corridors. I stop and look at the photos on the school wall taken fifty years ago. I observe the ground in the photos and can't see even one piece of rubbish.
I continue walking to the library. Like usual I am one of the first students at the school. (Every get's to school at almost nine.) I check my e-mail, but don't reply to any messages. I always found myself replying to messages every two days, or so. Sometimes when I forgot to reply, I would wonder why I wasn't messaged, then I would remember why.
I look through my folder of subjects on the school desktop and see what work needs to be done. I find there is no school work I need to catch up on because I'd done it as soon as I could. I start typing a story about a boy who is drowning and is saved by a man who is well known for very good reasons. He could be famous, but chooses not to be.
The bell goes and I start making my way out of the library. I'm continuously being pushed and shoved while making my way through the corridor of packed student's. I get to class and decide to put my bag in my locker after the roll is checked as there would not be as much people in the corridor.
"Hi Lea," I greeted my friend. She wasn't the type of friend you would want to get too close to. She'd be really nice to you for some time, then spread rumours around the school about you and expect you to be happy with her. She'd done it to me twice, but I always came to be her friend again. I couldn't ignore her forever, especially because we sat with the same group of friend's.
"Hey Georgia, how's life?"
"I guess life is good. What about you?"
"Life's pretty good." I start walking away from Lea as she is sitting at the same group of tables as my ex-boyfriend. He tried to be my friend whenever he could so I tried avoiding him when I could. I sit by myself.
"Oh Georgia, come on seriously! Don't sit by yourself like a loner. Sit across from me."
"I pass, sorry." The bell goes for first lesson. I have psychology and enjoyed it more than what I thought I would. When I first started psychology I was scared I wouldn't understand what was going on. I found it really fun, but didn't always enjoy having to read ten pages of information before answering questions. Psychology was the subject I got mostly distracted in. After some time I couldn't help but get distracted. It was the only lesson I would get distracted in; I couldn't keep quiet for a whole year, but I managed to keep quiet in three-fifths of my time every week; excluding some intervals.
It is recess and I get to my locker quickly before the crowd of student's rush madly in and out of the corridors. I find it easy as my locker is just outside of the classroom. I throw my books in and get out my dance gear and my recess. I start walking toward the bench where my friend's sit and throw my gear on the bench before sitting down and eating my apple.
I say, hi, to Angela and then listen to my I-pod as Lea and my other friend's make their way toward the benches. I turn up the music so I am in another world. I look around and I see Lea waving to me, I wave back.
"Are you okay?" She lips sinks.
"I'm fine I don't have to smile every second of the day." Lea shrugs her shoulders and continues her conversation. I listen to the music for the rest of my break; it wasn't something I did too often, just when I was in a quiet mood.
Second lesson I had dance. Dance was something I always enjoyed. My dance teacher would make me do something over and over again until I got what needed to be done right. Repeating something didn't bother me too much, it would help me to improve the way I danced and would make me a better performer than what I would have been. Sometimes I felt like I should never have chosen dance, because even though I told people I enjoyed, I did more than that. I loved dance, and even though there were times I looked at people and thought they felt I couldn't dance even if they said otherwise. I hated the fact the teacher had given me a passion to dance and a passion to become a dance teacher and stupidly thought that if I tried to hate what created the passion, I would hate the passion itself and would quit as I sometimes wanted to. It never seemed to work that way, especially when you couldn't hate something you never had.
When I went to bed, I would not only think about the boy I liked, but also the passion I wanted at times to kill. Passion gave me a feeling of hurt, which would be quite hard to understand.
At lunch I asked the drama teacher to borrow the drama room to practice technique as I didn't want to fail technique assessment. I asked to use the drama room almost every lunch time.
Last lesson I had biology. It was the subject I would usually struggle with most. Sometimes it would depend on the teacher I had. Some teachers were a little strict and others, a little slack.
One thing that got me through biology on Mondays and Thursdays was Micah. I would always be asking for his help when I was lost and now saw him as a really awesome friend, sometimes more. I wished I could take him home so my family could meet him; so the Shagirogen's could meet him.
The Shagirogen family was not the happiest family, but they eventually found a way to get along the way a family should. Life was great, now everyone was happy only to be just as happy when another baby was born. That baby was and still is my baby sister.
Unfortunately our family was saddened by the fact that my strict and caring father had gone overseas to Algeria, to treat those with diseases. He had been gone for almost a year and wouldn't be back for another three.
One day my mum told me she had cancer. I cried and cried. If I could choose who had cancer, it would be me, not mum. Sometimes I found it a bit weird mum lived life as if it were normal. The only thing that wasn't normal was the fact that she would now cry herself to sleep. I asked every night if my mum would ever get better. During lessons at school, I would start sitting by myself and wouldn't hang out with my friend's during breaks. I would sit either in the toilet rooms or spend my time in the library. My mum wouldn't tell me exactly what was going on, just that she had cancer. A few weeks later came the worst day of my life. I didn't know it but at the time she had another daughter and a son. I thought mum had only two children; Rachel and I, Georgia.
The worst future was expected for me as Nadia, my mum put Rachel and I out onto the street. Alas, I did not know or see my brother or sister. Not even once day of my life. I was only fifteen and Rachel was six and a half months.
"What? Mum you can't do this!" I cried looking into her grey blue eyes. Tears dropped down her cheeks and onto the necklace I had given to her for mothers' day. I had it specially made for her. Every time water hit it, the necklace would shine making its way into your eyes and making your eye colour look different.
At this point I wished I were dreaming. This felt too real to be a dream; then again, it was too sad to be real. I was thinking, trying to figure out what was going on, what the hell my mum was thinking and why my own mum would put me on the street. I couldn't let this happen.
"I have to do this!" She said. "I know you can stand on your own two feet…and be a great sister. I have to do what is best for you. I am your mother, I have cancer and it is something I don't want to have to put-" I felt she didn't want to do this. It was almost like there was another soul living inside of her and I had to get it out of her and bring her to her senses.
"It's what's best for me is it? B-b-best for us? You don't know what's best for us. I thought you did, I guess I was wrong. Dad can cure you? Who are you? I want my mum back. I don't feel ready to go out into the real world; I can't, especially not with Rachel. Everything was going great and we had finally become a great, loving family. How could you do this? I'm not Rachel's mother and you know it. You're the mother; you're our mother."
"Honey, I know you're upset but-"
"Don't honey me, don't you ever. If you think family's run away from each other, or families give up, or don't get through problems together, then you really don't know what family is. W-when dad left to cure those with diseases in Algeria, we knew we wouldn't see him for four years, but we're still getting through together as a family. That is what…" I was too hurt to finish my sentence. I didn't have to, my mum just butted in.
"That hurts, I know what family..." She knew more than most people what family was, but it seemed she knew no more. She had always thought the most important thing was people, so she let me think.
"NO! You don't know what family is. You d-don't even care about me. Do you? You don't, you don't love…" I was too upset and found myself lost for words. I felt heartbroken and confused. I was being harsh and was angry. I was feeling a lot of pain. I was feeling too much pain. It felt as if the wind had been knocked out of me. It was as if I had fainted.
I felt myself moving. It was like I was in the car on the way to school. It seemed like mum was dropping me off to school. I hoped after all this was just a dream. Maybe everything would be okay. Maybe I was in one of those movies where you would have a nightmare then suddenly wake up. This I hoped was one of those nightmares. I really must have been hoping too much, even though at such a young age I learnt not to get my hopes up high. I hoped mum was dropping me off to school like every other day.
I pictured in my head mum's gold necklace when water hit it, the way it shone and changed, it was so beautiful. Trying to get my hopes up high and trying to believe this was all a dream didn't comfort me. I knew too well the disaster was no dream. I slowly started getting up and suddenly reality rushed into me, all at once.
I opened my eyes only to find I was on a train with my baby sister on my lap.
With tears streaming down my face, draining out of me, I kissed Rachel on the forehead. Rachel really is the cutest baby sister. Rachel was always laughing, trying to talk, smiling, crawling backwards and biting on anything and everything she possibly could. Nothing really seemed to matter too much for a while. I reached into the pocket of my Abercrombie to grab a tissue and found a couple of hundred dollar notes. I found myself kicking two luggage bags. The luggage bags belonged to Rachel and I. Next to the luggage bags was a note, for me. Inside the note was a credit card.
"Georgia," I whispered reading the note. "'I'm sorry I didn't tell you I have back meningitis. Unfortunately the pills I've been taking just aren't working. The pills are reacting badly to my body and in a few days I won't be able to hide what I look like anymore. You understand what I mean. You're a clever girl. I'm sorry for not being the greatest mother. I don't know what you're thinking, but I'm so glad you are my daughter. I'm so glad you and Rachel are my daughters. Kiss, hug, kiss hug. Mum.' I love you Mum," I gasped.
Before long, I noticed that the next stop said Queensland, but why Queensland. I won't know where I am going. I feel so mean for acting the way I did toward Mum, at the same I am so upset. I keep telling and telling myself to hold back the tears that want to drain out of me. It was like trying to do the impossible.
It was too hard, I couldn't hold back the tears; especially when I found out my own mother had back meningitis. The train finally stopped while the temperature kept rising. The sun struck me like a ray of light and was tearing away at my skin while water was draining out of me like the water being squeezed out of a cloth. As I went to stand up to get off the train, everyone rushed past me pushing Rachel and I back into the seat. I carried Rachel struggling to get off the luggage, but I guess I managed well. A trolley was a few metres away, so I put Rachel inside of the trolley and then I walked the trolley toward the luggage and put it into the trolley. A taxi wasn't too far ahead, so I stopped and everyone who had fallen behind me with their moaning children and ton of luggage knocked into me and took my taxi and the others ahead.
Eventually everyone was gone and finally another taxi showed up. I gave a slight wave and the taxi pulled up beside me.
"So Missus, where is you and the beartiful dotter of yowwas headin tiday." The man looked like me in so many ways. Like me he had long legs and a short body, the same blue, grey eyes, the same shaped ears, the same nose and the same shaped head. It was eccentric; I seriously couldn't believe it. People say others look like me when I don't think so, but this was so unbelievable. I was fifteen years old and he thought my own six and a half month old sister was my daughter. His accent was odd. I couldn't tell where he was from. I couldn't but stare into his eyes for a few moments wondering if he was in any way related to me. Finally I managed to speak.
"Oh, well, this isn't my daughter. This isn't my daughter," I almost cried and screamed at the same time. "This is my sister Rachel. I'm Georgia."
"Well Georgie-" This man really had an accent, was deaf or really couldn't talk properly. I corrected him.
"That is what I said! Anyways I'm Matthew. Let me puts all dats luggage into the taxi. Dya know 'tis meant to be forty-five degriss. Guess we're lucky aye? Only thirty-seven digress. Must've really stuffy in dat train you was in," Matthew said zoning out of the conversation. He was putting the luggage into the taxi.
"It was hot, but I'm a bit better now. Do me a favour and take me to the closest Foodland or grocery store? Just need to go somewhere. I haven't really got much planned out." Matthew started laughing. I didn't find anything funny about what I said, but it seemed Matthew did. I didn't know where I was so I couldn't say a specific road or street. Maybe he was some 'Know It All' and knew every road on Earth, I said in my head with sarcastic exaggeration.
"Where else d'ya like to go, Macca Donald's, after that maybe Westfield?" I didn't find this a joke at all, not one bit of me felt this was a joke. My mother was dying from meningitis and there he was joking around. I thought my day was bad enough and didn't think it could get any worse.
"Do you think this is a, a pucking joke?" I said surprised at myself for using the almost foul language I did. "My mum is d-d-dying of back meningitis. Do you know what that is!? Do you!? I'm dying; look at me. I've been tossed out into some, some place I don't even know. Worse, I have to look after a baby of which I have no experience. Well I did do child study and took home a fake baby, but that doesn't count. My mum probably tossed me out onto the street because, I Georgia am so bloody empathetic!"
"Chillax! You know I have a daughter and did have a son. My son, you might find coincidentally, had meningitis. It was painful, especially because he didn't survive. He was only six years old. He didn't die long ago. I don't see why you couldn't ring your dad to look after you, wherever he may be. I'll be living in Adelaide in three years, maybe more, maybe less. Don't you have family you can go to?" Matthew was crying so I figured he might have been telling the truth about his son. It also occurred to me that it may have been a lie, or he wasn't telling me something, or something was up; partly because there wasn't much of an accent I could hear in the last small part of the conversation.
"My Dad's in Algeria saving a lot of lives, so I really don't see the point in calling him. I know my life is better than the many suffering with diseases. I will figure something out, I always do. Well, that is the way I think when I am trying to be positive. I can do almost anything when I am positive. I don't know why I try to be positive. When I was younger I gave up a lot in life, a whole lot. You know my mum and I, we sort of had a fight today, a verbal one. I fainted and so she put me on a train here. I don't quite understand why." I deeply breathed in air, turned away then turned back. "Why am I here?" I whispered to myself.
"C'mon Miss, I don't know what yowwa's gonna do. Parts of my advice are for you to ring your dad."
"I'd love to and I know it's right, but no, I, I can't. Don't w-worry. I'll figure something out. It will be hard, but it is something I need to do. Something I feel I need to do. "My lips were trembling. No matter how hot it was, if I was scared, or too upset, I would grow cold and shiver.
Ten minutes later Rachel and I were at a shop called Night Owl. I paid the taxi driver for the ride, thanked him and put the luggage into the trolley. I walked into the shop and found it was so much cooler. I bought nappies, baby rice, an apple, a bowl, a baby spoon, rusks, a baby bottle, a bottle of water and an application form.
Next door was Starbucks which was crowded for a while, but not for too long. After a long saddened tiring day I walked toward the counter of Starbucks feeling half dead. I asked for a hot cup of water of which I mixed with five baby spoons of baby rice I the bowl. While I was waiting for the baby rice to cool down I gave Rachel a rusk. It was great to see Rachel smiling and laughing, for when she did I often did. Soon after I started eating the apple while day dreaming, almost forgetting where I was. For the second time today reality rushed back into me. I wished I didn't have to taste reality. I wanted all my problems to go away; most of all, I wanted my mum. The baby rice had cooled down enough for me to start feeding it to Rachel. What was I to tell Rachel when I got older? What will I do when she asks about mum? I was really thinking about the future.
Rachel was still eating her baby rice. Next thing you see is Rachel trying to talk with food in her mouth making it fly into my face. I would usually laugh when Rachel sneezed while eating, which is what she did; I guess she was waiting for me to laugh. There was nothing funny about her food flying all over the place after sneezing. Rachel was cute in everyone's eyes; at that very moment I just didn't want to see it.
I was almost finished feeding my baby sister, but instead of thinking about what to do next, I smiled not letting reality ruin my moment. That's all I wanted that moment, all I wanted was to sit there and smile for whatever ridiculous reason I could think of. The smile wasn't a big cheesy grin. It was a smile in search of happiness; after all, I was lost in hope.
I finally stood up to leave. I had been at Starbucks for quite a while now and Starbucks was about to close up. I started walking out the doors with Rachel in my arms.
"Georgia! Go home please. Don't stay here; I knows your mom wouldn't want you to stay here. Plase just listen to thus. I know why yowwa mum put you and yowwa sister on the train. It was coz if she didn't put you on the train ands just tooks you fifteen minutes up the road, you would run back to her, right?
Yannow everything happens for a reason, so go back home. Be what you want to be and follow your dream. It was Matthew, in my face. I burst into tears.
"Maybe you're right; maybe my mum put me on the train so I couldn't go running back to her. M-m-maybe she even wants me to go back home to Adelaide. Then again maybe I want to stay here and sleep in a motel for a few nights, get a job and start a new life."
"Go back to too Adelaide. Let yowwa friend's helps yew out. Ifs their yowwa real friends and they can find time, I'm sure they will look after your sister ifs you need to work the extra hours. Does you evan know where you are?"
I was angry and talked the way he did.
"Does you evan knows how to speak? I don't know where I am but-"
"What do you think is best for your sister? Staying here because you want a new beginning to run away from your old life? Then again, going home to your friends, letting them help you out so you can become what you want. "
"Well maybe it is better for me to go home, but I can't just be what I want. I might not have any one to help me and if I don't I'm screwed. I think it's all I might ever be. If my friends help to look after my sister, I'll be really tired from working a lot of hours and won't want to do anything. I won't have the time to do anything. Babies are time consuming and need someone. Always need someone to be around. When Rachel gets older she'll be pulling everything out of the cupboards, throwing things into the toilet when the doors have been left open, running somewhere she shouldn't. I don't know what to do. I'm scared and, and stressed and don't know if I will survive. I keep trying to be positive, but sometimes I just don't see the point. Where are thoughts going to get me seriously? I must be living in a different world than everybody else. I am lost in a dream. Hoping is all I can do. There's reality. I'm shit scared. I wish God would help me, make my life better, and do something. I mightn't deserve help, but Rachel does. The only money I have is the money from my mum, but it won't last forever. It will go for Rachel's needs, and quite quickly I would think. Sorry to bother you, I've been going on and on. I wonder sometimes how other girls get through life at a young age with a child. I may as well have had my own. I guess."
"Remember that if your friends are your real friends, they will help you out. If they aren't your real friends least you'll knows where you stand. I know you'll be fine."
"You don't know for a fact I'll be fine! Stop trying to make me go home! It's my decision and don't argue back, you're not my father. Don't tell me what to do. You're just some taxi driver that doesn't know me." I almost started crying. "Live your life and I'll live mine. If I want to stay here then that's what I'll do!" I felt stupid knowing going home was best for my sister and I. I just wanted him to look stupid. I knew I need help, so I calmed down then continued speaking. "Let's start over. I should go home, you're right. I hate you for being right, for trying to help me. Well I don't hate you. I just wish I knew everything I needed to do. I'll book a hotel or whatever for the night."
"Save your money. Stay over mine. My wife will probably be home soon. Home and sleeping by the time I get home."
"Wow! It's not normal to stay over someone else's. Why do I know I can trust you?" Going home with an unknown taxi driver might not be the best thing to do, I thought to myself. I wanted and had enough trust in him to sleep over for the night. I had to have that trust; I hated being home by myself. I hated even living in some of the homes I did. Sometimes I would go to bed and would find I couldn't sleep by myself. I always had the feeling someone was standing over me and wanted to hurt me. I would find myself crying to sleep some nights asking God to help me through the night. I was pretty sure everyone I told thought I was crazy. Some things in life just seem indescribable. I learnt that some things are best kept to yourself.
"Let's go. Thank you so much. I'll leave tomorrow. I'll catch a train back to Adelaide tomorrow. It's a bit cheaper than the plane. Thanks again for, I don't know. Just thanks."
"I'll get us dinner. We'll be going to the food plaza in Westfield. I don't feel like cooking and you probably don't feel like waiting. I'm having crispy chicken with a butter chicken sauce on rice. I'll get you what you want for dinner. Hops in the taxi ands I'll chucked in yowwa luggage. "
"It's not normal for me to go somewhere with some, stranger," I told him in questioning way. "I know I can trust you, but I don't know why." There was something about Matthew I felt I needed to know. I just didn't know what. I didn't know Matthew, but still, I knew I would be fine. I knew Rachel and I would be fine.
"It's good to know I'm trusted."
"I'll eat what you're eating Matthew. " When Rachel saw someone she hadn't she before, she would look at the person confused and would often start crying, but she didn't. Not this time. We got into the taxi and saw it was almost eight.
It took almost fifteen minutes to get to the food plaza. I absolutely loved the dinner the Chinese made for us. After being at the food court, we went back to Matthew's house. At the food court like every other man Matthew turned into a big softy. Rachel absolutely adored Matthew. Everyone was always commenting on her big round eyes and cute smile.
I jumped out of the car and noticed the temperature had dropped slightly. There was a breeze that blew my hair across my face. I had always liked the breeze. Rachel pulled my hair and laughed. She always laughed when people were in pain, but when she grew older she did the opposite. The older she became the quicker she got at learning. She was always observing, pulling everything out of the kitchen cupboards and trying to pronounce words. If you thought about it, it wouldn't have happened for a long time, but when time passed by, it seemed like only yesterday.
Matthew walked into the house with the luggage bags leaving the door open for me to walk into while holding Rachel. I put Rachel on the mattress Matthew put in the lounge room. I'd given her a bottle just before she went to sleep. She started using the bottle at home when her teeth started growing. Rachel hated the plastic teats and it took her a while to get use to.
Matthew's wife and daughter had gone to bed not long after I had gotten to their house. The girl looked about six years old and the wife was very inviting. It surprised me that the wife didn't mind I was there. It was like I was the daughter's friend, but she didn't treat me like a six year old.
It was quarter to ten and Rachel had woken up. Somehow, I was scared to be looking after my baby sister. I would have to get up every time she cried and would also have to work as soon as I could. I gave Rachel a bottle and waited for her to go to sleep so I could. I lay her on her stomach with one of her toys from the luggage bag to play with. When Rachel went to sleep Matthew turned off the T.V in the next room and went to sleep.
Everyone was sleeping and I stayed up thinking about mum and started crying. Crying would usually put me to sleep, but the thoughts kept me awake.
In the morning Matthew came into the lounge room to wake me up. I was so tired and without doubt, my mum was the first thing I was thinking of. I hadn't felt so much pain and sadness before. I felt stupid for laughing when others grandparents had died and knew if anyone laughed at me; it was only karma biting my ass. I didn't ever mean to laugh, whether or not my friends believed me, I laughed, as I was sad. I tried to tell my friends that sometimes when you're watching a scary movie, you try to laugh it off, that wasn't exactly my case, but it was one of the best ways to describe it at the time. It was nearly ten in the morning. I would usually wake up between six and eight, even if it were the holidays. I was appreciative that Matthew feed Rachel, showered her and put her in the clothing I had put on the mattress the previous night. Something smelt good, not great, just good.
It was baked beans, bacon and eggs on toast with Philadelphia.
"Breakfast is readies for yowwa if yowwa want it. You might now, buts I dished some out for you justs in case."
"Thanks, but… I really don't feel like eating right now. I'm sorry, I just can't."
"Don't be sorry. I'll try to eat it for you."
I could tell Matthew didn't want to eat. I could tell from the way he was talking and the way he was acting he too was upset, I just didn't know why. It was almost as if his mother had died. I tried not to be a nuisance after asking if he was okay. He struggled to eat the breakfast he'd made for me. I had noticed he didn't make any breakfast for himself. I felt bad for not eating what he'd made for me.
I always thought I would eat all the food that was dished out for me, especially after doing the forty-hour famine. After going to bed without food all day I couldn't go to sleep; food was all I could think about. I only went to bed hungry once while other kids dreaded every day and went to bed starving. It had only been a month or two now since doing the forty-hour famine.
I sat down and watched my baby sister crawling sideways and backward on the floor. I thought and thought and I cried and cried, I didn't want to talk and I didn't want to eat. I felt like smashing into pieces and it shone through. I'd felt as if I'd lost my voice, forever.
"C'mon beartiful, you might miss dat train of yowwas."
"Matthew, it's just after ten!" I only meant to tell him, but ended up screaming it at him. Hi daughter had already gone to school. Her name was Beckie. I hadn't seen her much the night before. I had brown hair and brown hazel eyes. She was white skinned and thin. In some ways she looked like her mum and in some ways she looked like her dad. Her dad would try to joke around with her sometimes, but not often. After a while I learnt he was a nice, but serious person. Not too serious, but closer to the serious side than the joking side. Matthew told me at the food court the previous night that his daughter was gullible, but smart. Matthew didn't seem gullible, but he was smart. It seemed like Mathew could've been anything he wanted to be, but chose a different path, or something like it.
"What dya mean? It's already eleven tirty." I started to think of him differently and was going to find out what he was up to.
"I'm sorry Marthina, does I gots stupid witten all over my forehead?" I knew I really overreacted by speaking in such a tone. I softened my voice. "Matthew, what's going on?" I said thinking he was up to something he shouldn't have been up to. Maybe he was tired, or forgot the time, or something. I looked at the time on the microwave, then the time on my watch and noticed my mistake. I apologized and thought maybe he wanted to do a bit of work before he left. I really wanted to sleep for as long as I could. Especially because the train I was catching didn't depart until after noon.
"I should've told you last night," Matthew said with a sort of sad look. I thought he would be happy for me to leave. In fact, I thought he'd be more than happy. "I booked your flight for you. I'm sorry, I thought you would freak, but I..." I didn't think he would do something as such. I was happy, but I didn't know how I would repay him for his kindness. Sitting in an unventilated train is not at all what I wanted to do. Thankfully, I wouldn't have to keep finding ways to cool down Rachel. I guess I would have to prepare her a few bottles for the plane so her ears would keep popping. Before I could speak, Matthew put his lip over his mouth and continued talking. "I want you to promise me you'll do one thing. You don't have to promise me you'll do this, it's your choice. Follow your dream and never, never let go of your baby sister." It was something I had to promise him; it was a promise I knew I could never break. On the flight I had Rachel sitting on my lap. I was scared of the future and didn't want to think about it, but I had to. I didn't really know where to start. I knew getting a job at McDonalds was easy, but it wouldn't keep me on my feet. I thought I could try get into acting, but I knew I couldn't act to save my life. I also thought about becoming a dance teacher, but you had to get three years dance experience first, then I would have to spend at least three years at TAFE. It was almost impossible to do, at least at the time it was.
I could see both mum and dad in Rachel, programmed into her like a machine. It upset me. Sometimes I would try to think of something else or someone else, but I couldn't help it. I couldn't take my mind of my mum; no matter how hard I tried. Thinking of her tired me, and I questioned other people, 'Why didn't you persevere to make those that are gone proud?' Now I understood, now I questioned myself, now I thought that maybe later on in their lives they would. I didn't know if I would ever be able to move on, didn't know if I would survive in the world and didn't know if dad knew about mum, and if he did know, I didn't know how I would tell him. I didn't want to have to tell him, or be the one who told him.
I looked in Rachel's eyes knowing that soon her little personality would really be shining though. I saw Rachel as one of the finest babies you could ever lay eyes on, I was sure everyone thought that about there own children, not that Rachel was mine.
There were little screens on the back of each chair. I sat there staring at the screen not really watching the movie I had put on. I rang my friends before the flight asking for their help. I knew that I wouldn't get all the help I needed and I knew I wouldn't have much support. I remembered what Matthew said,' If they're really your friends, they will help you out'.
"Ma'am, sorry, what would you like?" I knew I could hear her repeating herself, but only very faintly. It was like I had phased her out.
"Sorry, I'll just have spaghetti Bolognese and sprite. Actually I don't want sprite, I'll just have water. May I get a cup of hot water as well?" The air host gave me the spaghetti Bolognese, hot water, small juice and water. I must say, it wasn't the best spaghetti Bolognese, but it was filling and warm. I thanked the air host then started watching Disturbia. The plane had finally landed and I carried Rachel off the plane. It took a while, but I finally got off the plane. I put Rachel in the trolley and faintly heard my name. Sometimes when I heard my name I ignored it. I always heard my name being whispered right in my ear, whether someone was there or not, whether a person was really saying it or not. I heard my name again and knew someone must've really been calling out to me. I thought that it may be a friend, or just someone I knew. I turned around and thought I saw an older version of myself. I could've sworn I just wanted everyone to look like me. It was as if my eyes had gone funny, because this face was in mine, but it wasn't my own and it wasn't a dream. I knew when I was awake. I was once again looking at myself through another person's eyes. I was speechless.
"Hi, I'm Carly. Would be nice to meet you…" I had no idea what to say. I honestly didn't care who she was or what she had to say. Who she was didn't matter to me whether or not my mum was there. The only thing I cared about was keeping the promise I made to Matthew, no matter how hard it was. I finally found something to say. It wasn't the best thing to say, but it was something.
"Why? Why do I care what your name is?" My voice had started off loud and almost angry, then finished off in almost a whisper.
"Yeah, I'm not deaf! I'm pretty sure I heard you the first time. Your name is Carly. Don't come so into my face the way you did. It was sort of, scary." I paused. "Ok sorry. The previous day dragged on, so I'm really tired and would appreciate it if you-"It seemed as if we both enjoyed playing the butting in game. I didn't always give people a good first impression. At times I thought being yourself was enough.
"Carly Shagirogen!" She hissed her apparent name to me. "I'm your sister."
"I don't know if I heard right, but you're not my sister. I'm not crazy. I haven't seen you before. I haven't even heard you name before and mum and dad have not mentioned it. The only sister I have is the one I am holding." I could see my mum and dad in this girl, but it didn't make her my sister. If she was my sister she would prove it somehow. It seemed so coincidental she came right now. The day after all the trouble began. I didn't know what she wanted. The last couple days had gone for so long. What was I to believe?
"When I was l-"
"It was obvious we both often butted in. When anyone in our family really, really wanted to say something, or wanted to make a point, we would keep butting in. I wouldn't do it often, but if you'd only gotten to know me within the last couple of days, you would say I was the type of person to but in all the time. "Some people treat me as if I'm some stupid person, but I'm not, so don't act as if I am. Go on, try to convince me again. I'm pretty sure you'll try to." I turned around and went to walk away.
"Look, I know you mightn't believe me right now, but let me explain to you why you don't know me."
"I told you, you would keep trying to convince me I was your sister. You are so lame. Do you actually think I'll believe everything you say?"
"Shut up and listen." My arms were tired from holding Rachel, I couldn't help sitting down on the floor of the air-port. Carly bent down looked into my eyes then started talking. "Look at the obvious. We have the same eyes, nose and ears. We mightn't look like identical twins, but it doesn't mean we're not sisters. If you don't want to listen and want to let yourself think everything I'm saying is a lie, then leave and struggle. I'm trying to tell you I'm your sister and why, but you're not making it easy for me. Look, when I was younger mum and dad didn't have much money. Their solution was sending me to boarding school. I would be out of their hair, they would be able to work longer and I'd have a better education. In the past going to boarding school was so much cheaper. A lot of children went there because of it. In the holidays I got to stay with mum and dad. I hated having to leave at the end of the school holidays. Like the other kids, I got more and more used to being away from my parents. I studied hard during lessons and for a while refused to eat what was put in front of me. I studied hard so I could have a good life. So that when I had children I wouldn't have to put them through the same pain that I went through. Some children liked being away from their family. I told myself that mum and dad were gone forever though I carried them in my heart." She stopped talking for a few seconds as if to remember the days she was a child. "I moved to Adelaide two weeks ago and now work for the disabled. My job is to cook for them and talk to them. Look where we're standing. I didn't think I'd get to meet you ever."
"What do you want? Why are you here now? Is it because mum's…" I kept blinking quickly to keep back tears.
"If you want, you can ring up dad and ask if everything is true. He'll say it's true, but he will come home to look after you and your sister. I know why you haven't called him. I don't think he'd be too happy finding out you've tried looking after your baby sister by yourself. He's the father of the child; he has every right to know about mum and the baby. And what I want is for you and our sister to live with me. I've skipped fifteen years of your life! Do you think I want to skip any more of it?"
"Come on. I'm not that great. Rachel is, but not me." I stood up still holding Rachel. I feel confused and I'm lost. I feel like shutting everyone out of my life, but it's something I know I can't do. I have to talk to somebody. I can't live my whole life like this. I might tire you out and so might Rachel." I couldn't believe she convinced me I was her sister.
"You're my responsibility. I've got to make sure you're happy and survive in this world. You need all the support you can get and you know it. You would know what mum has to do. Don't throw away the people that are willing to support you. Being a nurse was a little tiring. Working the many hours I did could've killed me. I wanted to be a doctor, but didn't want to study for another seven years. I won't get tired looking after you and Rachel. You're really old enough to look after yourself anyway. As in you won't need me twenty-four hours seven days a week. I have paid off just over three quarters of the mortgage, only because the Government helped young teenagers living by themselves."
"You can talk a lot. Not trying to be offensive. I'm just saying. Maybe you could be a lecturer. Maybe I should just stop talking. Thanks for letting me stay with you and for supporting me and stuff." I didn't care if I didn't make sense when I thanked Carly. I just wanted to make the point I was thankful.
"Don't worry about it. Let's go." She gave me a quick hug. It didn't surprise me that the hug I was given felt fake. There was nothing there. That was how it felt with everyone at first. Hugging someone for the first time always seemed like something you had to do, not something you wanted to do.
We went to Carly's home in Fulham Gardens. That fact that we had lived so close together and hadn't seen each other around surprised me. Maybe I had seen Carly but hadn't payed much attention to her because I would've just seen her as some normal person I didn't know and wouldn't know. Carly's home was really nice. The ceilings were white and shiny and the main walls were grey. Outside there was a beautiful garden and seats you could lay down on whenever you wanted a sun tan or whenever you wanted to stare at the cloudless blue sky.
That night after eating dinner and doing the dishes with Carly I went to bed in one room while Rachel went to bed in another. I found it weird that Rachel was in a room by herself. The cot was definitely large enough for Rachel not to fall out of. Rachel always slept with mum and dad and during the day time slept in the room by herself. I imagined Rachel sleeping by herself, but instead of it being night time, it was day time.
I lay in bed thinking of mum. She always gave me great ardor. She would always berate those she loved within reason, but you always knew it was for your own good. I could remember the days I went to primary school, seeing mum as a teacher on that dais inspired me to work hard into becoming a proud teacher. I often changed my mind about what I wanted to be in the future. Her eloquence got people learning and doing the right thing. I used to feign I was a teacher and acted as if I was the best of the best. Unfortunately when I went to primary school, I would get sick every month or two.
I kept thinking about the past and didn't think I'd be able to get to sleep. When I woke up the next morning I went into Rachel's room and saw that she wasn't in her cot. I wasn't thinking and ran straight for the front door to see if this lady had taken my sister away from me. I had to find the sister I had promised never to let go, suddenly I stopped. My heart stopped sinking when I saw Carly feeding Rachel from the corner of my eye.
"Gosh, you really scared me. I thought you were, never mind." I hadn't been running, but was so out of breath.
"Well, good morning. Would take it you didn't sleep too well last night."
"Gosh, you scared me! I thought, oh, never mind."
"I want a child of my on some day." Carly took Rachel out of the high chair and put her onto the baby mat in the lounge room. It was amazing, for the first time Rachel was crawling forwards, not sideways or backward. The smallest changes in babies seemed to surprise me so much.
Watching Rachel grow so fast captivated me; I would frequently say in my head, I remember when you were so tiny. She was still so tiny, but she had still grown so much.
I wanted to go to school, but someone had to look after Rachel. Carly couldn't work and look after Rachel and me.
"I'm going out to look for a job and will be taking Rachel with me."
"You don't have to start working as soon as you can. It's not like you're going to be able to get a job when the hours we work are probably going to clash. You should probably wait until Rachel is old enough to go to kindergarten."
"I need to help for something, even if it's just paying for my own stuff whenever I need it."
"If you want to work, it has to be when I'm not. If you could, I just want you to look after Rachel, vacuum and do the bathroom when it needs to be done. If you do find work, try saving half each week for something. A car maybe, it's totally up to you."
Carly goes to work and Rachel starts crying. I knew from when I was living with mum that she would always cry for a reason, it was her way of saying something was wrong. I make her a bottle and put it in a jug of cold water. After about five minutes I let the milk drop onto the soft side of my wrist and find it is cool enough to give to Rachel. I walk back into the room and Rachel is crawling all over the lounge room as fast as she can; every now and then she falls. The cuteness I see in her makes me a marshmallow. I pick Rachel up and put her in her cot; before I put her down I kiss her on the cheeks continuously. The temperature is killing me, so I put on the air-conditioner and put a sheet over Rachel. She is covered in her sheet head to toe; she always put her blanket over her face when she was put in her cot and was going to sleep.
I sit on the couch and pick up the pen on the coffee table, and then I start chewing the end of the pen. I could sit there easily and think all day, but I try to keep myself from just thinking and want to do something whether it is cleaning or not. I stare at the phone and bite my bottom lip. I breathe out deeply. I pick it up and ring Angela.
"Hello?" I recognize the voice, it's Angela.
"Hey, it's Georgia. Just put my baby sister to sleep. I'm living with the sister I never knew. She's older than me, thought I would tell you. Anyway, how are you?"
"Well, I'm good thanks. I wish were too. Oh, never mind." There was a silence. "You know that boy that goes to our school, the hot one I always check out. I think he's hot anyway. Well I wanted to be his friend on Facebook and he added me. I was on Facebook and wanted to say something to him because he was online. So I said to him, do you like cheese? He sent back WTF. Yeah, I think I've been watching too many movies." I start laughing in the back of my head.
"Could I ask you a question?"
"You already asked me, but sure. Go ahead."
"I want you to come over. Could you come over?"
"Yeah, sure. Is your sister there? She mightn't want me over. You know after today I can't come over for another five days. Just telling you."
"My sister isn't here and it's not like you're going to trash the house. I just want to be distracted from drinking. Shit, I mean thinking." I was hoping swearing didn't become a habit. "Come, please?"
"Yeah, yeah. I'll be there shortly. If you don't mind I'll be bringing my sister with me. Mum works on Sundays. See you soon." Angela hangs up before I can say anything else. She hits the redial button and asks where I live. I tell her and within ten minutes she is already here. I open the door.
"Come on in." Angela tip toes as a jokes and lip sinks while screwing up her face. I push her slightly.
"You don't have to be really quiet. You can vacuum and play loud music while Rachel is asleep and she won't wake up. Once she hits the pillow, that's it."
"You look tired, you should get some sleep." I shake my head as if to deny the truth.
"You know I can't go to school. Going to school later on in life seems stressing. I've been going to school for ages, I don't know if I'll cope. I stress out so easily and it's something I can't do. Not when there is a baby to look after. I want to get distracted all the time, I don't want to think."
"You have to think. You have to use your brain some time in your life."
"Hear this. I've thought about something. If I get a job at McDonald's because I can work hours that are totally different to my sisters, I would earn what? I would earn about eight to nine dollars an hour. If I worked eight hours a day, starting late in the afternoon, that would be three hundred and fifty dollars working five days a week. If I half that because I need to save up for when I leave the house, I will have one-hundred and twenty five dollars, because of tax, less. That would be fine for now, but when I leave the house? Because I hadn't gone to high school I can't go to University. Maybe I will go to school, or maybe I'll become a dance teacher or choreographer."
"Your sister, how do you know she really is your sister?" I tell her what happened at the airport. I hear my sister crying and go to get her, Angela follows.
"Wow, she looks so cute." I change Rachel and am thankful she no longer wears a one piece. I put her in front of the mirror. She sees what she thinks is another baby doing the same thing as her, she laughs. Rachel sees I am looking at this baby through the mirror so she smacks it, but it smacks at the same time. She gives a confused look. "Ha she's funny," Angela says smiling.
I look back at the mirror and all I see are hand marks. As I dressed her more often it got easier. She soon learnt to help dress herself. I clean the bathroom and don't bother vacuuming; it was something I had always hated. Not long after Carly is home. Usually when she got home I would go to work. At times I found it unfair, that I would look after Rachel during the day time while Carly was at work, then at night time if I had the shift off, we would both look after Rachel whenever she was awake. I wouldn't mind if I didn't work in the afternoon until the next morning, but I did. I loved Rachel, but I wasn't her mum. I wasn't going to look after her twenty-four seven. I greet Carly then start getting ready for work; I don't want to walk and don't want to use any money on the bus so I got Carly to drop me off.
It was so hard for me to earn money right now; I made sure it wasn't wasted on bus tickets and food. Every now and then I would buy myself something to eat. I get into work and understand that if I don't make the best of my working time in McDonald's, other people may not want me to work for them and I'll be struggling in life forever.
It's two o'clock in the morning and I get home from McDonald's. My body is tired, but I can't get to sleep as soon as I finish work. I'm in bed and it is now four. I get cold so I turn off the air-conditioner and go back to bed. I can't sleep because I am hot and can't stop thinking no matter how hard I try. I think and think of my mum. I wish I could see her, but it was a wish unlikely to come true. It's nearly nine o' clock in the morning and honestly, I'm buggered. I'm being shaken.
"Rachel's been fed and I've given her a shower. She'll probably want a bottle soon," Carly whispers. I turn over and feel as if all my energy had gone in the process.
"Yeah. Put her in the bouncer, I'll be up in five minutes."
"Well you should get up soon. Don't let her sit in there and cry all day."
"I heard, shut up and go." I often got snappy and acted in an unkind manner when I was tired. I wasn't used to having such little sleep. I lie there listening to Rachel trying to talk to her toys on her bouncer. Rachel stares at her toys waiting for them to reply, but they won't, they refuse to talk. Rachel screams at them, as if to tell them off for being so rude; she is confused. "Aren't they talking to you Rachie?" I take Rachel out of her bouncer before she gets really agitated.
"Hello," it's like Rachel is now the toy which doesn't reply the way a normal talking person would. She was only a baby; I didn't expect her to reply. She understands what hello is and I have been repeating the word over and over, like a song stuck in your head. She tries to say hello, the way she says it is almost offensive; I know she is saying hello, but if you hadn't been around her long enough, it would sound as if she was saying, 'Hey hoe.'
I get off the washing Carly had hung up before she went to work. I start folding the washing and Rachel comes along feeling the need to fold what I've already folded. It doesn't bother me too much; I have all the time in the world. All I really want to do is sleep. I carry Rachel around in my arms and she falls asleep and is looking uncomfortable. I don't want Rachel to get too used to being held and I don't want to hold her anymore; I'm fatigue. When she was old enough to run around and talk, I didn't want to be picking her up.
I go to put Rachel in her cot and she opens her eyes up straight away then starts crying. In my head I am screaming for her to be quiet, but still act calmly and show no sign of stress. If I stressed Rachel would too. I tried to learn as much as I could about babies when mum was still around. I feel as if I am going to drop and feel myself starting to get impatient. I put Rachel in her bouncer and phase out her cries while I sterilize and make her a bottle.
I put Rachel into her cot and she falls asleep. As she is sleeping it gives me time to vacuum, but I hated vacuuming whether or not I was tired. I choose to go to sleep, it was much easier. I would really only be able to get to sleep when Rachel was. I was hoping that when I woke back up I would feel much better.
About three hours later, Rachel wakes up. I don't feel like changing Rachel's backside, but if I don't she'll end up with rashes; I want to be a good sister and do the right thing. I find it stupid that a baby's bum needs to be changed every three hours, but there's no alternative. I'm feeling do much better than what I did that morning.
The older Rachel got, the less I needed to watch her. If she wasn't making noise I knew she was up to something she shouldn't have been. The smallest of things would entertain Rachel, the remote to the T.V. being one of them.
She is finally asleep. The older she got, the better she was at fighting sleep. At the age of one, whenever you said her name she would reply with no, or what. When she wanted to hide, she would shut the bathroom door where there were no windows for the light to shine through, making it completely dark. Rachel would knock on the door until someone let her out.
When I was vacuuming or doing the bathroom I would tip the coins out of her money box so she could play the money and her money box. It would keep her entertained for such a long time. Whenever I wasn't using the bathroom as Rachel enjoyed throwing objects, such as my hairbrush down the toilet.
At seven months Rachel would hold onto the side of the couch and walk around it. At nine months she was able to walk properly. She would go through the cupboards and would make a mess of whatever she could whenever she could. Rachel would always find something to do, whether it be walking around in somebody else's shoes or take nicely folded clothing out of the draws whenever the bedroom doors were left open.
As time went by Rachel got naughtier and would become harder to look after. Now if she was hungry she would go to the cupboard and eat what she could open or go to her high chair and climb in if she could find a way.
It is now Rachel's birthday; she is turning one. It is a Sunday and I am tired. Tired of working and tired of looking after my baby sister. Yes, I did love her, but sometimes looking after her felt like too much. It was such hard work.
I was excited and ready to make and bake food for such an occasion. I needed time to wake up and though I now worked in a dairy, I still found time to do what I wanted. I only worked five days a week.
I got up earlier than usual and started planning out what exactly I was going to do. I had invited Angela and my dance mates to the birthday party that was going to be held and Carly invited all of her work mates.
I didn't want to make too much food as friends' may bring food. I made almost one-hundred bite sized muffins, sushi, meat-balls, two cakes and three or four salads. Everyone arrived and most people had brought food with them.
I met Carly's friend's, but really only hung around with Angela and my dance friend's.
Rachel was finally able to go to kindergarten; going back to high school was much too late. Catching up and remembering every thing I'd learnt nearly three years ago seemed impossible. Of the entire friend's I called, Angela was the only one willing to help me out. She was the only real friend I had. The other students I had called and thought were my friend's had wanted nothing to do with me.
I was now able to work the same hours as Carly and was paying for Rachel to go to kindergarten and whatever I wanted. I saved half of what I earned and the job of sorting shelves in the dairy was all I could find. It was the job I never wanted, but I knew I wouldn't be working there too much longer.
In the weekends I would do contemporary and hip hop classes with Angela. The two styles of dance were quite different from each other, but were both joyful. Hip hop was fun, while contemporary included a lot of technique, but made you feel elegant and flowing.
Doing dance was something I had to do in order to become a dance teacher or choreographer. I had always wanted to become something to do with dance. I wanted to be a choreographer, but I had also wanted to become a dance teacher. Being a dance teacher would help me inspire other student's to become something great within the area. If I taught al ages, then the children would become better in technique, and would have the chance to do a better job than what I did. I decided that working toward becoming a dance teacher was something I was going to do, even though it would take three years dance experience, then up to seven years experience in TAFE.
One of things I had to do was believe in the dreams I dreamt. I had to believe I could become a dance teacher. I had to make sure that when I started, I couldn't stop, I couldn't give up. I never wanted to give up anyway, not once.
I'm home by myself and the phone is going off. It's ten in the morning.
"What do you want!"
"Sorry, but is Georgia there please, or do I have the wrong number."
"What a way to greet your father. You're usually up by now. Your mother there?"
I breathed out slowly. I thought he would have found out by now. "Three years ago, or something, mum died. She had meningitis. I'm living with my sister."
I heard nothing but silence for a few seconds. I knew he was upset. Too upset to ask why I didn't ring him when I last saw mum, though he would already know. Too upset to ask why I hadn't picked up on the normal home phone at mums which we no longer had, which I could, no longer use. It would have gone off when mum left and nobody would be able to answer.
"I'm with my sister."
"I knew that if you couldn't look after her you would ring me. You've done well. You should have rung me. You to me are more important than all the patients I've been treating. I shouldn't have left. At least not for this long."
"No dad! My other sister, I'm here with my other sister. I'm here with Carly and Rachel."
"I'm sorry for not telling you. I just thought that you would think you were missing out on something you never knew. I really hope you forgive me, I should never have kept the truth from you. There's something else I need to tell you. You probably already know."
"Don't worry about it. I didn't go to school after the age of fifteen. I have an English Tudor and take dance lessons. Working hard for little money is not something I want to do right now. I'll probably be doing that for another three years, unless I get lucky. I'm going to try getting into TAFE and University."
"You'll get where you want because you work hard .No, you didn't take it away. I threw that chance away. In life you make mistakes. I guess I've made some of the biggest."
"Don't we all I say." I start laughing and so does dad. He ask me to speak to Carly and tells me he loves me. I tell him she's not home yet. He hangs up, but before he does, he tells me he is going to be home in two or three weeks.
I walk Rachel to kindergarten then go to work. I'm packing shelves at a dairy. It wasn't really where I wanted to work, but who wanted a teenager who hadn't been going to school since the age of fifteen. For now I knew all I had to do was work hard and after all the hard work which would keep on coming, have fun.
I talk to customers as they enter as I do when I get bored. Talking and working at the same time was fun. Sometimes I would prance around when there wasn't much to do, which was…hardly ever. I seemed to be a neat freak. I would make sure all the cans were facing one way; every box of cereal was in line and would make sure the floors were kept clean.
I stagger home as the back of one of my ankles hurts from pulling it in a dance lesson. On the way I get Rachel. She walks all the way home grasping my hand. An hour later Carly enters the house.
Rachel and I say, hi, to Carly and she replies with the same word.
Carly was now twenty-five, I was now eighteen and Rachel, two and a half. I got into TAFE to become a dance teacher and Angela also did. Angela wanted to be a dance teacher and a psychologist. Meanwhile, I quit work for a while and get a Tudor in English. I am going to University to become an English teacher. When I am not in University, I am in TAFE, and when I am not at TAFE or University, I am usually at home. When I was in TAFE I had to learn to take criticism, constructive or not.
Three years later…
I am now a dance and an English teacher in a high school. The funny thing is, I am teaching at the high school I went to. I was sure to be one of the youngest teachers. I was twenty-one. Very early in the morning I would walk to the middle of the oval and lie there, stare at the sky and think of my mum.
One thing I learnt and taught students was, 'it is never too late to do anything,' you just needed to put effort into the work you did. I was still living with Carly.
I got home…
I wake up