I looked over the worksheet in front of me. A list of words I had to learn how to spell by Friday. They weren't very difficult. Well, for someone like you they wouldn't have been anyway. For me they were torture.

Name: Emily Brown Class: 7B Homework Due: Friday 25th August

Section 1.

Here is a list of words. Copy and complete them into your jotter three times each. You will be tested on these words in a week's time.

Cry By Tie Die

Try Lie My Sty

There was more work to be done after that, but I only had to focus on the top part. That gave me plenty of work to do. It's not that I don't try at school. I do; really hard. The thing is, I am very dyslexic. Words and numbers swim around on the page, and I can't seem to make sense of things. Reading is a real struggle – I can barely make out any of the words in my school books. They all look like black smudges. I love stories, though. Instead of a collection of books on my shelves in my bedroom at home, I have a collection of tapes. Audio books. When I get home from school and before I go to sleep, I choose one and put it into my tape player. I get really absorbed into my audio books – I've listened to all of the fairy tales (when I was younger) and even some classics, like Oliver Twist and Jane Eyre now that I'm growing up. Because it's not that I'm dumb or stupid. I can understand words – lots of them. Mum is always saying that I have an extensive vocabulary. It's only when it comes to putting words on paper that I find it difficult.

Once I had looked over the worksheet Mrs Ellis, my class teacher, came over to my desk.

"This won't be too difficult for you will it, Emily?"

"No. It'll be fine."

"OK. And if you're struggling with anything, feel free to tell me and I'll change the deadline. You could have two weeks on these words if you want."

I hate it when teachers act like I'm thick. If I say I can do something, why can't they leave me alone and let me do it? I know Mrs Ellis was trying to be nice. It's just so frustrating sometimes! I feel like I'm trapped inside my body. The main parts all work as normal but my eyes feel like they have something over them – it's a bit like trying to peer through Clingfilm. Except that with Clingfilm you can just take it away from your in front of your eyes and laugh. The warped vision I have won't go away whatever I do. Actually, I'm being a bit of a grouch. With my glasses on I am fine with long distance vision. It looks just as it would with any other person. It's only reading and writing that I find hard. Really hard. Why else do you think I am in my seventh year at school and learning two letter words?

I was walking home with my best friend Tami. Her real name is Tamara Clearwater but she hates it because she thinks it sounds so posh. To be honest, I think it's a pretty name. It sounds sophisticated – unlike Emily Brown. How ordinary can you get?

The sun was shining gently in the trees as we trudged along the pavement. Tami was coming over to my house so that we could celebrate something. We always do that – every time we see each other out of school, we have to be celebrating something. Whatever it is, big or small, it is usually very silly and extremely random. As we walked along today, Tami was suggesting ideas for that afternoon.

"What about celebrating the fact that it's Friday and the weekend is tomorrow? We could make calendar hats and chuck our school books in the air."

"Good one – but we've done something similar before. What about..." I stopped suddenly. "Yuk! I've just stepped on some chewing gum!" bending down to use a stick to get the gooey pink substance off the bottom of my shoe, I heard Tami laughing her head off.

"Let's celebrate that!"

"What, celebrating me getting gross chewing gum on the bottom of my new school shoes? That's been in someone's mouth! They must have spat it onto the pavement." I shuddered.

"No, silly! We should celebrate the fact that we have bubblegum in our lives. Not chewing gum, bubblegum. It's way better. And I've got a packet of raspberry flavoured bubblegum right here in my bag. We can have a contest to see who can blow the biggest bubble! Then when we get to your house we could make cookies or cupcakes and stick bubblegum flavoured sweets on top... or just round sweets – they'll look like bubbles... I've got a load more ideas too!"

I laughed. You had to trust Tami to think of something like bubblegum.

"OK, good idea. Also, it'll be nice not to have to think about school related subjects in a while."

"Oh, are you having a hard time again? If you want, I'll help you with your homework. I don't mind. We could celebrate the fact that you have finally got some spelling words to learn! You told me the other day that if you had to read another stupid paragraph about balloons that you would rip up the book and eat it."

I forgot that Tami had such a selective memory. Sometimes I think she has a slight problem. That girl can remember anything completely irrelevant like that at the most confusing times, but then forget the names of her brothers and sisters. Although I don't blame her entirely, seeing as she has nine. Five brothers and four sisters, thanks to her parents splitting up and remarrying. I forget which ones are her step-siblings and which ones she is blood related to.

"It's fine Tami, thanks for offering though. I'll ask Sarah to help me later. We're going to have fun, celebrating the wonders of the best chewable substance known to man – bubblegum!"

We continued on back to my house, laughing and giggling about nothing in particular.

Mum was in the kitchen, busy doing something. There were some tasty smells wafting about, so I guessed she was baking.

"Oh Mum, could we please borrow the kitchen in a bit? We want to bake cookies." I asked as sweetly as possible.

"The bubblegum variety!" Tami added.

Mum straightened up. She had been shoving two trays of something into the oven, and the head had steamed up her face, making her hair go curly. She was wearing a bright pink apron. On it were the words "Cooking Mama". Her long brown hair had been tied up into a messy bun, and she was panting. In case you hadn't realised, baking is not my mother's favourite thing to do. She usually lets Dad take over. (Which is OK as far as I'm concerned because my dad is a chef in a fancy hotel that I can never remember the name of and is always experimenting with new recipes at home. Those recipes are deeelicious!)

"This'll need half an hour or so. After that I'll leave it to cool and the kitchen's yours. Although you'll have a hell of a job breaking it away from the foundations."

Tami laughed. I groaned.

"Like the apron, by the way. I didn't know you had one, seeing as you're scared of the kitchen and all."

"Very funny Emily. By the way, your Uncle Albert is here in the next room. He said he wanted to speak to you."

As we went to see Uncle Albert, Tami nearly tripped over our puppy, Buttons. He was adorable – a bundle of chocolate brown fluff with a little pink tongue that licked every spare inch of flesh it could find. I can remember how carefree and, well, normal I felt then.

It wouldn't last long.