First day of school, last year of high school. I don’t know whether I should feel sad it’s starting all over again happy that after this year there wouldn’t be any more high school or terrified that soon I won’t have a safe haven, that this really is my life, that after this year I have to go out and get a job or go to uni or get a internship I have to decide what my life is going to be... yeah I’m going with terrified.
“ELLA!!” the voice of my mum echoes up stairs “GET UP OR YOUR WALKING!” Love the way she shows affectation. I don’t hear my brother James getting harassed so he if properly already up meaning I really should move, I know by now that my mum will leave me behind if I don’t. With that thought I wish I had passed my driver’s test and drag my half asleep body out of the warm doona and into the bathroom.
I look at the reflection in the mirror overhanging the sink. I spend an unusual amount of time standing there commenting in my mind about the mess of auburn hear tangled together in a plait I did up last night half of it fallen away, and the hundreds of freckles scattered boldly across my red cheeks thanks to the sun the beach and the lack of sunscreen during the summer my dark brown eyes not looking half as big and beautiful as everyone else’s stop it my pride puts an end to my low self esteem’s depressing comments it’s not helping and then I splash my face with the freezing cold water before I could think about it.
I come out of the bathroom feeling refreshed and maybe slightly optimistic but only slightly. And I return to my room to pull on the first pair of the school uniform that I found. I tighten the tie so it’s loose and I’m in no danger of being choked. I really don’t like ties their just too fiddley for me and the fact that everyone has to where them only helps a bit. Stupid school uniforms. I stand in front of the full body mirror surveying my profile, no one else can make this uniform look as messy as I can- if it is weird I take pride in that then everyone can deal. I roll up the sleeves of the shirt until they are cuffed just above my elbow. Now all I need are the shoes.
I exit my room 10 minutes later after an unaccomplished mission to find shoes even though I turned my room upside down in desperation I only found my boots just a note, I would like to inform everyone that no matter how utterly gorgeous some shoes are doesn’t mean they are comfortable because those boots are made to cause pain I would I even say they were the devil reincarnated if I didn’t know how ridiculous that sounded.
The steps fell behind me two at a time until I was in the kitchen met with the faces of my expectant mother and my bother not bothering to look up of the cereal he was currently consuming.
“Ella are you ready?” her eyes scanned my outfit and I ignored her sigh of disapproval I would think I she as studying me so closely the answer would be clear.
“Ahh... almost. Have you seen my shoes?” a quickly scan the room avoiding her judgey eyes. “James have you seen them”
He looked up blankly “Seen what?”
“I threw them out” my mother spoke up my look of shock and maybe a bit of resentment must have shown because she started explaining herself “they were old and in pieces I brought you some new ones”
“why would you do that?” I said James got up and left not wanting to be in the middle of a fashion melt down on Monday morning his a smart kid.
“They were barely shoes here try on these.” She put a shoe box on the counter. I approach it cautiously knowing I won’t like them, not to be disrespectful or anything but my mother doesn’t share my fashion sense. I open the box to reveal what was inside. it wasn’t that they were ugly it was that they were just so... ordinary, nothing that made me go oh my god numb at the knees amazement they were just black shoes. Not my kinda thing. As I slipped the canvas shoe onto my socked foot it was clear that this wasn’t a Cinderella moment and I felt bad, guilty almost maybe I was mourning.
“You don’t like them do you?” I look up to my snobbish mother who actually looked nervous wanting to impress .... Me? This is a weird day
“No, no, no I do is just...” I look at her eyes and find myself trying to comfort her “they’re fine I just need to get use to them.”
“ok,” she broke eye contact and crossed the other side of the bench “now hurry up and brush your teeth no time for breakfast and I’ll just give you money to buy lunch” and like that all was right in the world. It was a weird day.