The Grapevine – November 16th, 2000

Today is up there with one of the worst days I’ve ever had at school.

Firstly, last night my parents were awake until past midnight drinking with their friends. They are doing the same now.

I woke up with an instant headache from being so tired. I don’t have ear plugs so had to sleep with 2 beanies on my head to drown out the sound, with the pillow over my head. This didn’t drown out much noise, but did make my head really sweaty. So thanks for that mum and dad.

When mum drove us to school it wasn’t my day to decide what station to listen to, which meant I had the joy of mum and my sister singing along to Barbie Girl.

When I got to school, as I walked through the gates, I noticed a few girls glancing my way and whispering. It mustn’t be me, I thought, I don’t even really know those girls. I stared them down though, just to be on the safe side. I’m not one to whisper about, if they know what’s good for them.

When I got to home room, it was my turn to say the prayer. I did a generic, “Thank you Lord for this… Thank you Lord for that… AMEN”, job. Oh, I’m not a morning person. Do not make me say a prayer. It will not be meaningful. It should have gone something like this;

“Dear Lord, please make sure that tonight my parents don’t get out of their heads wasted. I pray to you, please make sure they don’t have loud sex that keeps me awake all night. I pray to you that I can sneak out of the house and see my friends. I pray to you that I get sent home from school today. I pray to you that I don’t have to do prayer time again, because I suck at it, I’m not great at public speaking. Oh, and while I’m praying, please make sure Mr Edmonds doesn’t speak to close to my face today with his coffee and cigarette breath while he’s looking down my dress. AMEN”

By the time second period came around, I was already really over today. But then it got better. Oh, so much better, when I got a note passed to me from Chels which said, “How are you feeling today? I hope you’re not too down”.

What is with her mission to make me feel like there’s something wrong with me? Just because she wouldn’t choose to do something like that doesn’t mean I have to be the same.

I looked at her, scrunched up the letter, and dropped it on the floor.

At interval, I sat by myself, eating my apple, reading my book. She apologised. I said it’s okay, but to let it go. She’s completely getting on my nerves.

More girls, different ones, started talking about me then. I knew it was true because the same thing happened, more looking, giggling, whispering behind hands.

During third period, I got another note passed to me. This one from a girl called Anna. “Is it true that you did it? Fran overheard you telling Chels”.

Oh, news travels so fast in this place.

I did what I do best when I’ve been caught out, DENY DENY DENY.

Thankfully (for me, not the girl I’m about to mention), but a girl called Kate who I’ve known since I was 10, is pregnant. She’s 13 too. I feel horrible for her because that must be so scary. The upside for me is nobody is talking about ME now. But… the school has been begging her in the office not to get an abortion. They showed her a video of an abortion to put her off. This makes me completely disgusted. I hope her mum finds out.

Word through the grapevine is that she’s going to keep it.

After school I met a weird boy in the bus depot called Damian. Damian goes to a school about 40 minutes away from my house. He’s about to finish because he will be 18 soon. He has shoulder length brown hair and blue eyes. He is in a Smashing Pumpkins tribute band apparently. He asked me out and I said no straight away, but said he could add me on MSN and gave him my email. Ugh, boys! All of you please just go away.

I don’t really know what’s happening with me and Shane, but I think it’s time we had “that” conversation.

I got home, ready for a long rest.

I checked my email, and there were 15 unread emails from Jeff… who I’ve been avoiding like the plague. He was saying how much he loves me, needs me, needs to talk to me. DELETE DELETE DELETE. I’ve already emailed him this week to check on him, see that he’s okay, but he’s becoming possessive and scary.

I sat down then, and had just taken a bite of my dinner which I made for me and my sister, when 2 of dad’s friends come in with boxes of beer. Then mum gets home. Then the men’s wives come over with wine. Then me and my sister get shooed off to our rooms. Then the loud music starts again, and I have a thumping headache and I want to scream.

I smoked a quick and very sneaky joint out my window so I can go to sleep. One of dad’s friends who was smoking a cigarette outside said into the house, “Which one of you guys has pot, I can smell it”. I stubbed it out and sprayed my room with perfume.

For crying out loud, just let me fucking sleep.

LATER…

The phone rang before and I swear I almost cried because I didn’t want it to be Chels. I am going to kill her if her questioning goes on much longer.

It was Shane saying go out to the house that’s being built in front of ours in half an hour.

So I did.

I hadn’t seen him since the weekend. When he hugged me I smelt his skin, his hair and his clothes. He smelt so good, like he always does. And it make my skin prickle.

I told him what was going on and cried a little bit. But he brushed my tears away like he always does, and kissed me for 10 minutes. He said, and I know this sounds like a cliche, but that one day we’d go away me and him, and I wouldn’t have to deal with this shit anymore.

I hope that day comes soon.

We both have planned to wag school tomorrow and pretend we’re sick. Though I might not have to pretend if tonight goes on for as long as last night.

So here I am, worst day ever, looking at my 2 beanies and my pillow and praying that I can sleep tonight, for fucks sake! I guess praying is something I’m good at after all.

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