Emily was sitting at the kitchen bench when her mother came home. She heard the front door open then her mother bustled into the kitchen with her arms full of groceries.
‘Grab these for me, will you, Em.’
She had her back to Emily and was holding out a couple of milk cartons. Emily took them and opened the fridge.
‘Thanks, love. Oh, what a day. I could do with a glass of wine.’
She kicked off her shoes and turned around.
‘Oh my god, Emily—what have you done to your hair?’
Emily looked down at her feet. She had dropped in at a hairdresser on her way home from school. She didn’t know what had possessed her but she’d this sudden urge to change her hair colour. It was now jet black and matched the black jeans and t-shirt she was wearing. Both new. There was a single purple streak in her hair.
Emily looked up at her mother standing there with her mouth open.
‘What?’ Her tone was defiant.
‘What? Don’t take that tone of voice with me young lady. What on earth have you done?’
‘Mum, it’s only a hair colour.’
‘Where did you get the money for it, and those clothes? You know, I work my backside off to give you a better start in life. I’m not going to stand by and let you throw it all away with your bad attitude.’
‘What, like you did? I’m not that stupid, Mum.’ Emily ran from the room and slammed her bedroom door.
Emily punched the pillow. She felt the hard shape of the green book underneath and pulled it out. Her fingers trembled as she opened the spellbook.
There must be something about mothers in here.
The next day at school Emily went straight to the library. She preferred to spend her time in the library rather than the playground. She was more comfortable there than being around the other students. There was a table in the back corner of the library where she could sit and not be disturbed. The other students rarely came this far into the library at lunch time and the only other person she was likely to see was the librarian, who always smiled at Emily and said ‘hello’.
Emily pulled a notebook out of her school bag. She had been writing in it more and more lately―sometimes just little poems or random things that popped into her head. The notebook helped her capture her dreams as she tried to make sense of them.
If she could write them all down then maybe the dreams would be more real. She started to write and completely lost herself as the words flowed from her pen.