Molly #27

We spent the first night in a caravan park and I started school the next day while Mum and Dad tried to find a house to rent. It was just like starting my first day of kindergarten all over again. I sat there looking at my feet while Mum talked with the school headmaster. He looked like he was a hundred years old and as dry and gnarled as all those trees along the road. His eyes were cold and grey as they looked at me without interest.
When Mum left I was taken to my new classroom by a lady with shoes that clicked loudly on the tile floor of the corridor. She knocked at the classroom door and pushed it open to be greeted by the noise of strange children chattering and giggling. I was taken across the classroom to meet my new teacher, Mr Anderson, who was sitting at his desk reading a book. Slowly, the class started to become quieter as some of the children noticed a new girl amongst them. I could hear the ones at the front whispering to each other and I just knew they were all looking at me standing there in my unfamiliar school uniform.
When the lady left, Mr Anderson stood up with me at the front of the classroom. He held his hand up until everyone was quiet and looking toward the front. “Class, this is Molly White. She has come to join us here in 1KA so I hope you will all make her welcome.” I knew my face was bright red, I could feel it burning and I heard some boys toward the back of the room whispering to each other. I just wanted to run away and I knew the tears were starting to form in my eyes. “Molly, there is an empty desk over near the window so you can sit there. Okay class, it is time now for maths so I want you to open your books at chapter three and we will have a look at number lines.”
I slid into my seat and opened the book Mr Anderson had handed me, but everything looked blurry and instead of number lines I saw rivers of tears running across the page. Warm autumn sunlight was shining through the window and I could see wisps of cloud drifting by in the blue sky as Mr Anderson’s voice droned on about something to do with numbers and lines and hopping from one to four. I thought about the railway line and wondered how many hops it would take before I got back to Stephanie.
At lunchtime I sat on a bench in the playground. It was all bitumen and there was no grass, just lines marked out for all sorts of games. It was like one of those unhappy playgrounds I had seen when we were driving through the city. I looked at the sandwiches in my lunchbox, but I didn’t feel at all hungry because my stomach was tied up in a little knot. I started to think of Stephanie again and began to cry.
After a while I noticed someone had sat on the bench next to me. “Are you okay?” I heard a little voice say. I could see a pair of white cotton socks and dusty black school shoes poking out shyly from beneath a checked school dress.
“I thought you looked sad,” the voice said again. “I wondered if you would like some of my vegemite sandwich.” The voice belonged to a little girl, about the same size as me with a face covered in freckles. “My name is Ellen,” she said.
“I’m Molly,” I said quietly as I finally found my tongue.
“Don’t be sad, Molly. School isn’t that bad when you get used to it. Do you want to come and play handball?”
“I don’t know how to,” I said.
“Well that’s okay, I can teach you.”
She took my hand and we walked across to where a crowd of girls were lined up watching two other girls hitting a tennis ball to each other with their hands. As we stood in the line, Ellen explained that I was meant to hit the ball to the other person with my hand, but it had to bounce before going over the line. If you missed it or hit the ball outside the squares then you were out and had to go back to the end of the line. Everyone wanted to get to the king’s square.
Soon it was my turn and I stood in the square opposite a big girl with short hair. Suddenly there was a tennis ball flying towards me and I threw my hand at it but missed completely. Some of the girls giggled as I walked off to the end of the line.
“Don’t worry, Molly,” said Ellen. “You’ll soon get the hang of it.”
Before I had a chance to have another go, the bell went and we had to go back into class. “Let’s play again tomorrow, Molly,” Ellen said. “You’re going to have a lot of fun.” I wasn’t so sure that I would be able to hit the ball so I was glad that the bell went and saved me from further embarrassment.
The classroom was kept warm by a log fire. Ellen was a fire monitor and she asked Mr Anderson if I would be allowed to help her gather some logs from a box outside the classroom before we went back to our desks.
Ellen told me there was an old man that worked at the school and one of his jobs was to keep the firewood box stacked with wood for the classrooms. She said he was a bit creepy and that I should keep away from him, but there was no sign of the caretaker as I followed Ellen to the back of the classroom. She skipped along and seemed so happy and that made me feel a bit lighter, but the logs were really heavy and I got dirt and little bits of bark stuck all over my school dress when I carried them back to class.
The fire was in an iron box, like a little stove, and I watched Ellen carefully open the door and rake among the embers with a poker. When the flames were dancing around like little devils, I passed her a log and she put it on top of the fire. A shower of sparks and smoke rose into the air and me cough.
When I got back to my desk, I saw that my hands were all dirty. But I wasn’t game to ask Mr Anderson if I could go to the bathroom to wash them so I tried to wipe them clean on my school dress. My hair smelled all smoky as well and I started to worry about what Mum would say when I got home.
Then I began thinking about home and I realised that I didn’t even know where home was, or if we had one. I looked out the window at the clouds again to try and stop myself from crying, but a couple of teardrops still leaked out and fell on my cheeks.
I looked around and saw Ellen watching me. She gave me a little smile and I tried to smile back but my lips wouldn’t move in the right shape. Things improved later in the afternoon, though, when we had some quiet reading time. I picked a book out of a box that was on the floor and we were allowed to sit on the mat in the middle of the classroom and read. Ellen came and sat next to me and held my hand and I felt like I was in kindergarten all over again.

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Molly #21

It finally stopped raining after a few weeks and eventually everything dried out. There was a loud cheer in the classroom one day when Mrs Mills announced that we would be going on an excursion to a rainforest. She frowned at the noise and then said we wouldn’t be going anywhere if we couldn’t control ourselves better than that. When the boys at the back of the room eventually settled down, she told us about how we would be visiting a very special place that was one of the last patches of big scrub rainforest that used to cover most of the coast before it was cleared for timber and farms. At recess, Stephanie and I were excited to think we were really going to be explorers.

I could hardly sleep for the next week until the day of the excursion arrived. Mum packed sandwiches for my lunch in a bag and she made me wear sturdy shoes and long pants, even though I thought it would be too hot in the rainforest. She drove me to school and kissed me goodbye before I hopped out of the car and joined all the other children waiting on the footpath for the bus. It was running late and Mrs Mills was trying to keep everyone quiet and sensible, but there was just too much excitement about the trip. Eventually the bus came around the corner with a cloud of greasy smoke and some of the children cheered. Mrs Mills frowned at them and told us to line up and be quiet.

Stephanie and I sat together on the bus and watched the world passing by outside the window. It felt like we were making the first steps on our journey of being carefree explorers of the world. That was until I started to feel car sick. I closed my eyes and rested my head on Stephanie’s shoulder as we drove along, trying to ignore the way my stomach churned as though it had been dropped into a washing machine. This wasn’t how explorers were meant to feel.

Soon I was in a magical place with a dense leafy canopy, unusual birds and the sound of rushing water that made me feel peaceful. There was nobody else around and I wondered where Stephanie and the other children were. I started to feel a little afraid when I realised I was all on my own, but explorers should be determined to be brave so I started to look around my surroundings. The dense atmosphere of the rainforest was closing around me and the path was wet and slippery. I knew I was lost, but I had to keep moving through the seclusion and smell of decay, carving my way through the scrub and searching for a hidden kingdom. When I got tired, I sat down on a log and started to feel hungry. I thought about the little snack Mum had packed in my school bag and closed my eyes to rest. I could feel the log swaying and I started to feel car sick again.

Suddenly I opened my eyes and Stephanie was right there beside me, resting her head against mine and the school bus was pulling into a car park. I grabbed my bag as we all piled out of the bus and lined up like little soldiers while Mrs Mills read the roll. I could already hear the wind whispering high up in the trees and an occasional cracking noise like something was moving through the bushes. It was just like in my dream.

“Sounds like there are monsters in there,” said Darren. I didn’t like the sound of that but I couldn’t think of any other explanation for the noises in the bushes.

“Don’t be so ridiculous,” said Stephanie. “You’re the only monster here.” Some of the other boys laughed and Darren pulled an ugly face.

“Well you better watch out for snakes then,” he said. “They like to eat girls, particularly cry babies like Molly. They sneak up when you’re not looking and take you in one big bite.” He made a biting action with his hands right in front of my face and nearly knocked me over, but Mrs Mills came over and saved the day.

“That is enough of that,” she said sternly. “Okay everybody, take your buddy’s hand, we are going for a walk on the nature trail first. Make sure you walk carefully and don’t get lost.”

I grabbed hold of Stephanie’s hand and we followed Mrs Mills down the path, surrounded by towering trees that went so high I couldn’t see the tops. Ferns hung over the path and I had to brush them aside as I walked along. I was looking carefully for snakes because, although I didn’t really believe Darren, I wasn’t taking any chances.

As the morning went on we looked at all sorts of strange plants and Mrs Mills explained to us how they all lived together in the rainforest and some plants protected other plants from the heat and how the plants were home to lots of little animals. She told us how the early settlers were timber getters that chopped the trees down with axes.

Suddenly we came to a clearing that opened onto a river. There was an old wooden wharf and Mrs Mills told us this was where the timber getters had once loaded logs onto boats and sent them down the river. She said we could rest here on the grass and eat lunch before heading back toward the bus.

High in the trees I could see dried grass and broken branches and the trunks were covered in mud. Mrs Mills said it was from the floods recently and I was amazed at how high the water had been and what it must have been like here when the water was rushing past. Now it was nice and peaceful by the side of the river and I could hear the water burbling along. I was glad to sit down and rest my legs and I thought how nice it would be to paddle my hot feet in the cool river.

As I ate my lunch I kept trying to imagine what the countryside must have looked like all those years ago before the bush was cleared away by the timber getters. I started thinking about the people that had lived here before the timber getters and what had happened to them.  I turned to Stephanie after finishing my sandwich. “Steph, what do you think happened to the people that were here before the timber getters? You know, the Aboriginals.”

“I don’t know.” Stephanie looked at me over the lid of her drink bottle. “Why don’t you ask Mrs Mills?”

“Oh, it’s okay,” I said, not wanting to attract any attention to myself.

“All right, I’ll do it.” She turned around to face our teacher. “Excuse me, Mrs Mills, Molly and I were wondering what happened to the Aboriginal people that were here before?”

“Well that is a very good question, Stephanie. I’m glad you asked. You see, once upon a time there were a lot of people living along the coast. They moved around for food depending on the season and they had many sacred grounds. A lot of it was destroyed by the timber cutters and the Aboriginal people were hunted away. Around this area they were known as the ‘Bundjalung’ and a lot of them were killed by the white settlers in the early days. Any way children, it is time we started heading back to the bus.” Mrs Mills stood up and told the class to pick up any rubbish from the ground and line up with our buddies.

I sat looking sadly at the water and thinking about what Mrs Mills had said. I wanted to know more; I wished I could say I was sorry to all those vanished people. I wanted to understand what it had been like for them.

“Come on, Molly.” Mrs Mills called. “It’s time to go.”

We walked back along the same path past all the tree ferns and strange plants, until suddenly there was a lot of yelling from behind me. One of the boys had brushed against a stinging fern and was screaming from the prickles in his leg. Mrs Mills took him by the hand and we were all marched back to the bus as quick as we could. I was glad that Mum had made me wear long pants after all.

When I climbed back on the bus I saw Darren’s leg all covered in red spots and Mrs Mills was putting ointment on it. There were some tissues covered in blood on the seat beside him and I could see tears on his cheeks and he was sobbing. His face looked sad as he sat on the bus seat and all of a sudden I could feel tears building in my own eyes. As I walked past his seat I stopped and offered him a lolly from my bag of snacks to make him feel better.

Molly #20

After lunch Mrs Mills pulled out some paints and big sheets of paper and told us we could spend the afternoon painting whatever we wanted. I sat and thought for a long while about what I wanted to paint. I was going to start with a rainbow and a world full of colour; splashes of blues and reds and yellows in the sky and bright green grass with pretty purple flowers; in the corner was a castle made of diamonds with a princess standing on top looking out over her beautiful kingdom.
Mrs Mills walked around the classroom, looking at everybody’s paintings. “Molly, you haven’t even started yet!” she exclaimed when she came to my blank page. I looked down at the white sheet of paper in front of me. “You are such a naughty girl, everyone else has nearly finished. What have you been doing?” I tried to explain what I wanted to paint but the words got stuck in my throat. It was so hard for me to talk to Mrs Mills because she always seemed to be angry. She stood there with her hands on her hips waiting for my answer when suddenly there was a commotion from the other side of the classroom.
Two boys had started painting each other – one had a blue nose and the other had green paint on the tips of his ears. Some of the children were laughing but they quickly stopped as Mrs Mills stormed across the room. She was very cross and made us all pack up our paintings. Instead, we had to get out our maths books and spend the rest of the afternoon doing numbers while she tried to clean the paint off the two boys.
I went back to staring at the rain drops running down the window panes and wished the river would rise high enough to wash away all of our maths books. That wouldn’t make me sad at all.

Molly #19

Stephanie and I sat in the corner to eat our lunches and read a book together. She liked reading as much as I did and we sat there with our heads pressed together taking turns to each read one page at a time. Her brown hair tickled my face, but I never felt as happy as when Stephanie and I would get lost in our little fantasy world, far away from the school playground where we had wonderful adventures in a magical kingdom.

“I’m never going to sit in a castle and wait for a prince,” said Stephanie. “I want to have adventures and explore the world.” She was staring into the distance across the playground where the rain continued to pour down.

“I’m going to do that too. We can explore together and discover our fairy wings and fight bullys and do all sorts of things.”

“Can you imagine,” she said, “A world where everything is coloured like a rainbow and you can fly through clouds made of fairy floss?”

“And the stars are made of sprinkles and you can taste them on your tongue.”

“Where we can chase dragons in the rain and sing songs together by our campfire at night.” She leant her head against mine and giggled. I smiled as her brown hair danced against my cheek.

“Yes,” she said, “That’s what we will do when we grow up!”

The sound of the school bell broke the magic and we had to get up and go back to class.

Molly #18

It started raining again that afternoon and I could hear it pouring on our tin roof all night long. I lay in bed listening to the rain and wondering if it was ever going to stop. It gurgled down the drain outside my bedroom window and was so noisy that I couldn’t sleep, so I hopped out of bed and went into Mum’s room.

“Mum,” I whispered. “Mum, are you awake?”

“What is it Molly?” Mum said in her sleep.

“I can’t sleep. I’m worried about the rain.”

“Oh honey, there’s nothing to worry about. Hop back in bed sweetie and think about something nice.” I stood there for a while but she had gone back to sleep, so I went back to bed and lay there with my eyes open in the darkness. I couldn’t think of anything nice, all I could hear was the rain.

Eventually I did fall asleep and when I woke up in the morning there was water everywhere. The sky was damp and grey and the farm over the road looked like a lake with trees poking up out of the water.

I thought Mum might let me stay home from school for the day because it was so wet, but instead she dressed me in a yellow raincoat and gumboots and we walked to school with the rain dripping off my hat. The rain wasn’t so scary in the daylight after all and I began to enjoy walking along the footpath where everything was soaked and little streams flowed down the gutter. The grass looked drowned and sad and I could feel the soft cold mud squelching under my boots as we walked along. Mum wouldn’t let me jump in any puddles but every now and then I was able to make an extra splash as I went along that sent water spraying everywhere.

“Careful, Molly,” Mum said, “You don’t want to get your school dress wet or you’ll catch a cold.”

Once we reached the school, Mum wiped my face dry with her handkerchief and gave me a kiss goodbye on the cheek. I dropped my school port on the verandah outside my classroom but there was nobody there as all of the kids from my class were down at the back of the playground watching the river boiling and churning with murky brown water where normally it just bubbled along quietly. I ran down to join them and was amazed that I couldn’t even see the footbridge downstream any more as it was completely covered by water. I stood there staring at the water rushing past and wondered how many rain drops it took to make the river run so fast.

Some of the boys were yelling and throwing things in the river and I wondered if they would be turned into donkeys when Mrs Mills caught them. A log came down stream, swirling around in the fast flowing water. “There goes a boat!” somebody yelled out. I wouldn’t like to be on a boat in all that muddy water. “Let’s sink it!” The boys started throwing rocks and sticks at the log to see who could hit it first, but none of them got anywhere near it.

I wondered what the fish in the river thought about all those rocks falling on them. I could picture them looking up at all the wet children standing against the fence on the school playground. Was it fun for them to jump out of the way of falling rocks or were they scared? Or maybe they had all been washed away in the flood and weren’t watching us at all.

I heard one of the boys say that if it kept raining the river would wash the school away. That didn’t seem possible to me, as the school was so high above the river. But I started to get worried about it because the river was already high from the rain over night, so maybe it didn’t have that far to go after all.

All morning in class I worried about whether the river was going to wash us away and every time someone came in or out of the classroom I looked through the doorway to check if the river was coming yet. I tried to think of which would be the best way to run. I thought of asking Mrs Mills what she thought but she was sitting at her desk frowning so I didn’t say anything.

As the morning went on, I sat in class and watched fat rain drops running down the grey windows. I pretended they were racing each other to the bottom of the window pane and I kept my eyes fixed on one drop at a time until it won the race. Sometimes the rain drops would stop, as though they had run out of breath, until another drop bumped into it and then they would both race all the way to the edge of the window pane.

It was still raining at lunchtime but to my relief the river was no higher than it had been in the morning. It was so wet that we weren’t allowed in the playground and had to sit on the verandah outside the classroom to eat lunch. It was very noisy with all the children talking together and the boys kept running up and down on the wooden floorboards. One of the boys pulled out a ball and started throwing it around until Mrs Mills came out and told them to sit still and behave.

Molly #14

One day a man come into the classroom with a guitar on his back. Mrs Mills said his name was Neil and he started playing some songs as the class sat on the floor and listened. Neil had wild fuzzy hair and holes in his jeans and his guitar sparkled like diamonds. He was tall and spoke softly, but when he started playing the songs were so beautiful that I couldn’t stop my feet from moving. I enjoyed it when we were allowed to sing along and I loved the way singing made me feel so good, as if something alive was coming out of my body.
When I got home I told Mum that I wanted to play the guitar. “Perhaps when you get bigger, Molly,” she said. “You know, girls don’t usually play guitar though, maybe you should just be a singer.” But I was already bursting with music and I couldn’t stop thinking about Neil’s sparkly guitar and how the beautiful notes fell from it like starlight as I walked around the house singing ‘Morning Has Broken’ again and again.
“Oh Molly, stop singing,” Samantha yelled from her bedroom, “You are so hopeless. I’m trying to do my homework.” I could hear the radio that was playing in her bedroom get louder and she slammed the door shut, so I went into my bedroom and sang to Mr and Mrs Bear as they sat on my bed listening to me.
I sang about being followed by a moon shadow, and although I didn’t really know what it meant, I liked the sound of it, sort of mysterious. I also liked singing that other song about things blowing in the wind. I felt like I knew what that one meant; something that you can’t quite name, but it is out there anyway, blowing in the wind like a butterfly and if you could only catch it you would find the answer.
Every night I sang while I was having my bath, trying to get my voice as low as it would go as I sank down towards the bubbles. Then I tried to sing really high like an opera singer and I lifted my face up to the bathroom ceiling. “Molly!” Mum called from the kitchen, “Stop being so noisy in there and hurry up and finish your bath.”
“Okay Mum,” I called back. I felt like I had finally found what I wanted to be when I grew up. “I listen to the wind, to the wind of my soul…”

Molly #13

I was not so good at numbers at school, but I enjoyed playing with the blocks because I liked all their colours and the way they could be stacked together to make pretty patterns. Mrs Smith tried to explain to me how the red rods were worth two and the green rods were worth one and that if you put them together you had three, but I could still only see two rods so I just didn’t get what she was talking about.

As the school year progressed I began to learn how to do handwriting as well. With my little fingers clutched around a wooden pencil, I had to take down the words Mrs Mills had written on the board and put them in my exercise book. No wonder it was called an exercise book because by the end of the day my fingers were so sore from gripping the pencil it felt like they had run a marathon across the pages. As my fingers got tired my hand would drag over the page and smudge all the letters until I couldn’t tell if I had written ‘dog’, ‘fog’ or ‘bog’.

Every now and then the end of my pencil broke and I had to put my hand up and ask Mrs Mills if I could sharpen it. There was a mechanical pencil sharpener bolted to a cupboard and as I turned the handle it ground the pencil until it looked like a little sausage being eaten by a machine. Sometimes my pencil ended up so short that I could barely hold it in my fingers. Then the words danced all over the page and I couldn’t follow the correct slope at all, no matter how hard I tried, until the words eventually got washed down the slope by a flood of tears and Mrs Mills told me again how messy my writing was.

Once we were able to write letters and words, Mrs Mills started teaching the class about composition, where we had to copy down sentences from the blackboard about sly brown foxes and lazy dogs, before making up our own sentences. I couldn’t think of anything to write so Mrs Mills suggested that I write about a family pet. I sat and thought for a while and then decided I would write about the cat and how he was grey and fat and he always sat. Mrs Mills walked around the room as we were busily writing and she stopped to look over my hunched shoulders at my book. She pointed to the page with her ruler and told me there was something missing and that it was far too untidy. She said it looked like a spider had spun loopy webs of letters across the page and I had to fix it up before I could go home. I stared hard at the page for ages, but I couldn’t work out what she wanted me to do that would make it look any different so I just traced over the letters again with my pencil. That just ended up making an even bigger mess and the fat cat still sat, but now he was looking black from the pencil instead of being grey.

Later on we were given work books where some of the words in the sentences were missing. I took my pencil and filled in the gaps, sometimes using ‘to’ and other times using ‘too’ because I figured at least some of them must be right. None of this made any sense to me and we seemed to do it for hours after lunch until I could hardly keep my eyes open any longer.

The best part of the school day was when I was allowed to take books home and read them overnight. Once a week we went to the school library and we were allowed to borrow two books at a time. The first time I went into the library I just stood there amazed at how many books there were, all lined up in shelves that looked like they would have reached all the way up to the stars if the library roof didn’t stop them. There were so many books to read that I didn’t know where to start. I just wanted to sit there forever and read every single one of them.

Molly #12

When I got home I played with my dolls and teddy bears and tried to forget about school. I had two favourite teddy bears; one was a soft pink bear with a bright pink ribbon around her neck that I was given when I was a baby. The other was an old scruffy brown bear that had belonged to Stephen when he was little. One of his eyes hung loose and he was missing lots of fur on his body. I called them Mr and Mrs Bear and I loved them both so much that they shared my pillow and I hugged them every night as I fell asleep. Sometimes when I woke up in the morning Mr and Mrs Bear had slipped right down under the blankets to my feet.

Now I was at school I sat Mr and Mrs Bear on my pillow and read to them. Mrs Bear looked very interested and leaned toward the book, but scruffy old Mr Bear looked a bit bored as his loose eye dangled down. I think Mr Bear was a bit sad sometimes and longed for the days when he was a strong, young bear with lots of nice fur. I tried to make him happy again with my reading.

“Molly!” Mum called out from the kitchen. “It’s time for bed sweetheart, you’ve got school tomorrow.” I could hear the sound of the jug boiling as it blew a whistle of steam.

“I’m nearly finished Mum. I’m just reading my book.”

“Five more minutes then, while I have a coffee.”

“Okay Mum.” I settled myself back down on the bed, lying on my tummy with my knees bent and feet crossed in the air; Mr and Mrs Bear were waiting expectantly. “All right guys, let’s find out about the cow in the canal. ‘Once a cow was eating grass…’”

Molly #11

After lunch we were allowed to sit on the floor on little mats while the teacher read us a story about Harry the Hairy-nosed Wombat and his fight against men who wanted to build a new road over the top of his house. Mrs Mills let us lay down as she read about Harry’s burrow in the desert. My eyes felt heavy so I closed them for a minute while her voice droned on.

It was nice at the end of my burrow, all curled up in a ball sound asleep. From far above, I could hear the distant sounds of daytime, birds singing and the wind in the trees. A human voice could be heard from far away, but I was so snug that I ignored it. Then I thought I heard my name being called — “Molly,”— but that couldn’t be right when I was away out here in the desert. It got louder: “Molly! Molly, wake up.” Suddenly there was a hand on my shoulder and I sat up on my reading mat, blinking my eyes against the bright sunlight. Some of the boys were giggling behind me and I could feel my cheeks getting hot. I wished I was back in my burrow.

After reading time, Mrs Mills took the class outside for a photo. The boys were pushing each other and being stupid until Mrs Mills yelled at them to stop it. She lined us all up in rows, with some of the boys standing on a bench at the back and a row of children standing in front. I stood with Stephanie but I could feel Darren’s knees digging into my back. I tried to ignore him and stood really still because I didn’t want Mrs Mills to yell at me, but I didn’t feel at all like smiling for the camera.

Eventually school finished for the day and I ran to the front gate to find Mum waiting under a big pine tree talking to some other mothers. “’Bye Stephanie,” I called, waving my hand.

“See you tomorrow, Molly,” she yelled back.

‘Looks like you found a friend,” said Mum. “How was your first day of school?”

“It was horrible,” I pouted. “Some boys were mean to me”.

“Oh Molly, that’s not very nice. I’ll talk to Mrs Mills; I’m sure tomorrow will be better. The second day always is.”

“Do I have to come back?” I whined. I couldn’t see how it would ever be better.

“Of course you do, Molly. You’re a big girl now”. I didn’t feel like a big girl anymore. I could feel hot tears welling up in my eyes again and I just wanted to get as far away from the school as I could.

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