28/ 01/ 01
Things are changing around the school. Even the people are changing. Everything’s changed.
From the lessons we’re learning to why we are learning them, how we perceive the teachers who are teaching the lessons to us, to even if we want to learn the lessons anymore.
Even Sally has changed. She seems quieter, more reserved, or is that more introverted? The morning after the meeting in the staff room Peter wanted another meeting with all of us to talk about whether we completely believe what they told us. So we all convened in his room again, Sally almost unwillingly.
“So, what do you think? Are they being straight with us or what?” Peter looked at Zack, Nelson, Sally and I.
“It makes sense with what they said to what we’ve seen.” Zack shrugged.
“I believe it.” Nelson stated. “Coz last night reminded me of something that happened when I was a kid.”
“You still are a kid.” I pointed out.
“When I was younger you dick.” Nelson rolled her eyes at me. “When I was like 8 or something, I went to the bank with my Mom as she was running errands. I saw a cowboy walk into a crowded bank, pull a rifle on a bank teller, shoot him, then run out of the bank again with a bag full of the goods. Then I realized that I was the only one who just saw this.”
“Really? Wow.” I said in surprise.
“Yeah, the same s**t happened to me when I was younger.” Peter said next. “I was sent to my first boarding school when I was 12. It was some Church of England boys school that was once a monastery that got trashed by Henry the 8th. We had to go to services every Sunday morning. And I saw a monk dangling by his neck at the end of a rope from the church rafters. It didn’t take long to realize I was the only kid who saw it.”
“Yeah? Well my story is different.” Zack told all of us. “I saw a reflection in the window of my Grandma’s upstairs spare bedroom of this little girl in old clothes playing dolls. And I saw her pretty regularly, almost the same time of the day, in the afternoon when the sun was setting. You know how when it’s darker outside than it is on the inside, and the window becomes almost a mirror? Only I didn’t see my own reflection, I saw the little girl’s.”
“That’s almost what happened to me!” I nearly jumped up and down excitedly, remembering. “I was 12 and my Yr. 6 class did a school excursion to old Government House in Parramatta Park. Before we did the tour inside the building, when I looked inside one of the windows, I saw a formal dinner party going on with everyone wearing olden day clothes! I could even hear the laughter. Then when we went inside, there was nothing there!”
Then we all looked at Sally for her turn. But she didn’t seem to want to join in with our soul sharing revelations. She seemed really uncomfortable.
“Well?” Peter asked her.
“What happened to you in your childhood to wind up here at this school?” Peter demanded.
“Nothing, OK? Nothing happened. I shouldn’t even be here!” she said angrily, jumped up from his bed, then flounced out of his door for a second (and I was later to find out for a last) time.
Later on that afternoon after arvo tea I knocked on her door to see if she wanted to talk about what was bothering her. But she wasn’t in her room. Then at dinner she didn’t come to the cafeteria either. I was getting really worried about her.
Finally I found her in her room again, but she was packing up all of her stuff.
“What are you doing?” I asked her in shock.
“What does it look like I’m doing? For a school for the gifted, people ask a lot of stupid questions around here.” She glared at me and continued with what she was doing.
“Sally please don’t go. Don’t you even want to talk about this?” I asked her.
“I’ve just spent two hours in Hamilton’s office talking about this. I want to go home.” She said coldly.
“What did he have to say about you going?” I asked her.
“He tried to talk me out of it. But I think he wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to go blabbering about all this to the media. He kept telling me that this was a gift. What a laugh!”
“Why? Aren’t you exhilarated, or even curious, to learn what this thing we’ve learned we can do, do?” I sat on her bed.
“No. I came here because I thought that this school was a place where top grade students came to get into the best colleges around the world. I didn’t come here to join in a ‘Dr. Who’ episode.”
“Chickening out I see.” Nelson suddenly came to stand in her doorway. She’d just come back from the Cafeteria too. “Why aren’t I surprised?”
“Nelson! Not now!” I growled at her, but Sally had had enough. She walked up, shoved Nelson backwards out of the way, then slammed her bedroom door shut in her face.
Then this morning I saw Sally off on the mini-bus to be driven to the local airport just outside of Brownsville. As the driver was loading Sally’s suitcases in the back, I made Sally promise me something. I made her promise that she would at least email me occasionally so I would know she’s all right.
“Yeah, sure, I’ll email you.” She gave me a hug, then became tearful. “Look Elisha, I loved meeting you. But this just isn’t my thing. I was never a good ‘Ghostbuster’ and I certainly don’t think being a ‘Timelord’ is my thing either. See ya, OK?”
Then she got on the minibus. But the bus didn’t pull away immediately, and I soon saw why. Both Sophie and Abdul were leaving too. They both came down in tow with their luggage and friends to farewell them.
Brett was helping Sophie carry her suitcases and I tried not to obviously watch them say their farewells, as Jordon and Numu saw off Abdul. Wow, from our 21 students, we were going down to 18 of us left. I wonder how many others are thinking of leaving now?
Then the minibus started up its engine, and away it went, with Sally inside.
I waved as it drove around the oval and up the driveway to the main gate. Then it was gone, hidden by snow covered pine trees. I sighed and turned, about to go back inside Beta building.
Brett charged in front of me and pushed in first.
“What are you looking at?” he glared at me when I opened my mouth to tell him off.
As I went back to my room, I walked past Nelson’s room as usual, and I heard two voices coming from inside. One of them had an Irish accent. Well, I guess she and Pat are on speaking terms again.
My room felt too lonely, and classes had been suspended for the past 3 days, so I wasn’t sure what to do. So I went looking for Zack to hang with. I knocked on his door, but he wasn’t in. I knocked on Peter’s door, but he wasn’t in either. Maybe they were in the library, which I didn’t want to go to right now. So I went back to my room and played some music.
Oh yeah, I guess I didn’t tell you. Classes had been suspended for today, yesterday and the day before so the teachers and Nell could have one on one appointments with us students to make sure that we could handle what they told us. To make sure we wouldn’t go schizo or into shock or whatever. Like Sally, Sophie and Abdul did. Like their refusal to accept such things. Like their determination not to be involved in this.
I miss Sally.