K is for Kit


How would you feel if your mother had no one else to talk to but you?
How would you feel if a bad-tempered coach physically forced you into a netball team you never dreamed of joining?
How would you feel if a giant gum tree fell through your roof?
How would you feel if your name went suddenly from Humphrey to Dwhite when your mum’s new boyfriend elected himself step-dad?
How would you feel if your best friend wanted something, couldn’t have it and began to blame you?
How would you feel if you suddenly realised you wanted exactly what your best friend almost kept, but didn’t have anymore?
And how would you feel if Brooke Bradley just came along and changed your perspective on everything?
That pretty much covers it.
Welcome to my life.

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2. Chapter 2

 

2

I lay enveloped in the Luke-warm bathtub with islands of bubbles floating around. I skewed the water with my finger.
 For the first time, even though I physically was, I felt alone.
Mum was totally onto the idea of netball. Mrs. Hammers had called earlier, expressing I had a hidden talent.
I quote she told me, “You got no style and you got no real movement. You’re as mealy-mouthed as anyone I can imagine!” Some hidden talent I’d say.
I swallowed my thoughts and worries and just enjoyed the water, despite it being cold. But I couldn’t just leave this matter or lock it up in the closet and forget about it. I couldn’t just go ahead and let Mrs. Hammers taunt and tangle me in this netball situation. The only person who was really excited about the whole idea was Jennifer and her pee-brained thought of me starting this.
The first thing I told myself after practice, was that if I ever went back to that joke of a coach and that netball court I was going to bring my own sneakers.

Later that night, as I flagged on the couch, I watched the ABC News. My legs swallowed down the side of the couch, heavy like cumbersome logs. My mouth felt unnaturally dry, with a brine taste parading up and down the walls of my throat. I eyeballed the television with full concentration, gaping at the screen like a feather-brained lump of noodle, paying full attention to something I would otherwise never watch. No matter how many times the teachers at school lectured us on how old we were and how we were to watch the news and take responsibility to know about what’s happening around us. I chewed on the hem of my sleeve.
A young woman on the television was sitting behind a desk – goggling at me, holding white papers just beneath her nose with undernourished features that built her up as a spiral-haired news woman. As she spoke, her eyes glowed like a limelight, her chin bouncing around the screen. Her head was in fact, shaped like a light bulb, and screwed between two small shoulders, so tight to sit vertically in line with her earlobes. Her voice was divine. She had an original, blamelessly soft tone, perceptive of every sentence to be spoken in clear rhythm.
“Tonight as the investigation digs deeper into the case of as to why the teenagers living in the littler suburbs haven’t yet come clean,” there was a pause, “Referring to NRL Touch, the Panther’s coach is still working on improvement for the coming season...” – “...”The next news update will be during later night hours. Now for the finale of Call the Midwife...then the reality sitcom...I’m Tilly Helen...have a good night...”

 

Mr. Collins brought the Art class out to the bushland area where we could paint a pastoral piece using secondary colours and of course the glorious shading technique so to speak.
Jennifer and I set up our canvases next to each other.
“I don’t want to do netball.” I confessed. Not like I had made it less clear before.
“I know.”
“I can’t see why Mrs. Hammers is such a monster.”
“It’s just the way she is. She’s a coach any-hoo and she’s – you know – just doing her job.”
“She’s a monster Jen. Who in their right mind would want to be coached by some ghoul.”
“Hey! I’m in my right mind and I decided to do something I enjoyed. The criticism and violence in a coaches voice is something you put behind you. Something you can get used to or forget about. At least I like it.”
“Just coz you like it, doesn’t mean I have to as well!”
“I never said you had to like it.”
“But did you see the way Mrs. Hammers spoke to me! You could press a knife against someone’s back and you’d feel just as much fear.”
“You had a choice to walk away.”
“I came to watch you!”
“Stop it right now Kit, you’re giving me a headache. If you don’t want to do it, go talk to your mum or the principal.”
“Mum is totally into it all. That’s what’s making me so miserable. There’s no way of fighting this. I’m gonna do netball.”
“Really?”
“Yes. But of course not willingly. I could sue right?”
“Sure.”
“No seriously...”
“You don’t hate it so much that you would go that far would you? Seriously Kit?”
“I have rights!” I yelled.
“Come off it.” Jennifer laughed. “You’ll get over it. It’s not that bad.”
“Maybe throwing a netball around isn’t so bad, but Mrs. Hammers is.”
“Get over it Kit. I haven’t met someone ever in my life with so much passionate hatred for something so silly.”
“Are you my friend or what?”
“I am so!”
“Then can you at least act like it instead of always being against me.”
Jennifer slowed her painting.
“Fine then. You don’t like netball, so what? But I don’t want to go through a painful hour of training with you constantly crying for help.”
“Oh crap Jennifer!”
“You quit, don’t quit or shut up about this.”
Jennifer moved her easel, leaving me feeling sombre and stark.

 I lived in an awful world where if you can’t beat ‘em, join them. In my case, there was only really one option, I decided...

 

 

 

 

 

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