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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5. Chapter 5

 

5

“Alright beauties, there’s a carnival coming up that we are gonna train for. I want everything you do to be as close to perfect your age and strength will take you. I want you all to practice you goals, shooter or non shooter, and if you don’t have a ball, I suggest you get one and use it.” Mrs. Hammers looked tired. It could have been the deep lavender eye-shadow and the goop of mascara in the corners of her eyes. Her arms just dangled by her sides like she couldn’t put in any more effort. “You girlies might think it’s gonna make your life a living hell, but it ain’t. If you aren’t tired by the end of the month it means you ain’t working. Now get those butts on my court and keep your passes short and sharp.”
If I was ever gonna get out of this team I had to take action. I decided to refuse. It was the golden opportunity right then and there. I sat cross-legged by the base line with my arms for support leaning behind my back on the thin asphalt. The sky looked like a sleek, burnished ice-skating rink all glossy from the sun. I leaned back, humming to the song on Mrs. Hammer’s radio by her smelly sports bag. The vocals crackled through the speaker. I closed my eyes casually, only really looking through small slits in case Mrs. Hammers came steaming towards me like a bull to a red cape. But she must have been distracted by the team training on the far end of the court because she hadn’t seen me yet. You’d think if I was the one she was constantly blaming and picking on then she’d notice, aye?
I sat there, at least three minutes had gone by now. Mrs. Hammers wasn’t even looking in my direction. I scoffed at her. I’ll just leave. I should have done that in the first place. I dropped my bag over one shoulder and half-skipped, trying to make myself obvious. But Mrs. Hammers ignored me.

 

When I arrived home, I lay on the humidity of the couch, watching The Simpsons. I really adored our house. Especially the satin curtains hanging like heavy silhouette waterfalls. In the winter it was nice to feel the carpet mum shampooed every twelve months as an annual thing. I really liked when the windows fogged up and the room felt dense but warm. I loved when I could lie on the couch like I was now, but with mum’s head on my lap and me smoothing her hair into parts. If only she would back me up when I really needed her.
I missed my father. His smell still walks around the house, like clouds in the shadows behind doors and in the kitchen. I loved the stubble of his chin, the rough hairs on his cheeks. His smell was actually like black coffee and peanut butter. I wouldn’t touch peanut butter anymore. It would just taste like the hurt and mess in my stomach. It would bring back the stinging, salty tears that would carry on and fill oceans. It would bring back that stabbing gripe between my eyes, it was like an awkward but festering feeling I got when I cried. My back would throb my worries away and soon enough I’d be back on this couch, thinking about him.
What I couldn’t determine was where he was now. I’d often thought of heaven as a place of blithe meadows where loathing choked on sweet winds and couldn’t survive in such a wonderful place. But if people knew there was a heaven and knew it was as sweet as cordial and all their relatives were gathered in one place playing hopscotch beneath the cultured, heavenly sky, then wouldn’t you think they’d be excited to go? I didn’t want to die.
Couldn’t heaven just be like another world or planet that people are taken to when they die, like my father? I’m sure my father hadn’t been excited to die. Neither was I.
I wondered if Mrs. Hammers was scared to die? She was tough wasn’t she? I didn’t even know if she believed in God. I go to church and all; I guess that’s the main part of being a Christian; that’s what mum tells me.
I still have probably seventy-five years left for me yet. That’s a pretty long time. To some people it’s not. To some people, life is too short to be sitting around doing nothing. That’s the kind of thing I had done just today when I settled by the baseline waiting for Mrs. Hammers to bark at me like usual.
Was I seriously going to sit around every training session doing nothing at all? I couldn’t do that.
I realised life was too short. Or was it? I didn’t have a clue. But I’ll have to do what I do best and that’s to take action. Whether it is netball or something else. I was a pretty lazy human being.
 

 

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