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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7. Chapter 7

 

I was really growing tired of Mum’s work stories. I suppose, ever since dad passed, she hasn’t had anyone to talk to. But each night, whether she be chopping onions or washing potatoes she’d rave about her work friends. Sometimes I wondered if she ever did go to work even at all because these stories of hers were so crassly told. I kind of thought mum’s ‘work friends’ were so doggedly mindless because that’s exactly what it seemed like. 
“Daniel got his hand caught in his pencil tin.” - *chuckle chuckle* - “I had to bend over backwards and press my feet against the desk to set him free. What a looney! But Regan wasn’t any better. She’s really overweight, right? I think I’ve told you this one before – but anyway – she can hardly walk in the tight skirts that she squeezes on in the mornings and you can hear the rubbing of her thighs when she walks. She’s really gotta loose the flab...”
It was endless. Poor mum though. There’s no one else in the house to bore with her stories. I felt sorry for her. She misses dad and I know it. I’ve really seen a lot of changes in her lately too. Things like dying her hair blonde and wearing dark red lipstick whenever she leaves the house.
Her heels were literally having growth spurts and her dresses doing the opposite. I kind of felt suspicious when her clothes were shrinking and confronted her at the table.
“What’s going on with your mum?”
She chewed some rice in corner of the cheek and shrugged.
“What’d you mean?”
 I knew that’s what she would ask.
I stared distracted at the chips in the table. “Well you’ve changed.”
“How?” Mum swallowed.
“You’re wearing new clothes and big shoes. You’re spending quite a lot of money. Our money mum!”
“Now just a minute Kit. I have not been spending more than I can afford okay?”
“I realise it mum. I know you wouldn’t waste money...”
“Waste?” Mum shot. “Get out of here!”
“Please take me seriously mum. I’m being completely honest here. You – have changed! Your dressing differently...”
“Is it bothering you?”
“I guess not.”
“Why is it a god damn problem then?”
“Mum!”
“Just eat your beans.”
“Mum!”
“Kitarna Joy! Don’t make me raise my voice!”
I forcefully shifted the table back and shuffled arrogantly out of the room.
“Kitarna Joy you come back here and finish what I’ve made for you!”  
“I don’t want any of your food scraps!” I called over my shoulder.

I let my hair out of its braid and let it spill on my pillow. All my thoughts were just confined in such a small crowded mind that I felt it was going to explode and I’d be left with nothing more than just shrapnel from my brain.
“Kit!” I heard a muffled voice in the hallway. I reached for my atlas and propelled it at the door.
“Go away!”
“Kit – don’t be like this!”
“What?” I shouted stupidly. “Have I changed so suddenly it’s hard for you to cope with?”
“Come off it!” Mum pushed the door and craned her neck around it.
“Get out mum!” I threatened to chuck another book but she waved her hands to stop me.
“Calm down Kit, you’re like a wild animal. Would you just calm down?”
“I can’t see how I can. You won’t answer my questions. You won’t listen to what I’m telling you.”
Mum hesitantly settled on my personal Alps of dirty clothes and sheets. Her face was unsettled; uneasy. I rubbed her arm, whole-heartedly. Already feeling bad about it all.
She looked at my unironed shirt and rippled jeans with slits at the knees. I then looked down at my blue sneakers, my laces in messy knots. Everything was uncomfortably hoarse. “You’re alone.” I pressed.
“No.” Mum’s voice was sober and sort of hollow. Her eyes were deep with serene wishes. “I have you and that’s more than I need.”
“It just seems you need possessions and...”
“You are my all honey. But there is a reason for all the glitter and goods.”
“What mum?” My voice croaked thickly.
My mother’s tone was as small as a mouse’s as she struggled to explain.
“I’ve actually – as a matter of fact – quite simply – it’s really amazing actually – if you’d understand – I’ve sort of fallen – in love – with a man of course. His name – well his name – what’s his name is a friend. A good friend! Well he’s actually my...”
“I get it mum!” The sharp reply must have pierced the hard crust of my mother’s sedated small talk. She jumped. I could hardly believe she’d fallen in love without telling me. “How could you do this mum?”
“Terry’s a really cool guy. I’m sure you’d love him...”
Love him?” I shouted, shaking the thin walls of my bedroom. “Are you joking mum?”
“I’m sorry?”
“Alright – alright! Come on! I get that you’re alone but you aren’t serious are you? You’re not serious! One week you wear high heels, the other you dye your hair and all for some guy that one day you could possibly marry!”
“Kitarna that’s nonsense! I am not going to marry Terry...”
“Look! I’m fine with the un-living father I currently happen to love! Yes, I love him!”
“I don’t expect you to take this easy...”
“Mum! Take it easy?” I was already kneeling up on the quilt. “I don’t want a step-dad!”
I am not going to marry him!”
“Then dump him!”
“Kitarna Joy!”
“I’m serious! If you know that this stupid relationship isn’t going to work then why get caught up in it! Why – why would you do this to him? I mean where did you meet? I mean mum! How could you – mum! Are you joking? Are you j – jok – joking!” I could feel the sting of tears brim in my eyes.
“Don’t you want me to be happy? Marriage could someday become a possibility...”
“Just get out!” I screamed from the top of my lungs. “Just get out!” Mum’s bottom lip quivered as she sobbed painfully.
“Darling! Kitarna please listen to me!” She pulled on my arms and rubbed my tear-stained cheeks. The tears felt greasy like oil as they rolled down my sun-screened face from earlier. My teeth were gritted and bared in a weak expression. I felt my tongue dry and hide at the back of my throat, choking me and making me gag.
“I don’t want to hear it!”
Mum, no matter how hard she tried, couldn’t stop me from feeling like this. I simply continued my rampant crying as she slowly slipped through the open door.

Saturday arrived in a nippy morning with mid-summer light filtering through my window. I had fallen asleep in my dirty laundry that coated my bed. I pried my eyes open and lumbered through to the bathroom to wash the remains of tear stains from my cheeks and nose. My chin somehow became a snotty mess which I fixed up as well. I trailed the carpet that snaked down the hallway and arrived in the kitchen, poured a bowl of rice bubbles and spread my legs on the couch and watched cartoons.
I heard the shuffles of feet. Mum came looming down the staircase in her oversized dressing gown, the back end trailing behind her, falling from each step. I noticed her smudged mascara that made her eyes dark and chilling. I watched her from the corner of my eye as she slithered in through to the kitchen and grabbed her skim milk carton from the fridge.
“Did you sleep well?” She called.
“Yes I did.”
“Terry...”
I scoffed.
“Terry is coming for dinner.”
“Mum!” I twisted to face the kitchen doorway. “Since when?”
“I called him earlier this week and arranged it.”
“Come on!”
“Look; it’s just dinner, alright?”
“But at our dining table! He’s gonna have to talk to me mum!”
“You’ll have to meet him someday so tonight is a great opportunity.”
“Can we stop talking about Terry for a bit?” Mum grinned through the doorframe.
“Yes we can.”
She sunk in beside me coughing up early morning yawns. I was definitely being selfish. I knew that.
“Did you know that Jennifer got kicked out of netball?”
Mum gasped.
“Really? How can you even get kicked out?”
“I told you Mrs. Hammers is a monster.”
“But what could Jennifer possibly do that was so bad?”
“She was back chatting and deliberately playing offside and throwing the ball to empty spaces – stuff like that.”
“But why?” Mum’s voice was cool.
“She was put in WD.”
“So?”
“She doesn’t like the position. Look mum, it’s a long story.”
“Okay then.”
The cartoons were getting bored. Besides, I was getting too old for them.

Mum made a beautiful barbeque salad and I helped her with the skewers and chicken. Terry was a pretty tall man. His eyelashes were what were astounding. They were thick and long and the hair on his head was just a ring with a bald patch. He wore pleated work pants with a button-up collared shirt. He also had hardly a beard but just grey stubble and his cheek bones were high and raw. His cheeks looked sort of sucked in and his jaw ran sharp and squarely. He didn’t look to bad really.
We sat a fair distance from each other and now and then he’d smile or wink at me.
“So where do you go to school exactly?” His voice was like a half-whisper like he had a frog in his throat.
“Close by.” I answered stubbornly. “King Gordan High School.”
“And you’re fourteen?”
“Yep.”
Terry nodded and finished his dinner. So did I. I suppose he wasn’t so bad. He was kind, I guess. I could tell in his voice and the way that he acted. Mum drove Terry home that night while I collapsed onto the couch and watched a late night movie.
No. Terry wasn’t so bad. But that didn’t reduce the swelling in my stomach from my earlier behaviour. But I was sort of glad I felt this way. I felt bad about hurting my mother. If I didn’t feel bad, I wouldn’t know if she could forgive me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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