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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8. Chapter 8

 

8

I went to training that Monday. Mrs. Hammers got away with wearing a pair of sweat pants with light worn-out patches and a shirt that wrinkled just below her waist.
I didn’t want Jennifer to think I was into netball. Well I wasn’t exactly interested or anything.
“Nice to see you here Kit. No need to get my gun out.”
I just hoped that was a joke.
I was sort of thinking of buying a netball. I was positive my mum would go along with it. She’s the one who wants me to do netball.
“Get a ball girls; one between two – nice sneakers Kit.”
I laughed, but quietly.
I really wondered if I just got over my rude, snarling self then maybe I could befriend Mrs. Hammers so that she wasn’t so hard on me. I didn’t want to suddenly whimper into a small coach’s pet but I wanted to be nice. If I was going to be in her team than like she said, I had to clean up my act. And I realised it.
Mrs. Hammers glowed in the sunshine, her hair tied back into a simple pony tail. In spite of her smelling as bad as her sports bag and sneakers I continued playing on her team. Alice and Lola seemed pretty bugged I was surviving in front of Mrs. Hammers. To be honest, compared to my first training I was getting a lot better and Mrs. Hammers was a lot calmer with me. Perhaps she really was right. Perhaps it was true that she saw potential in me and needs me for the carnival.
 

That afternoon I raced home from the corner where the bus dropped me off, ran home and flew open the flyscreen door, rushing through to the kitchen. Mum was there sipping a coffee, leaning against the sink and Terry was sitting at the dining table with a hot mug in his hands.
“Hey honey.” Mum smiled. I managed an awkward smile in front of Terry then shepherded mum into the other room. “What’s up?”
I slipped my bag from my shoulder.
“I can’t talk to you in front of that guy all the time. I don’t really feel comfortable.”
“Okay, what’s the problem?”
“Well – I was kind of hoping you could bring me out shopping to get a netball.”
“A netball?”
“Yeah.”
“Well how much do they cost - because of course I’d get you one.”
“Yes?”
“Ah-huh.”
“That’s – thanks mum!”
I squeezed her around the waist.
“Alright. Do you have homework to finish?”
“Yeah...”
“Go!” She pointed to the staircase with a filed sapphire fingernail and grinned. I grabbed my back and hurriedly skipped up the stairs jumping two at a time.

 

The following training session I brought a brand new netball with the small emblem of the Olympic rings on it. Mrs. Hammers called me over while the girls did suicides and grape vines.
“Yes?”
“Here’s the deal Kitarna. I’m giving you the choice right now of leaving or staying. I just want to let you know that I think you’d do great in this team. But then again, if you want to go that’s fine. So what’ll it be?”
I stared at her wrinkled brow then down at her flaky-skinned arms.
“If it’s alright Mrs. Hammers,” I began, “I think I’ll stay.”

 

I watched Jennifer in the distance, as she came storming toward me. Her face was all muddled; her eyes furiously blinking as she approached. Her freckles swarming her nose like I’d never seen before. I understood she was angry.
“Jennifer? Is this about netball?”
“Why are you still on the team?”
“I chose to stay Jennifer.”
“Well isn’t that a big change Miss. Horrific!”
“I know Jennifer! I thought I hated it at first okay? But I’m giving it a go.”
“You bought a new netball, your gelling your hair and putting it in pony tails, your obeying every word Mrs. Hammers speaks like it’s pure gold and your playing netball for goodness sakes! You’re turning into Alice or Clara; can’t you see it?”
“I am not!” I denied. “You can’t say to me that I should just follow you whatever you do. Yes, I started netball because of you. But no I don’t want to quit. You got yourself kicked off okay? You did! You did it all on purpose Jennifer, it’s not my fault.”
“It’s too late to see it. You’re contaminated.”
“How can you say that when you had this netball idea in the first place?”
“I can’t believe your being so selfish! No matter whose fault it was, I’m off the team. Can’t you show a little courtesy for your best friend?”
“No I cannot!”
Jennifer glared at me, but almost through me as if she were staring behind me. “Fine then Kitty. We aren’t best friends anymore.”
“I find that so stupid but okay. If you’re gonna be stubborn then be my guest. I’m not going to be your little pet you carry around in your trouser pocket. From this day on I’m an independent...”
“Idiot!” Jennifer howled in the most maggoty way she could.
I kicked at her feet. She turned and ran away taking her hot temper with her. I was sort of happy she was away from me. The weight of pressure she put on my shoulders was a burden I could not carry. Besides, it’s hard to play netball with that sort of elephant on your back.

 

Terry took mum out to dinner so I stuck around at home. There was nothing much to do. My first idea would be to invite Jennifer over so we could hang out. But of course that wasn’t an option. I went upstairs and scanned my bookcase. There wasn’t much good in looking there. I’d read every book at least fifteen times. The covers were tattered and ripped; pages were falling out, hot chocolate stains on the contents page. I wandered back downstairs and poured a bowl of Cheerios. But then had to pour them back into the box because there wasn’t any milk.
I wondered if my mother would ever marry Terry. If Terry would ever be my step-father. I shivered at thought. Of course it was too early for that. Then again I didn’t know how long they had been in love. Maybe she was secretly dating him in her emails or when she went to work, she was really going to see him. I didn’t want mum to keep anymore secrets. I didn’t know how many she actually had. My trust in her was wearing thin. She would scare me again if I asked her about anything else. Maybe we were going to move into farm with a barn of animals because out of mentally psycho behaviour she burnt the house down.
But of course mum wouldn’t have too many secrets. I had secrets but I would always tell them to Jennifer.
Now she was probably forgetting them. She was probably forgetting everything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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