Changes

Ellie is struggling with life at home when she gets the chance to stay in the country with her family for the summer, a chance that just might change her life.

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1. Chapter 1

“ And so I cry sometimes when I’m lying in bed

Just to get it all out, what’s in my head

And I, I am feeling a little peculiar

 

And so I wake up in the morning and I step outside

And I take a deep breath and I get real high

And I scream from the top of my lungs

What’s going on?”

-What’s Up, 4 Non Blondes

 

 

I hit the ground running. It feels like I’m wading through water as I swing around corners and sprint along the pavement. I can feel the presence of evil eyes watching me and can sense a body approaching. As I turn to look at his face he lifts a knife and I’m powerless to move as he-

 

Beebeep beebeep beebeep BEEBEEP BEEBEEP BEEBEEP! BEEBEEP! BEEBE-

 

Fumbling blindly I switch my alarm clock to snooze and retreat back beneath the covers. As I orientate myself the knowledge that it is a school day slinks into my brain and causes me to groan. I lay there for a few minutes caught between an overwhelming sense of dread, and the impulse to get up before I fall asleep and miss the bus. Eventually I fling back the covers, lie motionless as the cold air envelopes me, and then pull myself into an upright position.

 

I stay there for a few seconds before falling back onto the bed, pulling the covers up to my ears and closing my eyes. Thirty blissful minutes later I awaken, look at the clock, let out a series of expletives, throw back the covers and heave myself up. My feet shove themselves automatically into my slippers and I start darting around, preparing for the day ahead.

 

What a peculiar (and perhaps the more suited adjective: infuriating) phenomenon it is, that whenever you are trying to do something quickly the whole world plots to ensure that it takes as long as possible. I spend five minutes trying fervently to shove my books into my bag before I realise my lunch box is blocking their path. Next I labour to shove my feet into my tied up shoes for precious seconds before I relent and crouch down to tediously untie them.

 

While I gobble down breakfast I contemplate my dream, but finding no hidden meaning I continue my preparations and leave the house with five minutes to get to the bus stop. I don’t pause to marvel at the glorious baby blue and gold sunrise, or smell the tenacious flowers that brave the winter cold to display their treasure, but hurry on. Reaching the bus stop a mere two minutes late I plonk myself down on a seat to wait.

 

The wait provides the opportunity to savour the biting cold wind and erratic drops of rain, and to ruminate. My mind finds its favourite haunts as surely as a cat in the dark. First I berate myself for the five cupcakes I scoffed last night. After I have wallowed in these failures for a while I think about what work I have to do for school, which depresses me further. I fight between trying to do the best I can and an overwhelming sense of laziness. Moving on, I have another guilt trip over doing no exercise last night and having not yet procured a part-time job.

 

Finally, the bus rounds the corner, the droplets on its white body glinting in the sun. As one the commuters stand and shuffle slowly to the door of the bus, eyes glazed over and shoulders slumped. I join the mass and board the vessel that will take me to the place that has suffered so much animosity on my part, it could probably use it to power the campus.

 

Rows of neat and orderly houses give way to industrial constructions, then to lush green meadows and then back to doll’s house imitations. I lean my head against the cold damp glass as the bus rounds corners and scales speed humps, jolting us off our seats. Soon my eyes recognise the signs that we are near our destination and I feel familiar dread course through me.

 

Halfway out the door of the bus I remember to thank the driver and awkwardly hold everyone up as I mumble out a phrase of gratitude. I then hurry away and nearly get run over as I stagger across the road. My day improves vastly from there. I practically count the ants as I slowly approach the school, prolonging the distance between it and me. Tragically, all my efforts can’t prevent a five minute wait for the bell outside my classroom.

 

I greet my friends and then suffer the awkward process of standing with our 2 tonne backpacks on our backs while we think of something, anything to say. I manage to blurt out something stupid to fill the silence and it’s met with a condescending smile and a glance away.

 

We file into the classroom and I wait for the minute hand on the clock to inch towards our first lesson. When the time comes we split away and walk our separate ways. I bob among a sea of green and black and let the current drag me forward. Glimpsing faces as I file past I register cheerful laughter and content smiles, and envy seeps through me like poison.

 

Reaching my destination I lean against the dirty, graffiti ridden, chewing gum laden brick wall and wait more long, torturous minutes for the teacher. Ordinary lessons are a holiday compared to electives where I don’t have my friends to keep me company. I gaze unseeingly into the distance, pull my sleeves over my hands, cross my arms and wait.

 

Time passes slowly and recess treads on its heels. I gather my stuff hurriedly –last to pack up as usual- and head outside. Next comes 25 minutes of pretending to be normal (usually failing) and scoffing down all the food in my bag (recess and lunch) because I’m a pig.  It starts to rain, hesitant drops escalating into a steady pour, and the wind whips through our corner like a snake. I huddle further into myself and rest my head on my arms.

 

One more lesson and the bells rings for home time. Everyone rushes towards the gate, intent on a million different opportunities. I trudge slowly along and wait at the bus stop, huddled inside a metal construction that does nothing against the rain.

 

I board the bus amongst monotonous shades of grey and brown and find a seat by the window so I can shrink against it for the trip home.  When I’m not looking out the window I meet the glazed stares of the other passengers with mirrored apathy. 

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