The wooden floor was hard. The sleeping bag couldn't keep it all getting to me. Too many thoughts were creeping through my mind, thoughts like 'I can't believe we got into this mess', 'What were Mum and Dad thinking?', 'Who was that girl?'. A lot of full-moon light was coming through the window, too much for me.
To summarise, I couldn't sleep at all that night.
I got out of the bag at 5:30 AM, when I decided I couldn't last much longer in it, pretending and trying to sleep. Mum, who was in the kitchen, was the only one to greet me, saying, "You're up early.",
"I just couldn't wait to get my new uniform." There was an element of truth in that. We were heading up to my new school to buy a few lots of their uniform for me, Tessa and Neville and the other things. Mum was also going there to see if she could get a teaching job there. Then we were grabbing our new exercise books and stationery from wherever we could get them.
Mum looked at me with that 'I don't believe you' face. "We're not going until all three of you are ready. Make your breakfast."
While I ate my Milo Duo, I asked Mum, "Where's Dad?" Usually he would be the first one to greet me. Maybe that was because I had been waking up at 7:45, not 5:30.
Mum said, "He's gone to Pakenham to try and get employed at the livestock exchange there."
I dropped my full spoon, which fell back into the bowl. Pakenham was all the way on the other side of Melbourne. "Pakenham? As in, Pakenham, the town all the way on the other side?"
"Yes," replied Mum. "It was the nearest place to here he could find. He couldn't find a property nearby for sale."
When Tessa and Neville came in and Mum broke the news to them, they couldn't believe it. It was a nine to five job, meaning we would only get the morning and evening to spend with him. Only a few fun hours with him. It was getting worse as each hour passed.
The day wore on and at the new school, we came across the principal, Mrs Honeysett, who began to lecture the three of us on the strictness of this school. I really wanted to say that we knew them, how they were the same at every single school, but the more this went on, the scarier I realised she was.
Luckily, Mum saved us by saying, "Don't worry, Mrs Honeysett, I'm sure they will understand while they're at this school. I assure you they are quick learners. We need to get their uniforms and such."
"Alright then," replied Mrs Honeysett. "I will begin the interview in my office at 12:00."
"Good. I'll see you then." For a principal with a sweet-sounding name, I think she was once in the army, and not as a humble nurse, mind you.
The day continued. We got our uniforms and our other things as well. The uniform shirt was one hundred and ten percent plain white, not even the school logo, not even the name, not even the motto, which was 'Discipline, Encouragement, Achievement.' The shorts were black. That was the only word to describe them. Black. Same for the socks, shoes and jumper. When we put them on, we looked like people from a black-and-white film. The trousers were a dull navy blue.
We spent the rest of the day putting our names on our new things and waiting for Dad to get back. He did at three. "Sorry I'm late. Melbourne's a bloody maze! I'm going to have to leave at eight!" Great. Seven less hours per week to spend with Dad.
Dad got the job. He was told there and then. Apparently the boss was pleased with his expertise. Dad is definitely the best man to have with you when you're working with cattle.
That was a non-typical Friday.
I feared what would be in store for me on Monday, when I started at my new school.