“Come on girls, hurry up or we’ll be late,” screams Mum down the hallway.
Searching my room for the perfect accessory, my beautiful shoulder handbag with black and white prints scattered all over, lined in a vibrant red. It will go perfectly with my new stretch blotched leggings, red skivvy and dark grey waist length jacket. The reflection I see in the mirror conflicted to how I was feeling.
Poppy’s slumber party next weekend is playing on my mind constantly. It has been three days of keeping the secret, but this time from only one person, Roxie. She has no idea there is so much excitement building behind her back. Every time I look around at school, I see my friends congregating, whispering, and laughing in preparation of the party.
Sometimes I wonder if Roxie knows exactly what is happening. It seems so obvious to me but whenever there are secret whispers of ‘slumber party’ talk, Roxie appears unaware or frankly, just unconcerned. Her expression never alters, her demeanor never waivers, she is like a statue, permanent, constant.
On the other hand, it is beginning to bother me. I am missing out on everything because I need to keep Roxie away while the party whispers occur. The lunchtime gossip about the party, all the plans, games and exciting events is what I am missing out on. Talk of what movies we would watch, what PJ’s to wear, colour coordinating everything, and I know nothing.
Nothing, I’m not part of anything to do with a party I am invited to. Poppy looks my way most of the time, trying to let me know I am included, but she also makes it perfectly clear that Roxie isn’t and as Roxie is my best friend, I simply have to wait for the fun to begin.
As much as it feels wrong that Roxie is being left out, I remind myself that it isn’t my party or my decision about who to ask. It is Poppy’s and if Poppy doesn’t want Roxie there for some reason, well that is her choice.
As the weekend of the slumber approaches and the excitement grows amongst most of my friends, an unusual darkness develops inside of me. The darkness began like a tiny seed, small and insignificant, causing no damage and interfering with no one else but me. I initially ignored it, putting the dark thoughts to the back of my mind, hidden from the world.
Each day the seed grows, more and more rapidly, with such desperation that before I can control it, the seed is like a gigantic tree with over growing roots and branches until nothing but darkness can be seen.
Throwing my school bag heavily against the wall, storming into the kitchen, I rip open the fridge door staring at its contents. School sucks at the moment, my friends suck at the moment and now the fridge sucks too, absolutely nothing to eat. There is never anything to eat in this house.
“Hey Alexx, don’t throw your bag against the wall like that,” says Mum in a stern voice, not even bothering to look up from the newspaper while she sits at the bench.
“There’s nothing to eat as usual,” I reply angrily.
“What would you like?” Mum says calmly, clearly she’s noticed my behaviour worsen as the week progressed.
“I don’t know, maybe food, I’m hungry,” I lie.
Actually I wasn’t hungry at all, I just want to eat something to attempt to fill the dark hole growing inside.
“If you want I can make some pancakes,” offers Mum, remaining seated but giving me full attention.
“Yeah, sure,” I say, still holding the fridge door, not wanting to move.
As Mum moves, around the kitchen, dodging in and out of cupboards collecting all she needs for pancakes, the silence is grows. I have barely said a word to anyone all week, especially Mum and she doesn’t even seem to care. Mum is far too busy fighting with Dad, all the time and now I can’t even talk to Roxie about it.
Every time I need to call Roxie to vent about Mum and Dad, I have to hold back. It will be too challenging not to say anything about the slumber and this is a secret I am determined not to share. The party is the only good thing I have at the moment. I want to cherish this party more than ever.
When Roxie called last night I didn’t know how to talk to her. I couldn’t talk to her. She is still my best friend but I have to push her away until the party is over. If I did that I can go to Poppy’s, have an unreal time with the girls and then next week I will make it up to Roxie. I promise myself I will be extra nice next week, maybe have her over to sleep, just the two of us.
“Are you fighting with Roxie?” Mum asks, as she busied herself with making pancakes.
“You have been in a mood all week and I thought maybe the two of you are fighting.”
“We’re not fighting, I just can’t be bothered talking to her at the moment.”
“Alexx, that’s not nice,” replies Mum, obviously shocked by my response. ‘That is not how we treat people, especially your friends.”
“I am not treating her any way, I just don’t feel like talking. That’s all.”
“With friends like you Alexx, who needs enemies,” Mum mumbles, shaking her head in disappointment.
Who needs enemies? I don’t need enemies but I seem to have them. Mum has been my enemy so much lately, including now. Dad never sticks up for himself so he is just like my enemy, he doesn’t understand how much he is hurting me. Roxie is a definite enemy, she is the reason I am unable to join in with everyone and have fun. All I want is to be part of the group, part of the fun.
“Do you want to help me or stand at the fridge all day?” asks Mum.
“Neither, I will sit and wait. I am obviously in the way,” I snap back.
“Now listen to me Alexx,” Mum says, banging the spoon on the bench, her voice rising in anger. “You have been in a mood all week and I’m not sure why, but if you don’t want to talk about it then I can’t help.”
‘Sorry,” I whisper, barely audible but just loud enough so Mum will think I meant it.
“Is there something you want to talk about?”
I shake my head.
“Alexx, I was your age not that long ago. I may not be able to sort it out but I can listen and try to help, but you have to let me in darling.’ Mum continues, her voice relaxing back to its normal tempo.
I shake my head again, not able to look at Mum this time. The darkness has affected my mind too deeply, it has taken control and I wasn’t capable of talking about it. I know Mum wanted to help, maybe she would even come up with some suggestions, but the opportunity to let her in is almost over and I still don’t know how to control the darkness.