The day before

The day before … 12/11/80*

This is a new pen. Mum bought me five pens to see me through the TAE.

I screamed “Ta Ta” to Mum and Debbie, as they drove off in the Holden to feed Acropolis. I screamed it from this chair at this table because the car was directly outside, and could be seen and heard through the big window. A big window. And what with the door as well, and a lounge chair pushed up there, there is hardly any wall to be seen. No verandah or patio or anything, or front yard. Just walk out that door and you are in the middle of Carnarvon. I see waving, rippling dry grass, tall yellow grass, and beyond that red dirt, then the road, and on the other side of the road, big trucks and trailers behind a metal-wire fence.

And then there’s totally clear, faded blue sky. A seagull swoops up around the tall grey telegraph poles as I watch out the window.

The hot, cooking smell of chicken in the oven. Chicken for tea tonight. Tomorrow I will wake up and think, “Today is the English exam” and my insides will turn over. I will put on my blue skirt, my faded blue skirt like the sky, and a dark blue top. I’ll grab my pencil case, with this new pen, and Mum will drive me to the Civic Centre in the Holden. Tomorrow. Tomorrow morning at 9.20.

Will I pass my exams and will I go to WAIT? Of course I will, because there is no other way; I cannot do anything else. A stock truck comes slowly along the road; it is wheezing into Gascoyne Traders, with no sheep, so it rattles emptily.

The truckies came into Delmonica’s and had strong cups of tea and always squirted black sauce on their food, whether it was pie or roast or bacon and eggs. I don’t work there any more and I do not make strong cups of tea for the truckies.

I won’t live in Carnarvon any more. Gateway to the North West, the Sun’s Winter Home, a good place for the retired when the cold sets in down south. The old lady and old man chortle into town in their Combie [sic] vans and buy a cake at Delmonicas. She will get some cold meat and fresh bread to make them sandwiches, later. It won’t be until they have settled back into the Combie that they’ll find the cakes to be stale and hard.

Tomorrow morning at 9.20. I tell myself, we are leaving town, starting a new life, moving on. But I can’t see past the TAE. The agony, the anxiety, will be over on the afternoon of th 24th. But then comes the suspense of waiting for the result.

Waiting, waiting until January next year! But such a distant point in the future is unreal; it is tomorrow, 9.20am, that matters.


Transcribed in Sep ’09 from journal written in an exercise book.

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