LadyBug Converse

My Ladybug converse brush silently against his battered sneakers as he says goodbye. His hug is so tight and desperate, I know he never wants to let go. And as we stand there, slightly awkwardly, I realise neither do I, because if this hug ends I have to leave my place forever. So as I stand in my park listening to the trickling creek, reminding me of my own tears, and loosely clinging to the boy that would have been mine, I remember.

It’s the end of my last day and I feel like I’m choking on my hidden tears. Amber has just wandered off without a moist streak down her freckled face, but I knew it was just an act. She didn’t want to cry in front of all these people, it just wasn’t her. I feel the connection of my trembling hand to another as JP tries helplessly to cheer me up. Ella and Celeste are wandering aimlessly around their usual smirk covered faces and bright voices are scarce to be heard. These were some of my last memories of Lesmurdie Senior High School.
As Glenn shuffles in to the middle of all the dreary souls, a ridiculous grin spreads across his mischievous face from ear to ear. I soon join in and for no particular reason at all we start to laugh. His eyes glisten with the sound and the others follow our lead. Endless, slightly hysterical laughter but laughter all the same. I love the way his hair is never neat and his almost rosy pink cheeks. Both he and I know that we could have been special, but there just wasn’t enough time. Over the top of our unnatural glee I hear a broken call. Amber has come back with eyes brimming with tears. “Can I use someone’s phone?” her voice comes out choked and squeaky. We all know she’s fighting down her emotions but we don’t say a thing. She gives me a sorrowful look, which almost shook me off the little firm grounding I had left. With that look I realized she wasn’t going to forget me and nor I her. She makes excuses for her tears and we nod with silent understanding. I loved this moment, all of us standing around pointlessly and me smiling while my stupid heart fluttered with sadness.

It’s a couple of weeks ago and I’m leaping from rock to rock high above my sparkling creek while Amber and Ella cry triumphantly and cause quite a rumpus all in the name of tadpole catching. I scramble up onto the smooth jarrah bridge and declare this park ours for ever and ever. It feels like a different world to us and our souls flourish and burn brighter here. Wiry trees tower high above our heads and seem to sing down to us. I sneeze as I inhale the overwhelming scent of eucalyptus and blossom.
We drink lemonade in shot glasses and laugh harder each and every time we gulp down the tickling bubbles. A little boy smiles and points while his mother shoos him away. We laugh even harder and practically wallow in our carelessness. We’re sprawled in a circle and grin knowingly at each other. We can feel our connection to each other and I can feel it shining through my skin. We sing the lyrics to our favourite songs with passion and forte. We make secret jokes and pour our hearts out about boys, families and lost memories, all before we realize what we’ve said. We collapse and just breathe in our lives and the glory of our friendship.

My heart’s pounding with jealous anticipation. It’s almost a year ago and I’m watching the boy of my dreams with his unruly hair and warm eyes pass my best friend a note. She knows I’m staring at her and she knows that the paper she holds could be my broken heart and lost dreams, all just inside of its seemingly unopenable folds. She passes my worried look back and I know she doesn’t want the words I’m dreading either. She unfolds it almost too slowly to bear and solemnly reads it without a word to me. There it was, that flash in her stormy blue eyes. I know it has to be.
I peer down at the tiny scrap and read the words. Each one feels like a blow to my stomach and I feel the air escape from me. “Will you go out with Jayce?” Amber laughs it off, but I still feel like I’m tumbling out of my skin. She reassures me in a calming tone that it was just a joke, but I didn’t want to listen. He didn’t choose me, he can’t have been joking. Words escape frantically out of my mouth. “But what if?” and “he probably likes you better”. By this time Amber looked utterly and completely amused by my doubts. She grabs me firmly by the shoulders and tells me through a laughter filled sigh, that Jayce had just been joking and she was definitely not going to let any number of boys, no matter how gorgeous or charming they are, get between us and our crazy friendship. She smiles confidently and I join her with mine. She’s my best friend and its times like these that you realize.

He holds my hand tightly as we walk around the oval. Its only second term year seven and I’ve already got a boyfriend. Joel looks up at me and his gaze makes me melt. He wears bracers with tacky blue lackeys and I wear a metal plate that sticks to the top of my mouth, he’s on the short side with too low shorts and I’m almost the tallest in the class with opal blue studs, his hair is dusty brown, matted and flicky and mine is strawberry blonde with easy waves. We are complete opposites, but somehow we just fit together.
My thoughts are interrupted as Amber and Celeste come barreling in with dirt spread across their faces. They eye off my hand in Joel’s and stifle a laugh. Both of them see boys as another species or and infectious disease. I’m pretty sure Amber would rather tackle a guy twice her size on a muddy football field, than have to hold his hand. Joel grins sheepishly but doesn’t let my hand drop. I’m leaving for Europe tomorrow. I’m going for six weeks with my mum and her boyfriend. I’m worried about what’s going to happen to me and Joel, but I’m sure we can stick it out. With that thought I squeeze his hand tighter until im sure he knows what I feel for him. I remember these thoughts vividly. One week after I got back from Europe I broke up with Joel. He was my first boyfriend and I love him for that but it felt like he had changed and I just hadn’t.

My heart is jumping out of my chest and the lump in my throat refuses to budge. I hate moving schools. I was happy in Albany and I left all my friends behind to come here. Its third term year four and it’s my first day at Walliston Primary school. I stand gaping at the enormously tall year sevens, bustling past me as I try to squeeze through the never ending crowd. Mum is by my side giving me encouraging looks and nudges. I peer around the corner to my new class room. The lights seem overly bright and the walls loom high above my head. I hear muffled whispers and shuffling feet. I’ll be a freak show to them. They’ll laugh at the new girl they always do. I can’t bring myself to take that last seemingly massive step into the classroom. I feel a familiar hand on my back and I gather what little courage I have left. I see curious and welcoming faces and some wave or smile. I take a deep breath and shyly keep my eyes to the ground as the whole class watches expectantly. My gut twists a bit, but then I smile at my brand new ladybug converse. I think its going to be all right

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