I remember walking across the long stretch of grass – away from the school buildings. Conscious of a hundred windows looking at me, watching my back – observing me walking away. Going AWOL. I didn’t care who was noticing. Again, that empty feeling – not thinking of anything but making it to the fence line. Clambering over the boundary fence and onto the safety of the other side. And thinking what I was going to say to Mum. “Oh I had two free periods…I’ll go back at one thirty”. I had to mix it up a bit. Standing in the toilets was a trial beyond imagination. Sometimes I’d walk a little way home and sit behind a bush, hidden from passing traffic, waiting for time to pass before arriving home. Evading school, avoiding questions.
At lunch time, it was about finding the longest queue at the canteen, just to absorb some time. Lunch times were painful if you were not part of a group. Too proud to sit quietly on my own, I walked as if I was busy – on a mission. To the library – pretending I had assignments to finish, books to research. Huddled into a small corner, books and pens out, doodling. Writing pages of daydreams about ice skating and the love of my life. Thinking about the weekends when Mum would take the three of us skating. She drove us all over Sydney, Prince Alfred park, outdoors, the stars in the sky, cool air rushing past my face as my partner pulled me along. The familiar smell of the ice rink…damp…musty… wonderful……I lived for the weekends.
On the slow trudge up the steep hill I’d formulate a reason, but I knew Mum wouldn’t really care. I’d nestle onto the lounge and watch “Days of our Lives” to see what Dr Marlena was up to. She was gorgeous, blonde, slim – a career woman. She even had a handsome husband who was a lawyer or a detective . What a fabulous couple they were living their lives in Salem – it always sounded an oddly sinister place to be.