Cactuscafe's take on September's Create Challenge. Illustrated by the Editor.
Boarding school was 1966, and eleven, tomboy with a crooked fringe and grazed knees, pack a trunk with your mother, Bakelite beaker, (to put your toothbrush in),brown socks, lacrosse stick, they sent you a list of what to bring.
Shiver in the car all the way there, no more running wild in summer gardens, no more shorts and favourite hand me down tee shirts that smelt of my older brother, no more barefoot, climbing trees.
Just this dark green skirt and fitted jacket, stripy tie and panama hat, and crying into the pillow, night after night after night, a gut wrenching anguish, a cry for mother, for home, and the Bakelite beaker is no comfort.
Dormitories, packed in with brats who had nothing better to do than steal your hairbrush in oh such a fun way, and taunt you with their ghastly elitist confidence. Although there was laughs also, and the potential for lifelong friendships, born out of mutual experience.
Boarding school was letters home on Sundays, you gathered in a classroom with a fountain pen and writing pad, try to sound fine, I am very well and happy! unless it was exeat weekend, then your parents turned up and took you home, if you were lucky.
And I might be visited by other memories, perhaps the chapel bell from the convent across the road, that echoed through the classroom. Ting ting ting on the hour, every hour, punctuating the interminable maths class, the interminable Latin class.
There was a larger than life crucifix on a patch of grass in front of the convent, I could see it through the classroom window, eerie pale yellow in the spring sunlight. I thought the ting ting ting was somehow pouring out of the bleeding heart of the dead Jesus, who wasn't my Jesus.
My Jesus wasn't dead, he was standing right behind me, in fact, I saw his shadow on my exercise book, although no one else could see him.
He was my friend with shining eyes, who would juggle with shells and stones, and whisper magic stories, in a language that only I could understand.
It's all his fault that I failed my Latin exam, and my maths exam, but that's fine by me, I caught up later, in my own sweet way.