Jack took Lu to school for her trial day. They walked into the school reception early. And cursed me for this. Making them go early. I hold my hands up on this.. because I am a late-hater. The truth is; you only know you have become truly painful about lateness when you start nagging other people to also be early.
Like this: ‘You might need to find parking. Or get stuck in traffic on the way there.. besides if you’re early, you can sit in the car and still your mind a little. Get ready for things.’
My family have been sucked in to my fears over the years. None of them like to be early but I’ve learned to grab them in their ears just when they’re a little unsure about their departure. And in this moment they listen, leave early and then curse me when they’ve got there. Ker-ching! Bonus point for the early team.
So early Lulu and Jack stood at school, waiting for the lady at reception to direct them to the right place. She was on the phone. They waited patiently for her. And then they waited some more. She sat behind the glass booth, the phone up against her ear. She nodded into it. Made some noises. Nodded some more. Finally, Jack and Lulu began to twitch. They weren’t so early any more.
With this, the lady looked up. She pointed to the phone and whispered, ‘They’re crying.’
Jack and Lulu winced. ‘No problem.’
After three-and-a-half years, this was the beginning of Lulu’s re-entry into a mainstream school. Oh, except for the shooting threat. That came next. Apparently a Year 11 kid is so disgruntled with the school right now, he’s threatening to come into the school this Friday and shoot people.
Lulu stood her new classroom and took the news in. Everyone was talking about it.
‘Apparently the police are involved.’
‘They’ve searched his house. How can he have guns? This isn’t exactly America.’
‘He’s a farmer kid. Could have shotguns on the farm.’
‘Yeah, suppose so.’
Lulu’s friend turned to her. ‘Your first day at school Lu and you get to deal with threats of shooting. What do you think? Does it make you want to come here?’
Later, when I picked her up she said to me, ‘Isn’t kind of strange that he’s told people when he’s coming to school. I mean doesn’t that sort of thing work more effectively when it’s a surprise?’
I’d parked in the nearby supermarket car park and had waited for her to walk over from school. Now, I felt my left eye begin to twitch.
‘So all in all,’ I ventured, trying to stay upbeat, ‘did you have a good day?’
She thought for a moment. ‘Yeah I think so. This other boy said to me, “I thought about joining internet school and then I thought, no I prefer to have friends.”‘
I gulped a stone down. ‘Nice.’
She grinned a wide, funny grin. ‘Yeah. Exactly.’