‘Normally people have to work really hard to be in Set One… And you just c-rruise in and get put in all the top sets.’ A quote from Lulu’s friend Meghan.

Lulu had asked her back, ‘What do you think I was doing at internet school all day? Sitting around in bed, watching Netflix?’

‘Well, duh’ Meghan said, ‘of course.’

A boy called Chaz Morris had groaned sitting down at a table with Lu and some other kids. ‘Man! I have to sit with all the try-hards.’

Lu grinned. ‘Shut up, Chaz.’

With the try-hard, smart-kid labels, the chicken strips in the canteen, people helping her from class to class and the banter. Yep. This kid is born for an institution. Even accounting for inevitable off-days; we are never going to get her back on Questie. I even had to attend my first parent’s meeting. It was for the GCSE options next year. Walking into the school hall I felt really, really late for a party.

Lulu caught the bus this morning without a hiccup. In the afternoon, the plan was for her to meet Polly Pocket at school reception so that Pocket could come back to ours on the bus. All day Delph and I did school in bed and wriggled our toes in the bungalow’s satisfying quiet.

At almost 4pm, the door opened. Two girls in white blouses and blue/grey ties bowled through the door.

‘How was it girls?’

Lu spoke first. ‘Luckily I found Aaliyah.’

Aaliyah shook her head. ‘You mean you forgot about me.’

My ears pricked. I frowned. ‘You forgot about Aaliyah? I wrote to you at lunchtime, Lu and told you not to forget. You had to meet her at reception. Remember?’

Lulu nodded impatiently. ‘Yes, yes. I’ll tell you what happened. I was sitting on the bus. The bus was just getting ready to leave when I remembered about Aaliyah. I thought either I can stay on the bus and definitely not miss the bus or I can go and run for her. So I decided to risk it.’ She smiled. ‘She was lucky that I ran back and got her.’

Pocket threw her hands up in the air. ‘You weren’t supposed to forget about me in the first place!’

Me and Delph put our hands on our hips. ‘That’s true Lu. You weren’t supposed to forget about Aaliyah.’

Lulu’s eyes sparkled. ‘I don’t think that’s the main part of the story. I think the part we should be concentrating on is how I risked missing the bus to go and get her. And she’s here now anyway, so let’s move on.’

She unclipped her tie and threw it on the bed. I watched it land like a parachute and caught myself. What had happened this week? Broken glasses, meltdowns, a new school, school bus dramas, getting up early, teary mums, and an almost lost best friend.  Emotions were bouncing around, while a racket calm followed in its wake. The mix of the high and then the sinking to the deep. All in all I think it’s fair to say: a pretty normal week.



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