[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]
.She wears a training bra.She isn’t much liked by the other girls.For Social Studies I do a project on Tibet, where there are prayer wheels and reincarnation and women have two husbands, and for Science I do different kinds of seeds.I have a boyfriend, as is the fashion.Occasionally he sends me a note across the aisle, written in very black pencil.Sometimes there are parties, with awkward dancing and clumsy guffaws and horseplay by the boys, and wet, inexpert, toothy kisses.My boyfriend carves my initials into the top of his new school desk and gets the strap for it.He gets the strap for other things too.This is admired.I see my first television set, which is like a small black-and-white puppet show of no great interest.Carol Campbell moves away and I hardly notice.I skip Grade Seven and go straight into Grade Eight, missing the Kings of England in chronological order, missing the circulatory system, leaving my boyfriend behind.I get my hair cut.I want to do this.I’m tired of having long wavy hair that has to be held back by barrettes or hairbands, I’m tired of being a child.I watch with satisfaction as my hair falls away from me like fog and my head emerges, sharper-featured, more clearly defined.I’m ready for high school, I want to go there right away.I reorganize my room in preparation.I clear old toys out of my cupboard, I empty out all the drawers in my bureau.I find a solitary cat’s eye marble rolling around at the back of the drawer, and some old dried-up chestnuts.Also a red plastic purse, which I remember getting for Christmas once.It’s a babyish purse.It rattles when I pick it up; inside there’s a nickel.I take the nickel out to spend, and put the marble inside the purse.I throw out the chestnuts.I find my photo album with the black pages.I haven’t taken any pictures with my Brownie camera for a long time, so this album has slipped from view.Stuck into it with the black triangles there are pictures I can’t recall taking.For instance, there are several pictures of what look like large boulders, beside a lake.Underneath is printed, in white pencil: Daisy.Elsie.It’s my writing, but I don’t remember printing this.I take these things down to the cellar and put them into the trunk, where old things go that are not thrown out.My mother’s wedding dress is in there, several pieces of ornate silver, some sepia-toned portraits of people I don’t know, a packet of bridge tallies with silk tassels on them, left over from before the war.Some of our old drawings are in there, my brother’s spaceships and red and gold explosions, my delicate, old-fashioned little girls.I look at their pinafores and hair bows and their rudimentary faces and hands with distaste.I don’t like looking at things connected so closely with my life as a child.I think these drawings are inept: I can do much better now.The day before the first day of high school the telephone rings.It’s Cordelia’s Mummie; she wants to speak to my mother.I assume it’s boring grown-ups’ business and go back to reading the newspaper on the living room floor.But after she puts the phone down, my mother comes into the room.“Elaine,” she says.This is unusual, as she doesn’t often use my name.She sounds solemn.I look up from Mandrake the Magician.She looks down.“That was Cordelia’s mother,” she says.“Cordelia will be going to your high school.Cordelia’s mother wonders whether you girls would like to walk to school together.”“Cordelia?” I say.I haven’t seen or spoken to Cordelia for a whole year.She has vanished completely.I’ve chosen that school because I can walk to it, instead of going on a bus; so why not walk with Cordelia? “Okay,” I say.“Are you sure you want to?” my mother says, a little anxiously.She doesn’t say why Cordelia will be coming to my school now and I don’t ask.“Why wouldn’t I?” I say.I’m already sliding into flippancy, which goes with high school, but also I can’t see what she’s getting at.I’m being asked to do Cordelia, or Cordelia’s mother, some kind of a minor favor.My mother’s usual line is that you should do these favors when asked, so why is she hedging on this one?She doesn’t answer this.Instead she hovers [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]