GOALPOST IN SIGHT
I went for a drive to Maleny last week to deliver more of my books to the Maleny Bookshop.
The Maleny Bookshop has a magic ambience as it wraps itself around you like a cloak of comfort. Take the opportunity to share this experience.
From there I travelled with more books for the Caloundra Bookshop. The peace after entering from a busy street and being greeted by walls of books gracefully displayed never fails to fill me with delight.
Current Weather and Tides
The manuscript of my fourth novel has been copied, bound and sent off to the beta-readers. Me? I’m sitting behind a large cold glass with barely the strength to lift it.
Keep safe, Keep smiling, Keep reading, Keep writing.
A Pearl for your Enjoyment
By Elizabeth Rimmington 2021
IF WISHES CAME TRUE.
Charlotte felt the sorrow strike her like a face full of mud cake. Her usual straight shoulders sagged. The sight of Bobby sound asleep at his desk bothered her no end. This child had serious problems, only she did not know what they were. If only he would open up a little to her.
“Miss. Bodkin, Bobby Shaw’s asleep again.”
Automatically Charlotte drew herself to her full height of 5’4”. “Thank you, Priscilla. You may sit down now.”
“But … but … Miss. he’ll not learn his lessons if he’s sleeping.”
Charlotte desperately wanted to roll her brown eyes and tear out her brown curly hair. If the truth be told she’d wanted to strangle Miss Busybody but teachers do not strangle their Grade 2 pupils no matter what the provocation. Her red full lips flattened when she pressed them tightly together. Charlotte’s sneaking suspicion hovered on the edges of her mind. Bobby was not sleeping only escaping and at the end of the lesson, he would have absorbed twice as much as his fellow pupils.
“If Bobby cannot answer the questions at the end of the class today, he will need to stay behind Priscilla. Now can we get on with the next problem in our sums’ exercises?” She would have liked to add, Thank you, Miss Prissy. Charlotte’s thoughts wandered on a loose leash. The girl was every bit the interfering busybody as was her grandmother who supervised the moral standards of every parishioner on a Sunday morning.
“Now, are we ready to begin?”
“Yes, Miss. Bodkin.” A unified chorus.
Charlotte turned to the board with a long piece of chalk in her hand. “On the board, I have drawn a cage which can hold 4 hens,” Charlotte added a few strokes to her drawing but her mind was on the little six-year-old at the third desk from her table. She could not dismiss the evidence of self-cutting which she had briefly seen on the side of his chest wall yesterday. What sort of home life did the child live?
“Miss. Bodkin … we are waiting.” Parsimonious Prissy again – who else? Charlotte dragged her attention back to her work. She turned to face the class.
“Thank you, Priscilla. How would I get through the day without you? Now, as you can see, there are 2 hens inside the cage already. How many more hens can I add before it is full.”
“Miss! Miss!” Darryl Dawkins’s skinny arm waved back and forth like a ship’s mast in a heavy storm. “Miss Bodkin, there’s no door in the cage so you can’t add any more chooks.”
With 4 quick strokes of the chalk accompanied by a screech to set the hairs on the back of her neck lifting, a door appeared in the side of the cage.
Children should be born with attachable arms which are removed on arrival at school each day and returned on their leaving for home. Charlotte bit her tongue. Maybe their tongues could come as removable items also.
“Two, Miss. Two.” A forest of arms waving like trees in a cyclone added to the enthusiasm from the pupils in the room.
“Thank you, children, but please wait until I call a name to answer. We don’t want to sound like an unruly mob at a rock-band concert, do we?” Charlotte was more concerned in waking the exhausted little boy with the dark circles around reddened eyes. She had not missed the faint signs of bruising on the left orbital eye socket either.
Priscilla stood up and faced the class. “Miss Bodkin is right we are not an unruly mob. Be quiet.”
“Miss Busybody.” “Can it, Nosey Parker.” “Shut yer gob.” The reactions seemed never-ending when Charlotte lifted her pointing stick and brought it down on the desk with a thud.
“Enough! Everyone! Sit down, Priscilla, and do not presume to be the teacher again.”
Tears gushed from the child’s eyes. Her bottom lip dropped threatening to hit the desktop. “But Miss, I was only trying to help.”
Guilt marched across Charlotte’s soul – not only at turning on Priscilla’s waterworks but at seeing young Bobby lift his head from the desk. Small fists rubbed his eyes. Her full attention turned his way when he added his two-bob’s worth.
“There’d be no chance of ’aving any chooks in the cage in my house, Miss, Mum’d ‘av their heads off and in a stew quick smart.”
Charlotte felt the tears threaten the mascara and eyeliner around her eyelids. Was the child hungry? What did he get to eat at his house? She noticed Priscilla turn and the tight little mouth open but Charlotte diverted the child’s lecture to her fellow student.
“Now what happened to all those hands in the air? Darryl Dawkins, how many hens can I add to the pen before I have filled it up?”
“Two chooks, Miss.”
“Thank you, Darryl.” What a long day this is going to be? Sometimes it was hard to rein in her errant thoughts.
Later, as Charlotte prepared to attend her appointment with Mr. Turner, the Headmaster, she brushed the chalk dust off the front of her blue frock which had been cut in a way to set off her shapely figure. With a quick rub, she polished the schoolyard dust from the front of her low-heeled shoes on the back of her stockings. She wished to discuss her worries relating to Bobby Shaw but frustration burned at her stomach. Three times she had hoped to interest him in her concerns but to date, he preferred not to stir the dragon. Things proved no different today.
“Miss Bodkin, we are here to teach the children what little we can. We are not the home police. Many families have difficulties and stresses we cannot imagine. But it is their own business, not ours.”
As Charlotte exited the office feeling let down once again, the voice of her pupil, Prissy Priscilla, fell on her ears.
“Stop calling me names. I’m not a busybody, Darryl Dawkins. I’m just trying to help.” Her high-pitched squeal flew up the stairs from where the children were eating their lunch under the building.
A frown ruined the smooth pale skin of Charlotte’s face. Was she being a busy body just trying to help or was she doing the right thing? Sometimes it is so hard to know what is for the best.
These thoughts swallowed her appetite for lunch. Charlotte returned to her classroom to ponder this new conundrum.