Ch 2. The pig dog lurked

I was dashing frantically from classroom to common room in sure and certain knowledge that if I did not move quickly I would not get a coffee into me before playground duty and in Week 1 Term 1 coffee is paramount to survival.

I almost missed him sitting there. A tall, lanky boy-man; newly turned fifteen, a smattering of pimples and dark eyes filled with unshed tears.

I felt the pig-dog lurking but was momentarily torn between stopping and opening a veritable can of worms; or deciding it wasn’t my problem and heading inside. That didn’t last long as I sat next to the boy-man!

“You right, Mate?”
“Yair Miss.”
“You sure?”
“Why are you out here and not in class?”
And the floodgate opened…
“I wasn’t at school yesterday… so I didn’t know what was goin’ on… Miss said to be quiet or get out… so I got out… I was at Centrelink all day yesterday so couldn’t be at school… I tried to tell her, Miss… but she wouldn’t listen and I ain’t got me books… no pens… they’re at Mum’s and I can’t go there.. and I only got one shirt…”

Tears were closer to the surface.

“Why were you at Centrelink?”
“He was hitting her again Miss. I couldn’t watch so I tried to stop him. He’s big you know… but I thought I could stop him…”
As he lifted his face I saw the bruise on the other cheek.
“Mum yelled at me. She told me to get out. She threw me out. She said it wasn’t my business. But it is Miss… she’s me mum.”
I felt the hot breath of the pig-dog as I sat with the boy-man.
“Let’s get some breakfast.” I said quietly… my coffee could wait.

Kate as a young teacher

Kate as a young teacher

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