“Thank you boys.”
The teacher’s voice trembles. Robbo organised the gift. He’s got an awesome poker face. Kit, on the other hand, is struggling to keep it together.
“You have to open it now miss.”
Jason barely conceals his laugh. She doesn’t have the guts to say no. Kit imagines her clammy palms and feels a rush through his body. He grins at his mates. Everyone else is craning their necks to see but she is purposefully sitting down at her desk now, so they won’t be able to. Still, the boys gather around to catch her expression.
“I hope it’s something nice.”
She’s trying to get in on the joke, act like she doesn’t care.
“You’ll love it!”
That’s Robbo again. He hates her.
She slowly pulls off the ribbon and tears open the paper. There is a plain box inside and Kit can’t stop the squawk that bursts out of him. Nervously, she opens the box. Her face turns white. The boys start laughing and other kids rush over to get a look. She slams the box closed before they can. Kit and Jason slap Robbo on the back in congratulations, the rose was a nice touch. She still hasn’t spoken. She’s staring at the box. Match point to them. Kit is pumped. Tonight they will celebrate.
Finally, she stands. She goes to leave but then takes the box at the last minute. Damn, they wanted to show everyone. She walks out of the room without a word. Minutes later the coordinator is at the door. The box is under his arm. No surprise there, but the fun is definitely over. It was worth it though. They follow him out. As they pass the staff bathroom, Kit hears someone heaving from inside. She deserves it, the tight arse bitch.
They’re suspended for the last week of the year. Who gives a shit! Kit walks home with his phone in his hand, victorious. The lads have a lot to say. They’ll head into town later.
As he approaches his house he can hear the yelling. The bin on the curb is overflowing with beer cans and his dad’s roaring streams out of the window. Why don’t they close the windows? His mum is cowering inside the lounge room while his dad spits abuse.
She screams something back, trying to sound tough, like she doesn’t care, but Kit can hear the tremor in her voice. He tries to talk his father down, but he already knows that sticking up for his mum is a mistake. He cops a shove which sends him tumbling on top of her. She cries out in pain or anger, Kit can’t tell. He apologises and tries to pull her up. She won’t let him. She doesn’t want to get up. She doesn’t want to do anything. She’ll just let the insults punch into her, again and again. Like she always does.
Photo by Rich Smith on Unsplash