‘I’m NOT going!’ Ruby said as she crossed her arms and pouted.
‘Come on, you’re a Big School Girl now. Let’s get your uniform on.’
Mum wasn’t getting it. There was NO way she was going to put that yucky, stiff uniform on. Ruby was going to wear her purple, sparkly dress to Rainbow Preschool. She would hug her favourite teacher, Miss Angelique, then do the teddy bear puzzle then paint a purple painting for her Mum. Then she’d play dress-ups with her best friend, Charlotte. She was NOT going to Big School.
Mum was still holding out that new blue uniform to her. She was tapping her foot and frowning.
‘I know it’s a bit scary to go to a new school without Charlotte but it’s time to get ready.’
Ruby’s face felt hot and Mum’s face was blurry. Ruby was NOT going to cry.
‘I told you. I’m NOT going!’ Ruby ran to her bedroom and hid under the bed. She buried her face into her doll, Matilda. She smelt the faint whiff of strawberry and felt better.
When Ruby went to Kinder Orientation last year the teacher, Mrs Williams had smiled at Ruby but it didn’t reach her eyes the way it did when Miss Angelique smiled at her. Her lollies had been peppermints, which Ruby hated. Miss Angelique’s raspberry heart-shaped lolly-pops were just for birthdays and they made your tongue bright red for hours.
Ruby had not said a word at Kinder Orientation. She’d decided that if she was quiet enough, she might become invisible.When a girl with the longest, blonde plaits Ruby had ever seen said, ‘Hi, I’m Sienna’ with a big smile, Ruby still remained silent.
Mum poked her head under the bed. ‘Come on, Ruby. Remember Mrs Williams said you could bring a toy on the first day, so Matilda can come too.’
Mum wasn’t giving up. Ruby sighed and got dressed.
As they walked through the school gate, Ruby held tight to her Mum’s hand and squeezed Matilda. Kids were running, skipping or playing with balls. It was so noisy Ruby wished she could cover her ears but didn’t want to let go of Mum’s hand.
As Ruby looked around she saw Sienna. She still had really long plaits and was holding her Dad’s hand and a battered, purple rabbit. Big, fat tears were rolling down her cheeks.
Ruby let go of her Mum’s hand and walked over to Sienna.
‘Hi, Sienna. My name’s Ruby and this is Matilda. Your bunny is my favourite colour.’
Sienna gave a small smile. ‘You remembered my name. This is Carrots.’ She rubbed the bunny to her face so her tears were gone.
The bell rang and the children started to form lines. Ruby took Sienna’s hand. They swung their arms, just like she used to do with Charlotte.
Ruby turned to her Mum. ‘Bye, Mum. Sienna and I have to go to Big School now.’
Jenny Kingsford lives in the Blue Mountains where she has worked as a teacher and psychologist. She is now enjoying her passion for writing.
KBR Short Stories are a way to get your work ‘out there’—and to delight our KBR readers. Stories are set to a monthly theme and entries are due in the 25th of each month. Find out more here.