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Intermediate. Years 7/8/9

That Morning

By Ben Sharp, year 8, Elizabeth College

Grey, miserable and grim – the three words that would describe our walk to school. Pattering of the drizzle drowned out any of the horse and carriages, and it reminded us of the beat of drums that dad would be hearing now.
“How long is our holiday mum?” asked my little sister, Susan.
She replied, “Oh, I don’t know darling, but it will be a great time. You know your brother will take very good care of you.” Clearly it was a lie. She couldn’t even look at her, too engrossed in the pavement below.
In fact, nobody knew how long we’d be away. All that anyone knew was that people were coming, not for the good, and we’d only had one-hour notice. Either stay, or go.
“Where is it we’re going again?” I asked.
“Near Devon. At least that’s what school said. Selfish Germans,” I heard her mutter under her breath.
As we drew closer to school it was obvious why the noise was dying: mum was agitated. It was going to be hard for her, nothing but the whistle of kettles.
“You both know I love you dearly, don’t you?” mum asked with a genuine tone.
I reassured her by saying, “We have known nothing else.” Putting my arm around her with care, while salty tears from above trickled onto my dark hair, it summed up that morning.
Later, as me, my sister and three-hundred other school children gathered together before heading off, mum was scrambling through seas of pain-stricken parents, getting as close as possible. Despite all the effort, she couldn’t bring herself to look up. It was as though she’d rather have seen anything but my sister’s nonchalant grin, yet there was a slight mutter underneath her weeping face:
“Please Lord, let my children be brave.”

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