Change by Gabrielle Beecroft
I hate change.
I hate new.
I hated moving house two years ago. It all started when my Dad got employed at the animal control centre, the building was in this town called Glostincher. “Weird name, probably a weird place.” I said as I helped Mum and Dad pack our small car. Our car wasn’t the most glamorous car, it was an old navy blue ford with dry mud running down the side of it. My parents didn’t like the colour when they bought it, but it was the only thing they could afford. “Look on the bright side, Sweety-pop, your new school is the best school in England!” Mum smiled, grabbing one of my old teddies and carefully placing it in between two cardboard boxes. “But I like Grey Hills, Mum.” I replied, clambering into the car. “But, Pennie, you should be happy, I’ll probably make so much money we’ll be rich!” said Dad happily, but there was a slight edge to his voice. I could tell he thought I was being ungrateful. “I don’t want to be rich,” I whispered. “I just want to be normal.”
That was all we said for a while, Dad was driving so Mum and I were quiet, so we didn’t distract him. But after a while, Mum said, “Don’t worry, dear, I’m sure you’ll make loads of new friends. I read a review and it said the school is twice the size of Grey Hills! You can also write to your old friends if you like, Honey-bun!” She added. I felt nervous. I had lied to Mum and Dad about having any friends at all, the only thing I had that was slightly close to a friend was Lula-by, who was the school pet. She was a gorgeous ginger cat who liked to hang around me while I read at lunch break. I had made up this girl called Olivia, who used to eat lunch with me and dance with me and play with me. But she was all just some stupid lie. Mum used to ask me if Olivia wanted to come round for tea any time, but I just used to say she had loads of homework and had to look after her younger siblings at the weekends.
The main reason I didn’t have any friends was because I was a weird dork who read books all the time and had a crumpled up uniform and was just plain boring. This didn’t bother me, after all it gave me more time to read. “I’m sure Olivia will love it if I write to her!” I said, smiling sweetly. “I’m sure she will.” Mum replied. “Oh, Sausage, do tell me if they have school lunches there. I need to know if they provide food, or if we have to wake up super early to make you lunch.” She smiled, but her teeth were gritted. She definitely didn’t want to do that, so I decided I was going to say they had school lunches even if they didn’t. Maybe I’ll just take a few pound coins and buy lunch at the café as I walk to school. Either way, I’ll find a way to make this work. I said to myself.
I didn’t make friends the first week. Or the second. Or the third.
But I did make a friend in the fourth week. A girl called Lyla, with long, ginger hair. She didn’t judge me, she didn’t call me names and she only asked me if I wanted to play when I was free, (not reading a book). We didn’t dance or make up songs or talk about boys, we just had long chats and talked about our favourite books and played a game where Lyla was a television presenter and I was an author. Of course, Lyla was super confident, and sounded like a real presenter and I was a big nervous lump that talked really quietly, not like a real author, someone super bouncy and happy and energetic, I was just a super shy weirdo. Even though I knew this was true, I didn’t let it ruin my time with Lyla.
When I got home Mum gave me a hot chocolate and asked me about my day. Even though I had a real friend, mum would disapprove if she didn’t sound normal enough. Even though Lyla is super cool, she certainly isn’t normal. She is super arty and messy and doesn’t get the best grades. Mum would definitely disapprove. “Erm… I met this girl called Emily and we sang a song together as a duet in front of the whole school at assembly and everyone clapped and the principal said we were ‘little stars’ and it was so cool!” I smiled. But then I gulped. Was mum going to believe it? I am a terrible singer.
“That’s wonderful, Sweety-pop” She said, plopping two marshmallows in my hot chocolate. “Michael! Did you hear what our little poppet has been doing at assembly?” Mum called up the stairs. “No! What has Pennie been up to?” He said excitedly, thumping down the stairs. Mum told him everything. He clapped and then clicked his fingers as if he had an idea. “We should get you booked into the drama academy on weekends!” I turned pale.
I hate Drama
I hate Dancing
I cannot sing…
“And wiggle, wiggle, wiggle!” Our drama instructor said, wiggling her hips. “And turn, turn, turn!” She did a perfect pirouette.
“And jump, split, split!” She jumped into the air and landed into a perfectly formed side split. “Now, girls, in this drama academy, I expect the best.” She said, still wiggling her hips. Then she looked at me. “There can be no mistakes, the drama school competition is coming up and everything has to be perfect.” She said in her sing-song voice. “Now, Arabella go with Lily, Holly go with Isabella, Laurel and Rose, Clara and Cherry-” Clara and Cherry squealed and took a selfie. “Focus girls!” Said our instructor firmly. “Millie and Ginger, Pennie and Mary and Lyla and Coco! Go into pairs and make up a dance routine to end all dance routines!” She said and then disappeared.
Mary looked me up and down and sniggered. “Let’s see if you can dance, dork.” She said. “Right, Peenie!” She said, saying my name wrong on purpose. “Its wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, flash, flash, flash, pulse, pulse, pulse, flick, flick, flick, down, down, down, up, up, up and dazzle!” She said, performing each move perfectly. I tripped one time, landed on my face twice and fell over three times. “Ugh. Arabella and I would have performed in sync.” When it was time to perform in front of everyone else, I actually did ok. But I wasn’t like Lyla and Coco who were best friends and performed perfectly to the music and insanely in sync. Or Arabella or Lily, who chose a perfectly fast-pace song that matched their dance. Or Holly and Isabella who hated each other, but performed as if they were sisters. Our instructor frowned at her watch when all the girls had finished. “Home time!” She timed it perfectly, just before the parents started piling in. “Bye, Dork!” Mary called. “Bye Pennie.” Lyla said. Even Coco smiled and waved.
The next day at school, I noticed the dance academy competition had moved to tomorrow. “Tomorrow?!” I screeched. “Oh yeah, Mrs Gibbins sent an email to everyone last night. Didn’t you get it?” I jumped. Coco was behind me. She smiled at me and stuck a poster up on the wall. “Dork Club?” I asked, staring at the poster. “Ah, this is a club for people who don’t like change or like reading or are just really out of place.” Coco said. “I’m joining by the way, I hate change and my favourite book is the Secret Garden. Oh, and I always felt like a loser who doesn’t fit in.” She added. “Bye, Pennie!” She said and skipped down the corridor. I wish I was Coco. She seemed super cool and confident and bouncy and happy. I sighed and started to walk towards science class. When I walked in, I saw Lyla and Mary fighting. They were hissing insults at each other. One of the strong girls in our class, Poppy, was holding Mary back and Arabella had Lyla in firm grip. “Don’t you ever say that about my friend again!” Lyla screamed, bursting out of Arabella’s grip and putting Mary in a headlock. “Get off me, you fat freak!” Mary said, scratching Lyla’s cheek. Mrs Gibbins opened the door just to see this. “Mary! We do not scratch!” She said, “And Lyla! Release Mary! You are both suspended for a week!” Several girls gasped.
The day after, the Drama academy competition rehearsals were in full swing. Coco and I rehearsed together but I felt nauseous. What if I tripped up or made a fool out of myself? I thought. When it was time for our academy to perform, all the girls were arranged in a star-shape, our instructor was wearing a black jumpsuit with silver stars stitched on it. Everyone else were wearing white jumpsuits stitched-on black stars. As I started walking onto the stage, I noticed the whole school sitting down. And then I saw the judge, a 60-year-old with pursed lips and hair in a tight grey bun. As soon as I was in the spotlight, I threw up all over my instructor’s shoes. I put my hand over my mouth and ran to the bathroom. I was a laughing stock. Freya, in year 6 had filmed the whole thing. Worst of all, I had thrown up all over my jumpsuit as well as my instructor’s shoes. What would Dad say? It was a lot of money.
Once I had finished being sick, I went back home. Luckily my parents knew nothing about the competition, so I was safe. I had also stuffed my reeking jumpsuit into the bottom of my bag and planned to put it in the washing machine before Mum and Dad noticed. But Mum showed me her phone when I came in. It was the video of me throwing up. I sighed and dodged past them to reach the washing machine. “Wait there.” Dad said. “Where’s you’re jumpsuit?” I handed him the reeking jumpsuit from my bag. He retched as he put it in the wash. I relaxed. Mum gave me a hug and some medicine. “Sorry Mum.” I said but she kissed my hand. “Do not be sorry. We’ve been too hard on you. Making you move house, putting you in drama academy. We’d like to say sorry.” Mum added, taking Dad’s hand. “Are you ready to forgive us?” Dad asked. I nodded and we had a group hug and a big blub. Afterwards, Mum made a roast dinner with delicious crispy potatoes, peas, carrots and one juicy Chicken with gravy. I ate my way through my whole plate and had seconds. Then I realised something.
I like change.
I like new.
And I love my family.
The end, thanks for reading!