Before long it was suitcases on the bed, clothes strewn about in an orderly way of course, long lists to tick off. You guessed it, packing for boarding school.
The list is long and boring, just knows this; it takes a good 2 hours to make sure I have everything, Nanny helps check and recheck. We cannot just pop back home if something is forgotten.
Feeling excited yet apprehensive on the morning of my departure, I bid Mother, Father, Nanny and Mr Bowfinger farewell. The train is full of young people struggling with their heavy bags. Parents waving on the platforms, some staff are standing back from the platform, some with teary eyes and heavy hearts too.
As the train leaves the station I settle into my seat after waving goodbye from the window.
Suddenly next to me appears my very good friend Bethany Beaulie, a beautiful girl with very fine features and green eyes that seemed a little too large for her face, but somehow made her even more beautiful. Beth had locks of hair that cascaded over her slim shoulders. Beth is not aware of her beauty, which makes her that more attractive.
“Good afternoon Winifred”
“Hello Beth, it’s lovely to see you again, did you have a good summer?”
“Yes thank you, Winnie”
At this stage I am hoping that Beth does not ask me what I’ve done this holiday, oh goodness, whatever am I going to tell everyone. They will all be exchanging tales of their most wonderful experiences when we are all together in the dormitory. I can hardly say “I met faeries and have been tasked by their Queen to keep them alive.”
Whatever will they think? Whatever shall I say? Subconsciously I tap the velvet pouch that is tucked away under my winter coat. My heart is beating so loudly I’m sure Beth can hear it.
Beating her to the question I ask “What have you been doing this summer, anything interesting?”
Beth hardly misses a beat and goes on in rather too fine a detail about her holiday, telling me an almost day to day account (as if she’d been rehearsing her answer, in anticipation of the question) of her very busy and exciting holiday.
Pleased at my keen interest on her doings over the holidays and keeping her chatter really animated, she drew in the other two students who joined us in our cabin. The newcomers to the cabin were also girls of similar age. The 1st girl introduced herself as Patricia Harvey, she was very well spoken and from Dorset. She is slender athletic built girl with dark curly hair and beautiful brown eyes that were framed by ample lashes. Her mouth is full and generous, and she is easy to smile. The second girl is perhaps a year younger and doesn’t seem quite comfortable in her own skin yet. She introduces herself as Vanessa Townsend, she is pleasant. Her feet are larger than you’d expect from someone with such a small frame and her clothes seem slightly odd on her. Her mousey hair is tied up high on her head and appears slightly greasy, she has a few spots on her face and her shoes on those somewhat large feet are unpolished. She has grey-blue eyes, which are mostly downcast, and a shy smile. There is something about her I muse to myself.
Before we know it, we have arrived at the station and are transported to the schools boarding house. There has been rumour of a change of house mistress and house master over the summer break. I wonder what they may be like. I mostly hope they are kinder than the former disciplinarians who held those positions.
As I step down from the carriage, lugging my very heavy suitcase behind me, I happen to glance up. My heart turns to lead and drops.
NO!!! It’s impossible… It can’t be??? Can it??