Happy Australia Day

Happy Australia Day



“Keeping Secrets” – Ch:17 – Pushing Roxie Away – (3rd storyline)

Pushing Roxie away….

 Corule Boulevard is one of the longest in our neighbourhood and one of the oldest. Lined beautifully with enormous weeping willows whose elongated leaves so extensive the trunks are barely recognisable. Surrounded by perfectly manicured nature strips, street cleaners working hard at their job and house owners who respect the “keep Corule Boulevard beautiful” theme, our street could be pictured in any magazine.

 Walking to school along our street everyday always sets the mood for what lay ahead. Noises are pleasant, atmosphere is pleasant, the company is pleasant. Roxie and I would chat excitedly the entire walk to school, sadden when the two blocks came to an end.

Brendon often walks with us until he reaches the bus stop directly opposite Hevanton Primary to take him to High school. He adds to the beautiful atmosphere, simply by being there. Often with his earphones on and music blaring, never interrupting, just being in our company.

I dream one day he will realise I am actually there, maybe reaching for my hand and walking with me, the way a boyfriend would. He would drop me off at school, making sure I am safely inside before heading to his destination.

This morning I wasn’t looking forward to walking to school. I haven’t been to school for a week and spent most of the time in the security of my bedroom. Roxie visited me the next day after the fainting, concerned for me. Her face was pale and she looked like she hadn’t slept in weeks.

“OMG, you scared me yesterday,” Roxie says quietly on strict instructions from Mum.

“Yeah, I didn’t mean it. But I’m okay. Just a little sore.”

“I was so nervous you were going to die and then I wouldn’t have a best friend and…” Roxie says crying.

Normally I would be over to her, saying something to comfort her, especially as Roxie never cries. She is too tough to cry, too boy like. I cry all the time, never afraid to let it all out but maybe I am too much of a sook. Even though my heart feels her pain, I can’t bring myself to comfort her. It is easier to blame her for what is happening in my life.

“Well I am fine now Roxie, so don’t cry about it,” I snap, more defensively that I mean.

“Oh, sorry Alexx. I didn’t mean to upset you. I just…”

“Not you didn’t upset me. I am tired. Just tired, that’s all.”

“Do you want me to go?”

“I need to sleep. My head still hurts and I need to sleep.”

As Roxie turns to leave, feeling shattered from my brutal, unfair attack on her, she stops and turns to face me once again. Her aqua eyes lifeless, sadden as we stare at each other, locked together. She is trying to see into my heart, see where she has gone wrong, why I’m behaving spitefully.

“You are upset when you came over yesterday Alexx. Do you remember?”

I nod.

“Is everything okay? Is it something I did to you?”

“It’s all fine. I am just angry but everything is fine now.”

“You seem angry with me,” says Roxie, moving her eyes towards the floor unable to hold my stare.

“Well I’m not,” I reply forcefully, bored of the conversation.

My intention is to make Roxie feel guilty for not being a very good friend, but the guilt is contagious as it is affecting me. I struggle with playing the bad guy, this is normally played perfectly by Poppy. This is my life and she is ruining it.

As Roxie leaves my room I hear her whisper ‘I’m sorry’. It is as though she is talking to an invisible friend who is unable to reply. The emotion in her voice is sincere, longing to make me happy. It is me who is unable to accept it from her. I can’t allow myself to weaken and fall prey to her friendship, a friendship that is turning me into a bad person.

I leave the house, determined to be nice to Roxie as she is still my friend even though she has let me down. This is the longest time Roxie and I have ever gone without speaking to each other. I miss her. I miss her more than I care to admit but I need to move away from her and focus on other friends.

With her standard hoodie and jeans on, Roxie is waiting for me in the usual spot at the end of her driveway near the blue letterbox with a small, golden sparrow \ on top. This is the only letterbox in the street like this and it is my favourite. The sparrow looks welcoming, telling the postman this is a perfect place to drop off the mail. I begged Mum to get one as soon as I saw Roxie’s but she said we need to be ‘individuals and not copy our neighbours. I disagreed but never got my own way.

I approach with caution, not knowing the reaction I will receive from Roxie. My concentration is distracted by Brendon. He is leaving the house in his denim jeans and a khaki shirt only buttoned half way. He is beautiful and looks every bit of it this morning. Never looking in my direction, he gracefully moves towards Roxie like an angel floating through the clouds, unaware of me staring at him.

Roxie keeps her eyes fixed in my direction, not noticing her brother waiting impatiently beside her. Her eyes are dull but with a glimmer of hope, hope that our friendship hasn’t been affected by recent events. A warm surge flows through my veins at Roxie’s desperation to retain my friendship.

“Hi Roxie. Hi Brendon,” I say casually.

“Hi Alexx,” replies Roxie, excitement in her voice.

“Hi,” murmurs Brendon with his head facing the opposite direction ignoring my presence.

“You are looking better. How do you feel?” says Roxie.

“Much better thanks. The doctor said it was the fall that did the damage, not the fainting itself. I wish I could be warned when I am about to faint.”

Brendon starts walking ahead of us which is unusual, causing me to panic. His actions portray anger and resentment, towards me. He knows about my argument with Roxie. He must know how I treated her and he is angry with me. My Brendon, the one who holds my first kiss is angry with me and it is my entire fault.

“Yeah I know what you mean. I was so scared when one minute you were standing there and the next you are on the floor.”

“Sorry about that. I would have warned you if I knew myself. Hey, sorry about being so angry the next day. It isn’t your fault that I got hurt. I was just sore,” I respond loud enough so Brendon can hear.

His shoulders tense and the walking motion jolts slightly. Brendon has heard what I said so hopefully that is enough to make him at least look at me again. The thought of Brendon hating me is not an option. He is my first love even if he is unaware of it.

“Oh Alexx, I was so worried that you hated me, that you blamed me for hurting yourself. You know I would never hurt you.”

“Yeah I know.”

My attention is still on Brendon. Turn around and talk me. Say something I am begging you to. Tell me you forgive me for my behaviour and that you realise how mature I have become in the past week since we haven’t seen each. Tell me that you think about me the way I think about you. Tell me something, anything.

Nothing is said, he continues to walk in front of us, slowing down his pace so we can stay close. In my perfect world, I pretend that this is a sign, a sign he has forgiven me and wants our friendship to remain. The panic leaves my body as school approaches in the distance, my two friends back by my side.

I haven’t missed school at all with the only exception of seeing Brendon every morning. The work itself is easy enough and I am pretty good inmost areas. Sport is my worst subject so I hate Thursdays the most. I am no good at it and I always feel like everyone wants to see me mess up.

I don’t even miss my other friends. I know that sounds horrible but Roxie is my best friend and the rest of the group are a lot of work. So why am I being so mean to her? Poppy is the one girl I work hardest on, she can influence people and I need her on my side. I am never sure though how much she really likes me but I don’t care. I am so confused.

Bella never leaves Poppy’s side and is her puppet in everything. If Poppy wants something, Bella will happily assist. Poppy went through a phase of hating chocolate so of course now Bella decided she hated eating chocolate too. That is wrong, who hates eating chocolate.

Jo is older than the rest of us and this is obvious. She migrated over from Italy when she is five years old but she had already started school back in her hometown of Grosseto in the region of Tuscany. An old town with a history dating back centuries, the people of Grosseto believe education is the key to life’s successes.

All the children went to school from the age of three, learning all aspects of life and its wonders. Jo had two years of schooling before she had even hit the shores of Australia and her parents still decided to hold her back another year. They wanted Jo to strive to be the best so an extra year in school would surely give her an advantage.

Jo’s appearance has an Italian influence too. Her skin is a deep golden brown, soft rosy cheeks, glowing with health. Her eyes are dark, almost black in colour to match her midnight black silky straight long hair. She is exotically beautiful.

Jo likes the group but stays guarded to her emotions. It is as though she is waiting for something better to come along and in the meantime she is content with the friends she has.

Sam I like. I like her most out of the group. She is sweet and kind. Sam is quiet and never really injects much to the conversations but with so many other stronger personalities surrounding her, it is difficult. Sam never says a bad word about anyone and seems sincere in actions.

Sam is unique in her looks and her personality. Her short blonde hair cut neatly around her face, so modern and funky, just like a runway model. This daring attitude flows to her glasses, hot pink and purple that suits her pale skin and alluring green eyes. She wears simple dresses and always looks elegant.

The day went by in the usual way, nothing changed in my absence. When lunchtime arrives, Roxie is waiting for me by the lockers so we can head out together. Unenthused by the day, I don’t have much to say but Roxie doesn’t seem to notice. She is still excited that we are friends again and this obvious from her conversation.

Hevanton Primary isn’t what I would call a pretty school. Most of the play area is concrete, painted with games that required balls or bats to play. What little grass the school has is mostly dead, with no plants or trees for decoration. This is a complete contrast to the beautiful array trees and greenery that aligned my street.

The classrooms are made of a faint sickly yellow coloured brick, making the school look like an old fashioned boarding school, similar to the movie Annie. Each room blends into the next leaving nothing for the imagination, no room to dream you can be anywhere else but school.

As we approach the rest of the girls sitting on the dying grassy area, the conversation seems very intense.

“Shh, shh,” I hear Bella say as we approach not realising we can hear her.

“Oh hi girls,” says Sam, looking in our direction but over my shoulder as if expecting someone else.

Automatically I turn around to see who Sam is looking at but the only person behind me is Roxie.

I felt like we have interrupted a very private conversation. Between fighting with Roxie and then Brendon ignoring me, I am becoming suspicious of everyone.

“Hi everyone,” I say, with nothing more intelligent to add.

“So glad to have you back Alexx. We really missed you last week,” Sam replies enthusiastically.

Before I can sit, Poppy grabs my arm to pull me away from the circle. Almost falling backwards by the force of her strength, I don’t notice that it is only me Poppy wants to be alone with.

“I need to get something from the canteen,” says Poppy dragging me away. “Alexx is coming with me.”

I have no choice but to oblige and follow Poppy. Not that I mind, it is nice to be wanted for something and nice to be away from Roxie. She is by my side every possible moment and it is bothering me, making me feel trapped.

Linking her arm into mine, Poppy and I skip off towards the canteen, leaving the remainder of our friends watching us depart.

“Thank goodness your back. So much is happening and I didn’t want you to miss out,” Poppy squeals excitedly, leading me through the school grounds.

“Miss out on what?”

“Well it’s my birthday and I am having a slumber party.”

“Oh like mine,” I interrupt too soon realising my mistake.

Poppy never likes to think she copies anyone. She is an individual who starts fashion trends as opposed to following them. Her party’s are also unique, never the same as anyone else’s.

“Nothing like yours,” Poppy replies sternly letting me know how wrong I am.

“Of course not, sorry.”

“Anyway, it is this weekend and I am inviting you and Bel, Jo and Sam.”

Poppy waits for my reaction but stupidly I haven’t realised that a name is missing. Her eyes glare into mine making me feel intimidated.

“Did you hear me?” asks Poppy.

“Yes, and I would love to come to your slumber party. I will ask Mum tonight but I am sure she will say yes.”

“That’s great Alexx but just in case you didn’t quite hear me, I am not inviting Roxie to my party.”

“Why?” I ask stupidly.

“Mum said I could only have four people and I would prefer you over Roxie.”

Part of me feels warmed by the declaration of our friendship. It is wonderful to be thought of as part of the group and people wanting you around. This is what I have always wanted, to be accepted by the cool kids at school and now I am going to Poppy’s slumber party.

However the other part of me freezes, the realisation that my friend, my best friend really, is intentionally being excluded from this same group I am desperate to be a part of. Leaving one person out of the group is cruel and hurtful. A position I would never want to find myself in.

“That seems mean. Does your Mum know that there is one more person in the group,” I ask nervously.

I have never stood up to Poppy or questioned anything she says. The words simply flowed out of my mouth without a thought as to what the consequence will be.

“Who do you think you are saying that I am mean?” demands Poppy, pulling her arm away from mine, standing her ground, facing me directly.

“I didn’t mean it like that.”

“Then what did you mean Alexx?”

“I just thought maybe your Mum didn’t understand, that’s all.”

“Well she does and it is her rule.”

“Sorry Pop, I am really sorry,” I beg feeling as if any moment I will burst into tears only to have more people staring at us than the ones whose attention we already have.

Poppy’s anger has created unwanted attention for me but Poppy seems to thrive on it. She is in her element and I can see it in her eyes, they are sparkling from the attention.

She takes the moment the way an actress does when on the stage. Her voice loud and confident, her stance overwhelming, showing the audience she is the bigger person and she will sort out the argument. My shoulders slump as I sigh heavily, feeling defeated.

“It’s okay Alexx, I know you’re sorry. I shouldn’t have shouted at you, but you must understand this is not my fault.”

Looking towards the ground, unable to hold the piercing stare from Poppy any longer, I slowly nod.

“I know, I know.”

“Good, now that is clear I need to talk about my party,”

“Obviously this has to be a secret, I would HATE to hurt Roxie’s feelings.”

“Oh, yes a secret,” I say automatically, not thinking about the severity of the situation.

“So the rest of the girls know about it and you can talk to them but just not Roxie. Okay?”


“Now you will need to bring a sleeping bag…”

Poppy continues to talk about her party and I nod where necessary and respond with a few ‘Ohh’ and “ahh” where required. I wasn’t really listening to anything she said. My mind was reeling over the situation I have been placed in.

Roxie has let me down recently by not understanding the secrets about my family. I still like her and I still want to be friends. I will never leave Roxie out, intentionally or not. I hate it when I am left out in any circumstance so why would I do the same thing to a friend.

When the twins came along, that is when I first experienced the feelings of being left out. It was difficult to compete against two little babies who are cute and noisy and demanding all at the same time.

Just when I would get Mum alone and we would snuggle together on the couch, book in hand for Mum to read to me, one of them would scream out. Mum never hesitated to leave me alone, stranded on the couch, the book thrown next to me, unloved, unread. Time passed and I would wait patiently for her to return. Some days she returned quickly with a sympathetic expression on her face, ready to attempt the storybook once again.

Other times I waited and waited for her to return but she never did. The screaming would continue, then stop, then start up again. When the noise finally subsided, Mum would forget I was waiting for her on the couch, still with the book, craving for some attention. I felt left out of the family, left alone to fend for myself while my sisters got everything they asked for.

Now at school the feelings of insecurity flow to the surface causing me to feel anxious. My body is reacting to the dilemma I find myself in, heart racing as if about to leap out of my chest. My hands begin to shake uncontrollably like I am standing naked in the ice cold snow. The blood is flowing around my body, pounding into my head, pounding into my stomach, pounding into my heart.

With the frantic chaos inside my body, I am like a duck floating on a pond. From the outside, everything seems calm, natural, without a care in the world. However under the surface it’s like a ducks webbed feet, frantically moving through the water, in chaotic motions.

This is making me feel out of control and I know I need to control my situation once again. I am going to go to Poppy’s slumber party as this is going to be the party of the year. I need to go to Poppy’s party for all the right reasons and perhaps some of the wrong reasons.

Roxie is my friend and I have to decide whether to tell her about Poppy’s party or not. I try to find a place deep within me, a place that can open me up and the answer comes flooding out.


If you want Alexx to tell Roxie about Poppy’s party, go to page 164.. 

Good friend….Bad friend…

 If you want Alexx to keep the secret about Poppy’s party, go to page 206…

Never tell the secret…




Leap into life

Leap into life


Happy birthday my beautiful Flynn…

Happy birthday my beautiful Flynn…


Precious memories

Precious memories


“Keeping Secrets” – Family secrets boxed securely – 3rd storyline

Family secrets boxed securely….


The good times came flooding back to me. Mum, Dad and I, even Ella and Bree. Mum used to hold my hand all the time. It made me feel safe and special, the most important person in her life.

When I was scared mum would hold my hands lightly to warn the bad thoughts to leave. When I was happy, Mum would rock my hands back and forth as if dancing in the wind. When I was sad, Mum would gently cradle my little hands in hers, creating a protective force around me. When I was worried, Mum would caress each finger tenderly, removing the bad, angry, anxious feelings building in my mind.

At this moment it isn’t Mum holding my hand it is my friend, Roxie. Not just any old friend but my best friend. Roxie is there for me, always there for me. I shouldn’t be scared of keeping secrets from her. She will understand. Roxie always understands me, she is my best friend.

Best friends don’t always understand. When I told her about Ella and Bree, she didn’t understand. She always picks their side, not mine. She has a wonderful and gorgeous brother, not two annoying sisters, how could she understand?

My two annoying sisters are always ganging up on me and out to break my spirit. There is two of them. If Ella is in the mood to be a pain, Bree will usually follow suit. Then when Bree wants to annoy me, Ella copies.

I wake up and it all begins. At breakfast they argue over who is first to pick the cereal. It’s like they believe they must have exactly the same in everything they do. There is no choice in what each other may want.

“It’s my turn this morning Bree,” shouts Ella as she races to the pantry grabbing a box of corn flakes, knocking over the rice bubbles spilling its contents.

“No you picked yesterday,” replies Ella reaching for the fallen rice bubble box but never considering cleaning up the spillage.

“It is not you turn,” shouts Ella for the second time.

“Is too.”

“Is not.”

“Is too.”

“Is not.”

“Is too.”

“Mum,” screams Ella down the hall, “It’s my turn this morning but Bree won’t let me pick.”

“You’re such a baby,” responds Bree folding her arms pulling letting the rice bubbles fall to the ground once again.

“I am not a baby,” said Ella.

“Am too.”

“Am not.”

“Am too.”

“STOP, ” I shout with my hands over my ears hating my day already.

Every morning they do the same thing, say the same thing and fight over the same thing. It is like being in a bad movie and pushing rewind again and again and again.

When I tell Roxie about it as we walk to school, she nods her head but never understands. I know she thinks I am being a sook but she doesn’t live with them. It never stops. Between the twins and Mum and Dad arguing, it never stops in my house. I HATE IT.

Normally Mum drives the twins to school, my school. She says they’re too young to walk and also too slow. We will never get to school on time. Every now and then, when Mum has an appointment or something, they have to come with me. It is hell.

“Please girls,” said Mum in her most calm, controlling voice. “You need to listen to your sister this morning and follow her every instruction.”

“I can’t believe I have to take them to school,” I whinge dreading the walk to school.

“Oh Alexx, they are only little. Stop complaining. You know I have to be at the dentist early today.”

Focusing her attention once again on the twins, Mum kneels down in front of them, straightening their school uniforms. She always babies them and gives in to their annoying tantrums.

Mum never did this with me. I know she loves me but she loves the twins more. She needs me to help her all the time, do stuff and I always do it. Usually I don’t mind helping out but it feels like I am always helping and they never are.

“Listen girls, your sister is being kind enough to walk you two to school. I can’t have you misbehaving with her,” she says ignoring my complaints as usual.

“I will behave,” said Bree innocently smiling at Mum.

Bree always agrees with everything Mum says while Mum is there. As soon as she leaves the room, Bree turns from a beautiful angel to a horrible devil.

“So will I Mummy,” chimes in Ella, not wanting to be out done by her twin.

“Thank you my darlings. I knew I could rely on you two.”

“But Mum…” I begin until she raises her hand telling me in her own special way the discussion is over.

Annoyed and agitated, I leave the house, twins closely behind and wait for Roxie out the front. Even the waiting is infuriating. The twins constant bickering, play fighting, noises, they never stop. I am going insane and the day had only begun.

The twins hold hands with Roxie the entire way to school, listening to her every word and treating her like a Queen. Not once did they misbehave or need to be told off. They are being manipulative and it is grating on my nerves. Constantly looking back at me, as I am a pace behind the three of them, all the while giving me the look. The look that says ‘we have your friend and she is our friend now, hahaha.’

Roxie never sees any of it so when I complain to her she thinks I am crazy. She never agrees with me and never understands how devious the twins are. This disappoints me and affects our friendship.

If Roxie can’t understand just how painful it is to live with the twins, how is she ever going to understand my heart is breaking over Mum and Dad? Her parents are perfect, never fight, never argue. They are supportive with everything Roxie choses to do, never question her decisions.

Roxie is given the option to make her own decisions about her life. To show that she is grown up and can decide which direction her life heads. Mum doesn’t give me the same freedom but wants me to be grown up enough to baby-sit the twins. Life just isn’t fair sometimes.


“Alexx, Alexx,” says Roxie interrupting my thoughts. ‘Are you OK?”

Standing there in Roxie’s room, I feel exposed. I have no protection from the world, from my life. My life that is horrible and no one around me will ever understand or be able to fix it, including Roxie. I would be crazy to share my secret, to let Roxie in on my horrible little secret. As I glance around her room, I realise she won’t understand what I am going through, she can’t understand.

“I’m okay, I just..”

“What’s happened? You look awful, I mean really awful,” she said her concern is touching but now unnecessary.

“Oh thanks Roxie. That makes me feel even better,” I snap angrily.

“I didn’t mean to…”

“I know, I know you didn’t but you did and it doesn’t make me feel any better.”

“Well if you just tell me what’s wrong. Maybe I can help,” she says patiently.

“You wouldn’t understand,” I reply, trying to stall for time to come up with a better excuse.

I look around Roxie’s room all covered in pictures of football players and I know it is a big mistake to think Roxie will understand. Her life is so different to mine, how can she understand. She likes everything I don’t. Even the way she chose to decorate her room is complete opposite to mine.

She is a football fanatic and I hate the sport. Even her doona cover is football, with her team’s colours and logo. Yuk! There is nothing pink at all in this room, including in her closet. Roxie and I can never swap clothes because she often likes to dress in boy like stuff.

This never bothered me until now, right now when I am deciding to share my secret. Looking around I realise this is the wrong person to share my secret with, even if she is my best friend.

“I can’t try to understand if you don’t tell me what’s wrong,” says Roxie. “Did you fight with the twins again?”

“Umm, yes, that’s it,” I quickly reply. I knew then I couldn’t share my secret.

“What did they do now?” Roxie responds mockingly.

“Just the usual but I didn’t sleep very well last night so I am tired and grumpy and, well you know,” I say to cover myself with any viable excuse.

“I’ve told you, you need to learn to ignore them.”

Realising I have made a big mistake coming here to confide in Roxie, I tune out on everything she says. I could see her lips moving and know there are words coming out but I don’t hear anything. I don’t want to hear anything.

As Roxie talks, the pains in my stomach slowly developed from a dull ache to unbearable. My stomach is twisting and turning, pulling every part in opposite directions. The intensity of the pain makes me perspire everywhere, drops rolling down my forehead. Clutching my stomach, I scream with the intensity until I can’t take the pain anymore.

Nothing. Silence. Blackness. In Roxie’s room I have fainted.

The comfort of my own bed, my own bedroom, my possessions. My head is sore, intensely throbbing. Barely able to open my eyes, a soft delicate shadow is towering over me, protecting me. A cool face washer on my head, Mum’s comforting voice whispering in my ear. Unable to move, I lay in bed confused with everything around me still hazy.

“Hi darling, you’re back with us.”

Struggling to keep my eyes open, I can barely make out Mum’s silhouette but the voice is undeniably hers. It is like lying on a bed of clouds with the beautiful angels flying around whispering words of comfort and guidance. Dream like atmosphere, very gentle as I drift back off to sleep.

Hours later I wake again but this time not as heavenly. Voices surrounding me, all talking, screeching, pounding into my head. The throbbing inside hasn’t eased, only intensified. A light penetrating my eyes causes me to squint as I try rolling over to my stomach to get away from the light.

“Alexx, its Mum. Wake up darling.”

“Alexx, its Dr Haine. I need you to try to open your eyes for me.”

Both are rolling me over to be on my back. Confused at the invasion of my sleep, I fight to stay on my stomach, facing the pillow, stopping any invasion.

“Leave me alone. Go away,” I scream angrily.

“Alexx, the doctor is here because he needs to check you are alright. You fainted at Roxie’s house.”

Still struggling between where I want to be and where they need me to be until the words actually sank into my head – I had fainted at Roxie’s house. Taking my mind back, all I could recall was the immense pain I had felt. The stabbing pain in my stomach felt like I was being carved into little pieces.

Fainting isn’t too uncommon for me. I have low blood pressure and this can make my body simply shut down when it needs to protect itself. The worse part about fainting isn’t actually my mind blacking out, I never remember that part. It is the fall. That is when I have really hurt myself and suffer for days.

It began not long after the twins were born, so I must have been around five years old when Mum went out the backyard and found me lying there on the grass. I had been playing around the babies, trying to make them laugh at me, trying to gain some attention. When BANG… I recall Mum screaming at me with such fiery anger shocking back to life.

All of a sudden I had all the attention I wanted. Doctors came and went, desperately trying to diagnose my condition. Specialists were seen, some I can’t even pronounce what their jobs were. Mum was by my side constantly and Dad pampering his little, now girl.

This began the period when I fainted often and for no real reason. I wasn’t sick, I wasn’t unhealthy but I fainted. Finally doctors told my parents I had low blood pressure but they also believed I was able to faint whenever it suited me. The specialists informed them that I did this for attention and recommended I see another specialist.

I remember loving the attention I got when I fainted. I was willing to put up with the pain in order to be the centre of everyone’s world, even for moment. The worse part was hitting my head when I fell. The extreme pain lasted for days like your head is being squashed by a vice and about to explode.

Allowing Mum to lead me, I move to where I can be checked for injuries. Reaching up to protect my head from the intense noise, I scream at the pain. The pain is not only in my head, it had travelled to my stomach, ripping me in two.

My fainting had happened from the pain, the agony Mum and Dad’s fighting was causing. There is no one around to protect me from the hurt, I am drowning in it. No one can understand it intensity and no one ever will. This secret is deep inside and that is where it will remain locked away.

“Is she alright doctor?” Mum enquires with trepidation as it had been awhile since I had placed her in this situation.

“Let me check her over properly before I comment but she appears to be fine,” replies Dr Haine.

“I’m here baby,” whispers Mum, leaning down as close to me as the doctor will allow.

When the personal invasion past and the doctor finally gave the all clear that I will be fine, silence falls upon my world. The penetrating lights are removed, the voices cease and calmness falls again. Only external calmness as internally my world is distressed. Nothing is as it should be and no one can get me back to where I want to be. Free of all the anger, all the hate, all the anxiety.

In and out of sleep, confusion of whether it is day or night as everything around is darkened. Each time the sleep leaves, the tension arrives to attack my head,  and my body drifts back to sleep where the tension no longer finds me.

I wake to a tender touch, lovingly caressing my head. The touch eases the pounding somewhat allowing me to open my eyes. Mum is sitting by me, always sitting by me, confused at my appearance.

“Hi Alexx, how are you feeling?”

“My head still really hurts and my stomach,” I murmur in a weak voice.

“Here have some water and I will get you something small to eat.”

“I’m not hungry.”

That is the last thing I feel like doing, is putting food into the centre of the stabbing pains. It would be like mixing sweets with vegetables, they simply are not meant to play together.

“I know but the doctor said you will need lots of water when you wake and something little in your tummy.”

I groan, trying to fight her request but knowing she will follow the instructions left by the doctor.

Surprisingly, after eating a little toast with jam, the pain eases a little. My head is worse and every time I try to lift it off the soft pillow, I feel dizzy and frightened I will fall again, causing more damage.

“Do you remember what happened?”

“I was at Roxie’s.”

“Yes you were at Roxie’s and she said you are upset from something but didn’t tell her. The next thing she knew you had fainted and hit your head hard on the side of her bed.”

“Well I don’t remember that bit.”

“Of course you don’t darling but why are you upset. What has happened?”

“I can’t remember.”

Mum’s eyes search mine for the truth. She always knows when we weren’t telling the truth. It is a mother thing. I had been hiding the truth for so long now, keeping secrets from her she will never see through the lie.

“Hopefully in the morning, after you have had lots of rest, you will remember what had upset you so much.”

“Maybe. Did I say anything to Roxie?” I ask hoping I haven’t shared my secret with her and forgotten.

Roxie will never understand and neither will Mum. She will see through it all and think that maybe it is partly my fault they fight all the time. I know it is because of me that Mum and Dad hate each other. I can’t have that responsibility on my shoulders.

“No, Roxie is so upset that she let you fall. She blames herself for you hurting your head. Call her tomorrow and let her know you are going to be fine.”

I nod.

“Sleep tight. If you need anything just call.”

I nod again.

“I am here for you Alexx. If you need to talk about anything, anything. I love you.”

“I love you too Mum,” I respond automatically as I roll away from her so she can’t see the tears beginning to well up in my eyes.

I know Mum loves me but I can’t risk the love by telling her about how I feel. Roxie is to blame for my situation. If she was the friend I need, the friend I want to trust, then this would never have happened. Resenting Roxie for not understanding, I drift back into sleep determined to keep my secret.




New Years Challenges

Ash and I ( oh and the family) have had a week off. We haven’t been away anywhere but it was nice just to take a back seat and chill. One of my favourite things is to catch up on the annoying things around the house that you just never seem to get time for. I think I have ticked most off my list.
This year for me is a time I think I need to start to look for work within the writing genre, following my degree. I am 2/3 rd’s through my degree in professional writing and publishing and I think this year I need to take the plunge and apply for jobs in this arena.
This year should also finally complete our house ( bought 2 years ago and done a complete make over) all while living in the house, with most of the work done by us. It will be wonderful to enjoy my beautiful home knowing I have nothing else to do in it.
Ashlea is in Yr.8 which I know gets a little harder but I’m sure she will thrive by the challenge. My number 2 starts Yr.7 so many hours will be dedicated to assisting her through an interesting year. I am nervous and excited for her at the same time. My boys are in grade 5 & 2, so we will have a senior and a junior at the school. I know my boys will have a successful year.
What’s happening with your year?

cheers natalie


2014 is definitely going to a big year for everyone in my family. Mum and I are continuing to work on our blog, Breanna is starting high school and my brothers are continuing throughout primary school. Despite having a blog to focus on, my new years resolution is to get the best results I possibly can this year in all my subjects. As well as trying hard in school, I also want to do as much writing as possible, creative as well as blogging.

There are many exciting things that are happening in my life this year. I turn fourteen, officially stepping further into being a teenager. Like with Catching Fire this year, many books that I’ve read and loved are being made into movies that are being released this year such as The Fault In Our Stars, Divergent, Mockingjay Part 1 and The Maze Runner. I hope that 2014 will be as good to you as I hope it is for me.

see ya Ashlea

“Keeping Secrets” – Ch:15 – A Fresh Start (2nd storyline)

A fresh start…..

I have heard some people say that time heals all wounds but I am lucky. I don’t need time to heal the wounds I caused Roxie. She never left my side and stayed a true friend all along. I still wonder whether I could be as caring and understanding as she is with me.

Getting ready for school, I feel a happiness I haven’t felt in a long time. The happiness stems from my friends, Roxie and Sam. Every morning I walk to school with Roxie as usual but now Sam joins us. We wait for her to catch up from further down the street and the three of us proudly go to school together as one solid friendship. I feel secure in being me, knowing it is because I have real, true friends.

There are no secrets, no hidden messages, no nasty attitudes. If Sam has something to say, we listen. If Roxie wants to play a different game at lunchtime, we agree. If I need a shoulder to cry on they are there for me.

I think I even notice a change in Brendon towards me. He will always walk with us to school but never talks to us or asks me any questions. When I watch him play football he will say ‘Hi’ but that is the extent of our relationship.

Now Brendon asks me how I am going or what is happening in my life. I have even seen him look in my direction, smiling showing his beautiful dimple and only turning away when our eyes meet. It makes my heart race and as usual my body reacts in the worst possible way. I think he likes me, really likes me.


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“Keeping Secrets” – Ch:14 – Goodbye Darkness (2nd storyline)

Goodbye darkness….

 I wake up with my head pounding as if someone has been hitting me all night. Remembering that I have cried myself to sleep until there was no tears left. Mum sat with me until I fell asleep, stroking my hair and gently rubbing my cheek with her tender hands.

 When I said I couldn’t talk about what happened at the party, she understood, actually understood. She will be there for me when I am ready. Mum knows me, better than I know myself. Mum always said she knows everything about me, that one day I would understand what she meant. I am beginning to understand.

 Trust plays a big part in life and I haven’t trusted anyone, including myself. Mum trusted me last night when I wasn’t able to confide in her but she allowed me cry on her until I fell asleep. Roxie trusted me with our friendship, always believing I would never let her down.

I am the only one who didn’t trust, but now I will. When I left Poppy’s party, I knew I was making the right decision. I need friends as much as anyone, but I need to like me first. If I had made that call to Roxie, I wouldn’t like me and lately ‘me’ is not a person I like anyway.

The darkness has drifted up into the air fading out of sight as I sit in the car waiting for Mum to make my apology for leaving. It is like I can see again, breath again. I feel sick in my stomach, sick at ruining my friendships and being left alone. I am willing to accept that because I hope I still have one friend left.

When Poppy realised I wasn’t going to play the game with her, she screamed, screamed at me and at everyone else. She locked herself in the bathroom, shedding crocodile tears and smashing whatever was at her disposal.

Bella, forever the loyal friend, tried desperately to break into the bathroom to be at the aid of Poppy in her time of need. Jo stood along side Bella, quietly watching the situation unfold, neither helping nor interfering.

Sam took this as an opportunity to speak to me without the prying eyes. Always nervous, always agreeable, Sam never goes against the group, especially Poppy. This moment was hers for the taking and Sam grabbed it with force.

“Alexx, thank you for not calling Roxie. I am really proud of you,” she said shyly, with urgency. “I don’t think I could ever be as brave as you. I really want to be friends with you. I don’t want this to stop us being friends but I’m not as brave as you.”

“I understand Sam. Thank you for being my friend, a REAL friend,” I replied giving her a quick hug goodbye.

As I left, Jo waved goodbye while she waited by the bathroom door where Poppy still barricaded herself in. The wave symbolised that she didn’t hate me but that our friendship was never going to be the same.

Mum taps gently on my door before quietly entering. Her face lights up when she realises I am awake and no longer crying. She has a cup of hot chocolate with three marshmallows, my absolute favourite. Mum places the drink down on the bedside table, delicately kissing my head, her hand softly rubbing on my cheek while whispering how much she loves me.

No pressure to talk, no pressure to do anything other than be myself. Mum leaves the room knowing I feel love and secure. She does know everything about me, everything that is important. Except how I feel about their fighting, a secret I felt better about sharing with her.

Before I speak to Mum I need to share another secret. Roxie deserves to know everything that has been going on and she deserves to hear it from me. She may hate me for not telling her in the first place and she may hate me for going to the party but it is something I have to do. Anxiously I hope she will understand and it will only make our friendship more special.

After hanging up the phone from my friend I realise the darkness has disappeared completely. There is no haze around me, no clouds pushing me down, no feeling like I am trapped. I feel free and alive and have an inner strength I know will only grow with time. I am beginning to like myself again and this feeling makes me happy.

I can hide away and leave Roxie in the dark about what happened. Roxie may never find out that I went to Poppy’s party even though I knew she wasn’t welcome. A little voice inside me made it clear that I need to be open and honest with Roxie if our friendship is ever going to survive.

A gentle tap on my bedroom door means time to face Roxie and time to face the consequences. Mum peers into the room, smiles happily at me, showing me how proud she is. I nod to let her know I am ready to open up to Roxie and am sorry for everything.

“Hi Roxie,” I say timidly.

“Hiya,” replies Roxie. “Glad you called I was getting really bored at home. Brendon stayed at a mate’s house last night and.”

“I really need to talk to you Roxie,” I interrupt not wanting the conversation to sway too far from where I need it to be.

The small amount of courage I have I need to use before it disappears.

“Oh, cool, what is it?”

“Umm, well, I have a secret that I should have told you all along but I didn’t. I just want to say sorry now and hope you will still want to be friends with me.”

Roxie stands motionless, not knowing where this is leading, looking confused. Seeing my friend innocently look at me, unaware how much I am about to hurt her and how much I need to fix everything.

I lower my head so I can avoid the penetrating stare I receive from Roxie. Twisting my hands together nervously, trying to delay my words and keep my body occupied.

“I’m confused Alexx, what is so bad?”

Silence, a deep breath…

“Poppy did have a slumber party last night and I went to it with the rest of the group. You, you are the only one not invited to go,” I finally manage to say.

Silence, my eyes slowly look up to meet her gaze. Nothing, there is no reaction, only silence.

“I can blame Poppy because it was her decision not to invite you, but we are friends and I should have told you about the party. That’s what friends do.”

More silence, then Roxie began to cry, the tears slowly roll down her cheek. I can’t reach for her, she hates that. I want to reach for her but I need to tell her the entire story hoping she will understand.

“I desperately wanted to be part of the cool group and when Poppy asked me to her slumber, it felt perfect for a minute. Until she said you weren’t invited. She said something about her Mum and numbers but deep down I knew the truth. She didn’t want you there.”

Roxie remains silent with more and more tears now streaming down her cheeks. My heart breaks for what I am doing to my best friend. My decision to treat a friend badly has caused this pain, this hurt. It is my fault and I deserve to lose her as a friend.

“Is that it?” splutters Roxie through the tears.

Shaking my head, sharing in the tears I continue, “I went to the party last night. We played truth or dare and I picked dare. Poppy gave me something I didn’t want to do because it involved you. I realised then that I was being a horrible friend and I had forgotten that you are my best friend. I am so selfish. I called Mum and left the party.”

Roxie leaps towards me, forcing me to the ground, banging my head on the leg of the chair. Allowing my body to be treated in any way Roxie needs, knowing I deserve it. She hates me, really hates me and now she wants to hurt me. I understand and I will not fight back.

The pain never arrives. There is no fighting, no screaming, no angry taunts. Roxie hugs me with all she had in her. Roxie never hugs anyone as she hates to show such emotions. As stunned as I feel, I absorb her affection, crying in her arms.

Roxie is meant to hate me like I had hated myself. She is meant to be angry and shout how much I have hurt her. She is meant to do anything but what she is doing. I don’t deserve a friend like Roxie. I don’t deserve any friends at all.

“Thank you so much Alexx,” says Roxie, her tears easing as she pulls away from me.

“For what?” I reply, crying hysterically, my emotions out of control.

“For what?? You stood up for me and that makes for a great friend.”

“But I lied to you about the party and going to the party.”

“And you then stuck up for me and even came home from the party. I never expected you to leave.”

Between the noise of my tears and the emotional relief of finally sharing my secret, I think I must’ve misheard Roxie. What did she mean that she never expected me to leave! Confused and a little disoriented from my fall to the ground, I need confirmation.

“You never expected me to leave, does that mean you knew I is at the party?”

Roxie nods without elaborating, leaving me to continue on my own.

“But if you knew, why didn’t you say anything?” I ask desperate to know. Trying to put myself in her shoes, I know I would have said something to her. My hurt and anger would have gotten the better of me and I probably would have exploded. So why didn’t Roxie treat me the way I have treated her?

“I tried to but you made it clear that you weren’t going to say anything, remember when I over heard the girls in the toilets. They mentioned you were going. I was angry and hurt, really hurt, so much I actually felt sick.”

Silently I wait for her to continue, remembering that moment and how I felt sick not telling her. There we are best friends but neither of us comfortable to share a secret that needs to be shared.

“When I got home, I talked to Mum and she reminded me that it wasn’t your fault I wasn’t invited, so I shouldn’t get angry with you. I was hurt you didn’t trust me and upset you knew it would hurt my feelings to be left out.”

“I am sorry, I am sorry,” I say, the tears beginning once again with the realisation of how much I have hurt my friend. If I told her in the first place, she would have understood and maybe I could have stayed friends with everyone.

Roxie gently reaches for me again to share in a hug. A simple hug that makes me feel special and important in her life. The friendship we share has changed. We are closer than before and I have learnt a wonderful lesson.

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