Saturday, September 16, 2017

Short Story | Beginning Again


Hey everyone,

I wrote another short story recently. So recent, in fact, that I only submitted it to uni yesterday. I think it's alright; obviously, I haven't got any marks back for it yet, but I'm confident it will do well. I hope you enjoy it!

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My room is empty. Everything in boxes on a truck full of our stuff. I feel like we barely moved in here. I’d only just started unpacking before we were moving again. I guess that’s what it’s like when your dad’s in the army. I should be used to moving by now, but I’m not. My school friends lose touch every time we move. Every. Single. Time. And every single time I go through the same ordeal of having to find new ones, even though I know I’ll say goodbye before I properly get to know them. I wish it wasn’t like this. Why can’t Dad just have a normal office job? We’d live in the same place for longer than 2 years. I really hate moving.

“Come on, Mel, we’re leaving soon,” Ashton murmurs as he walks past me, carrying a box labelled ‘Footy Stuff’ in black Sharpie, “You can’t stand in that doorway forever.”

“Watch me,” I say, desperately trying to hold on to the last bit of ‘home’ I have left. They can’t drive away without me.

“Okay, I will,” he says, placing the box on the floor and leaning against the wall on the other side of the hallway. He was staring at me, I could tell.

I can’t leave Raina, Sadie or Lily. I have their numbers in my phone, but as with every big move, I’ll lose contact with them and never see them again.

“Melina,” Mum calls from downstairs, “We’ll leave without you if you don’t come down in the next ten seconds!”

I must’ve wasted three precious seconds getting a final look at my old room, soaking up as many memories as I could before racing down the stairs and into our old station wagon.

This is it. I’ll never see this place again, I think as Dad manoeuvres the car out of the place we briefly called home and onto the Pacific Highway, up to Queensland.

“Hey, Mel, d’ya wanna play I spy?” Ash asks innocently, poking me in the ribs.

“Sure,” I say with a wry smile after Mum gives him a stern look. She hates when we play loud games in the car. I don’t really know why.

“You go first,” Ash says gleefully. I stare out the window, trying to find something that isn’t a tree.

“I spy with my little eye, something beginning with F.”

After many guesses of random things starting with F, my favourite being fleas (“How could I ever spy a flea, Ash?”), he finally yells, much to Mum’s dismay:

“Flowers!”

I nod and applaud his efforts. He laps up the attention, even earning a little smile from Mum.

“Well, I knew that F couldn’t have been for friends. You’re rubbish at finding those,” Ash teases, laughing.

It’s true. I’ve never been very good at making friends after moving. The friend groups already have no vacancies by the time I get there, no matter how early I book in. I can’t just go barging into a tight-knit group of girls and expect them to be friends with me. I can see their stunned and disgusted looks already at my nervous, trembling hands and my words that fall out on top of each other, resulting in a mess I can’t clean up. I can see that empty corner near the toilets, waiting for me to eat my lunch there.

I laugh it off and stare out the window for a minute or so, collecting my thoughts and taking a deep breath.

“Ash, it’s your turn.”

By the time we get to Brisbane, it’s late afternoon and we’re all starving. Dad insisted we keep driving until we get there, saying traffic could get worse later in the day. We pull into a Macca’s near to where our new house is, clamber out of the car and into Macca’s before you could say “Are we there yet?”.

“Mel, can you order for us while we find a table?” Dad asks, “You know what we’ll have.”

“Yep,” I say, letting out a shaky breath. You can do this, Melina.

I amble up to the counter and stare at the menu, my heart beating too fast, avoiding eye contact with the cashier. She clears her throat and asks what I’d like to order.

“C-could I-I please g-get the-”

“Two medium Big Mac meals, one small McChicken meal, and a Hamburger Happy Meal. All with fries and a Coke, please,” Ash recites to the olive-skinned teenage girl behind the counter. I whisper a thank you to my brother on the way to our table.

“No problem, Mel. I know how hard it is for you to talk to strangers,” he says, giving me a pat on the back, “Besides, the chick was hot.”

“She’s way out of your league, Ash. And you’re only nine, anyway,” I say as we wait for our order to be ready. Maybe she’ll be one of my friends. I doubt it.

“Order one sixty-eight!” the same girl calls from behind the counter. Being closest to the counter, I get up to retrieve the meals. I do my best to disguise my utter terror.

“Th-thank y-you,” I manage to blurt out, but she’s already moved onto the next customer. Great. Awesome. The one time I am able to finish a sentence and she ignores me. Why do I even try?

I eat my dinner in relative silence. Ash and Dad discuss the weekend’s footy results. Dad and Ash’s team, the Bulldogs, didn’t go too well this week. Mum and I grin and nod as they discuss everything that went wrong and how the better team lost and blah blah blah. Why do they even try?

***

It took about two weeks to unpack all my things and put them around my room. After repainting the walls light blue, I tried to arrange the furniture exactly as it was in our old house. My bed in one corner, with blue sheets and pillows galore; a plain bedside table next to my bed, displaying a digital clock and lamp; my desk sat in the other corner, decorated with trinket boxes and scented candles; a tall, wooden cupboard stood up against the wall, full to the brim with clothes and topped with random junk. In the middle of the wooden floor lay a circular rug with a pink flower pattern on it.

“Wake up, Mel, it’s a school day!” Mum calls from somewhere near. I sit up, bleary-eyed, rubbing the sleep from my face. Oh no. The first day of school after the holidays. Always the worst, without fail.

I eat cereal in front of the TV, trying to distract myself from the day to come. It wasn’t working, of course. My stomach had already started churning. Anxious thoughts were already rocketing around my head, bouncing off one another and obscuring the rational thoughts from view.

Eight o’clock rolls around, and I’m a nervous wreck. I get into the car, already trembling, and focus on the horizon the whole drive to school. No matter what I do, my stomach still churns with no signs of slowing down.

“Alright, Mel, we’re here,” Mum announces from the front seat, parking the car on the side of the road, “I still have to drop off Ash, so we can’t take too long.”

I clamber out and haul my bag onto my back. Mum begins walking me to the office.

“Wait,” I whimper, causing Mum to stop and turn to me. My stomach still had not calmed down. I run over to the freshly manicured school gardens and re-introduce myself to my breakfast. The cornflakes intermingle with the Milo into a puddle of shame as I wipe my mouth, hoping no one else saw.

“Shit,” Mum mutters, “Sweetie, have some water. It’ll help.”

I follow her instructions and make a silent prayer that I won’t throw up again. Finally making it to the school gates, we head for the office. The office lady tells us that my homeroom was room A14. Waving goodbye to Mum, I trudge across the school grounds in the direction that the office lady had pointed, and soon find the door with A14 emblazoned on it in sharp white lettering. I take a seat at the front and push my bag under the desk. A stout, balding man is sifting through files at the front of the class.

“Good morning, class, and welcome to the start of a new year at school. My name is Mr Brady, and I’m homeroom teacher for this year,” he announces once the bell rings.

There is all the usual starting-at-a-new-school malarkey of timetables and lockers, but before too long, we are off to classes. I walk off to grade ten maths alone, not making eye contact with anyone while waiting for the teacher to show up.

“Hi, are you that shaky girl from the other day?” says a girl I recognised as the one from Macca’s, who was standing across from me.

Oh no. She’s gonna judge me. I can already feel those disdainful looks burning into my retinas. To my surprise, she extends her hand out to me and I tentatively reach my trembling hand out to shake hers.

“I’m Serena,” she says, beaming at me, her eyes twinkling. I noticed a student council badge gleaming on her uniform.

“I- I’m Mel-Melina,” I stutter.

“How are you adjusting to the new school? I know I was nervous when I started here.”

“I-I’m not coping too well, a-actually,” I answer, my hands still shaking.

“Wanna sit with me at lunch then? I can show you round, ease your nerves.”

“Th-that sounds great, th-thanks,” I say with a jittery smile. Maybe this new school won’t be as bad as I thought.

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Thank you so much for reading. I hope you liked it!

Love, Nicky x

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Uni Troubles and Running Struggles



Hey everyone!

I’m sorry that this post is a day later than its supposed to be, but I’ve just had no time to write anything this week. I feel like this is one of those assignments where you know you have to do it, but nothing is coming to mind. I don’t want to let all of you down, and I promised at the start of the year that I would post once a week (I did say Saturdays, but Sunday will do I guess). Anyway, I thought I would update you a bit on my life.

I have been going to uni every time there has been a lecture or a tutorial, which would be fine if two of my lectures didn’t require me to basically climb Mt Everest to get there. I haven’t met a single person at uni who doesn’t have a name for it. I call it the Hill of Death, but I have also heard it call Heart Attack Hill and Mt Crucible. My legs feel like they’re on fire every time I climb it. It’s even worse when I’m running late for the lecture. Normally, I just walk up it at an even pace. On days when I’m late, I pick up the pace a bit (not running, since my bag is too heavy) and power up the hill, legs blazing by the time I sit down in the lecture hall.

I have so many assignments due in the next two weeks, its actually ridiculous. I have a short story due next Friday (the 15th), a take home exam released on the 13th and due back by the 19th, and another story and a synopsis due both on the next Friday (the 22nd). I think, if I haven’t come up with any other ideas for blog posts in the next two weeks, I’ll probably post a short story or two. There’s a tad less death in these ones as there was in my last one (which I am exceedingly proud of, by the way).

Recently, I have gotten back into running. I’m not running that far, or that fast, but it still counts. Mum has an app called C25k (Couch to 5k), which trains you up over eight weeks to be able to run five kilometres without stopping. So far, we’re up to week two, and my breathing is a big issue. I figured out that I have to take my puffer before I go out on a run otherwise my breathing gets really rapid and short and I feel like I’m gonna die. I’ve survived so far, but the amount of time running picks up in week three, so we’ll see how it goes.

I had a running disaster the other week. Mum and Dad do Parkrun, and have been begging me for the longest time to run with them again. The other week, I decided I would oblige (worst decision of my life). Basically, one kilometre into the run, my old orthotics that were still in my shoes began to rub at the sides of my feet. I had matching blisters on my feet for about a week, and haven’t done parkrun since. We did get me new running shoes the next day, but getting up at 6am to run is not my idea of a good time.

Other than that, there isn’t really much else to catch you up on. I did have a meltdown over an assignment I left too late a couple of weeks ago, but it’s all fine, I don’t have to present it until late October.

Do you have any running or organisation tips I could use? What about some blog post ideas?

Love, Nicky x

Saturday, September 2, 2017

August Favourites


Hey everyone!

Yet again, we have come to the end of another month. That can only mean one thing. Its monthly favourites time! This August has been a really big one; I had my 18th birthday, my party, and lots of fun along the way. I didn’t really use many different things to what I was using in July, but there were some things, so let’s get onto that!


My first favourite is Lush Snow Fairy. I bought this last December when it actually was Christmas time, but at that point I still had a body wash on the go. I only finished it a couple of weeks ago, so I haven’t been using Snow Fairy for that long. I absolutely love it. The scent is very very sweet and may be overpowering for some people, but I think it’s just right. It lathers up really well; you only have to use the tiniest bit on the loofah, so it’ll last practically ages. Since it is a Christmas product, it won’t be available until at least November, but it is definitely worth the wait!


My next favourite is the Head and Shoulders shampoo and conditioner. The shampoo is apple scented, and the conditioner says it will make your hair smooth and silky. My hair has some dandruff in it, but this shampoo is really helping I think. I’ve only used it for a couple of weeks, but it has already started working its magic. I do still have dandruff, but it is definitely less than before I started using Head and Shoulders.


For my birthday, Mum and Dad got me some really nice shoes. They are from Forever New, and they are black wedge trainers. I love them a lot since they make me taller than 5 feet (which is what I say I am normally). They are really comfortable and easy to walk in, and they go with every outfit combination I have. Initially, the zips were hard to pull up because they were new and a bit stiff, but now it's fine and I can put them on without any difficulty. Mum also told me that she was lucky to find them. They were the last ones in Queensland since they’re old stock, but there are new designs in store that are equally nice. I am in love with them and wear them whenever I can since they are casual enough to wear with jeans, yet fancy enough to wear to a party.


You may know that I have been rereading the Harry Potter series throughout this year, and I’m currently in the middle of the Half Blood Prince. I really love Harry Potter. Like, a really lot. I have been finding time to read it before bed every night, so I definitely have a reading habit going now. I started reading the Half Blood Prince about a week ago, and I am already about three-quarters of the way through. I don’t think the Half Blood Prince is my favourite of the series (that title will always go to the Prisoner of Azkaban), but I still really enjoy my nightly trips to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I love seeing all the foreshadowing that I didn’t get the first time around, it’s really interesting how Jo’s done it, since I am a writer myself.

My final favourite for this month is my 18th birthday party. It may have been really stressful to organise, but the night itself was fantastic. I had a really good time with my friends and it’s not a night I’m going to forget any time soon. There was music, drinks, presents and a lot of laughs. It was a great night and a great way to celebrate my birthday.

What have been your August favourites? Do you like mine?


Love, Nicky x