Abigail awoke with a jolt to the sound of a chirruping, hiccupping from some unknown creature which to be honest could have been inside or outside her room. She wasn’t too sure and was reluctant to open her eyes to find out. The morning was bright and sunny but frosty so the desire to curl up and roll herself into a duvet cocoon was over-powering. However, within minutes Debbie burst in the door:
“OH DARLING! YOU’RE STILL ASLEEP! BUT IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY dow-now-now…”
Try as she might to ignore the dancing presence in her bedroom, Abi found the enthusiasm contagious and within minutes the two girls were shaking and bopping and twisting… like it wasn’t a Monday morning. The giggling, dancing fete was brought to an abrupt halt by Frank, who stood sobbing at the door. Abi quickly stopped the merriment and ran to console him.
“I’m not sad Abi, I’m just so thrilled this day has come but also sad to see you go. That probably doesn’t make much sense to you right now but it will some day.”
She kissed him on the cheek and ran to her wardrobe – what on earth was she going to wear!? Pretty dress? Cool jeans and a top? Within minutes her clothes had been completely ransacked and lay in piles on the bedroom floor. Normally such chaos would cause Debbie to loose her cool – she was not a fan of any sort of mess – but today she remained pensive, quietly picking up and folding the clothes Abi was dropping around her.
“Do you think they’ll like me? Is my bag big enough? Will I like them? What if they’re mean? What if I miss you? What if something happens and you’re not there? WHAT ABOUT BEN?!”
This last query was accompanied by Abi holding aloft the stuffed brown bear she had received for her fourth birthday and had gone everywhere with her since. She assumed (correctly) that where she was going would not be a place for Ben. This was something she had to do alone. Always knowing how to handle Abi’s panics, Debbie hugged her deeply and explained that life is full of what ifs but finding out was what living is all about. She explained that there is always going to be things to fear, if you want to be afraid, but Abi was stronger than that – Abi was going to be brave and happy and try new things, and sometimes leave Ben behind because she could always come back later and tell him stories of her adventures. This soothed Abi and she quickly returned to over-excitement as she thought about what lay ahead of her today.
With the help of Debbie and Frank, the perfect outfit was finally selected. Abi knew she was gorgeous – didn’t people tell her all the time. Though they insisted on calling her outfit a dress, which she knew to be wrong now… its not a dress, it’s a mogel! She had never seen another mogel on any of her shopping trips with Debbie but her aunts insisted that this is what it was. Who was she to question them?
Abi practically had to be pinned down for Debbie to do something with her hair. Her excitement was just too grand. She ran down the stairs singing ‘today’s the day, today’s the day, its finally here! Today’s the daaaaayyyy yeah”.
Frank had breakfast ready for her. They were late and she knew it. She gobbled down the weetabix and fruit sloppily and wipe her face on her sleeve.
Ronald, the resident spaniel, was strolling through the front hall when Abi pounced;
“Ronaldo! Don’t be sad, I’ll return and tell you all about it! I know you’ve been crying all night but its going to be great! Though I am scared, I wish you could come with me in case anyone is mean…”
Suddenly Abi could feel tears welling up – how were there tears left?! She had cried with Debbie for days leading up to this. Cried for joy, fear, excitement, panic. She had cried when she didn’t know what she was crying about. A big change was coming and they could all feel it. An impromptu team meeting was called! Ben, Ronald and Abi huddled together for one last group hug and pep talk:
“Ok guys, here we go! I’ve got my brand new bag, I’m pretty, I have my smile on (as per Franks instructions). I promise, I’ll tell you everything this evening. Wish me luck!” Ronald yawned widely in response.
Abi was shucking on her coat and picking up her bag, heading for the door with Debbie and Frank when suddenly Frank stopped dead in his tracks.
“Picture! We must take a picture!!” He ran into the sitting room and emerged within seconds with the fancy Kodak Abi knew she wasn’t supposed to touch (but did sometimes for the thrill). Frank began setting up the Kodak and snapping like he had only minutes left to ever take a picture again. Debbie had her phone out, though whether she was taking photos or recordings Abi wasn’t sure so she did a quick dance routine and a few poses just in case. Now it really was time to go though. The bus pulled up outside of the house. The photographers stopped what they were doing and quickly hugged and kissed Abi – both were in floods of tears now but insisting they were ‘happy tears’. Abi really wasn’t sure at this point if she was supposed to be happy or sad or laughing or crying. All she knew was that her legs suddenly felt very wobbly and a swarm of butterflies had began fluttering all around her stomach. Just before getting onto the bus Abi looked back at Frank and Debbie one last time (and hoped she’d see them again soon!)
“Bye mom!!! By Dad!!!”.
“Goodbye darling! Have a wonderful first day at school. We love you!”