The walk to school is as long as ever. First to the playgroup, to drop of Lily, then to the nursery to leave Rosa and the buggy, then the primary school for the other 3. This is the most awkward drop off because Tom and Ben hate school. They’d rather be messing on at home, and they hate sitting still for long periods of time, like during lessons. On more than one occasion, we’ve had letters home asking for parents to come into school. Usually it’s me who ends up going, unless I can persuade mum to go. But the school don’t mind, I am a registered carer for her. It’s my responsibility to go to things like that.
Once I’ve finally made the twins stay in school, it’s off to my own. It’s only 2 minutes away, but sometimes I wish it was further away, because school is quite literally my personal hell. Most of the people there are jerks and I hate them. They all think I’m posh, and they all seem to act like thugs. Bullies, the whole lot of them. They pick on the weaker kids, and it’s not fair. I’m not usually a target of the physical bullies, though. I’m tall and I’m tough, so instead they tend to just verbally bully me. Which I can deal with.
I’m more worried about next year, when Jemima joins the school. She’ll never be able to cope like I can. She’s small, and I know she has no close friends to protect her like mine protect me. I’m scared for her, because I know I won’t be able to protect her 24/7. And she deserves better than the bullies. I just don’t know how she’s going to cope, unless she makes friends soon. She’s just so reserved, I don’t see that happening.
I trudge through the gates and reach my crowd of friends: Chris, Alex, Carrie and Luke. My closest friends in the world. NOT. I am close with them, yes, but I always feel like the outsider. They all do stuff together out of school, and I can’t do that. I used to (well a little bit), up until 2 years ago, when mum got worse. I don’t have time to go out anymore. Luke’s my replacement in the group. He only joined the school 2 years ago, and he’s a bit younger than the rest of us. But he’s cool, I guess.
No, my real best friend lives several miles away. He’s called PJ, and I met him at this meeting of young carers in the area. He looks after his grandma, and he’s awesome. Really awesome. We skype all of the time, well not all of the time. When we have a chance. Which, if I’m honest, isn’t very often. But he understands why I have no free time, and he understands my parental instincts over my family. He’s a great guy to talk to, and I wish we went to the same school. But then maybe he’d get annoyed that I could never hang out with him.
Maybe its better that I have no true friends.
The bell rings before I can even greet my friends, and I trudge off towards my form room. I have no lessons with anyone that I like. Seriously. I sit at the back of the classroom, by the window, and think about how the others are doing in school, about what needs doing when I get home and about how I’m going to fail my GCSEs at the end of this year. It’s not as if I don’t try, and when I was younger I used to be really bright! I just don’t have time to be clever anymore.
I’m knocked out of my thoughts by a shadow passing over me. I look up and see a small, black haired boy with bright blue eyes and really pale skin. He’s clutching his bag and a bundle of papers nervously, and his uniform is perfect. I instantly recognise a new kid. I stare at him, waiting for him to speak.
“Sorry... Miss Roberts said to sit next to you” he whispers, looking at the ground nervously.
“Oh, sure. I say, moving up to make room for him”
Why Miss Roberts put him next to me, I don’t know. She knows that I don’t talk to people my own age very easily, I find it easier to talk to kids. I guess that’s a side effect of being with my siblings all of my free time. I notice the new kids muse badges all over his bag, and his pokemon keyring. It’s just my luck to be sat next to someone who I could actually get along with really. Because I know that if I talk to him and I like him, I’ll actually get my hopes up that I’ll have a true friend in school. And then he’ll crush all my hopes when he discovers my home situation, just like everyone does.
It’s not worth getting my hopes up.