Saturday, 21 February 2015


I am sitting near the back of the bus. Not at the back. I am not ‘cool’ enough to sit at the back. I am glad I am not cool enough. As Moon often says ‘Bathe and be blessed that you aren’t Goat.’

Moon. Moon is my new best friend. She started coming to our school last year. Her parents moved North. Moved from somewhere in Florida. I am so glad they did.

First day in our class. I mean her first day. She walked right in, real bold, crisp as a winter’s morning, introduced herself to Mrs Tice – French teacher – and plonked herself down. Down in the free chair next to mine.

You see, I am not completely ‘nerdy’. Not that. But I am a bit of a geek. Okay, okay, no point in wandering a looping path when the way ahead is straight, as my Granny was wont to say. I am a lot of a geek. And a ‘swot’ according to the popular girls. Like I said I am not ‘cool’ so often, in whatever class, the seat next to me was free.

When Moon arrived though, everything changed. Break that morning, she wanted to hang with me. Blackest curls, thick hair flowing past her shoulders, framing a pale face, she grabs my arm in the corridor. Her voice…her voice when she spoke, well, I didn’t know the word then but it was euphonic, clear as a crystal bell.

‘Hi, I’m Marcia but everyone calls me Moon.’
I peer at her vole-like from under my fringe (figures I thought). ‘I…I’m Gert, short for Gertrude but,’ I hesitate, reddening, anticipating the abuse, ‘ but everyone seems to want to call me Goat.’ I look away.
‘Goat, what a wicked name,’ she replies without a trace of sarcasm.

Sorry, sorry, I am not being ‘germane’ as our English teacher, Mr Hunter often tells me when I waffle in class, adding ‘Get on with it girl’!

So, months later, we are sitting on the bus, nearly end of Summer term, and Moon says, ‘these Birkenstock hurt my feet’.
Did I hear right? The ‘cool’ girls are making lots of noise. ‘What?’
‘those berks at the back have me beat,’ she pulls a face.
‘Oh Moon,’ I giggled.
‘Are you saving for the trip?’
‘The trip?’ I played dumb.
‘Goat, the trip, the TRIP,’ her eyes are incredulous.
My mouth is dry, it needs lubrication but I know my water bottle is empty. The TRIP is one to Paris. That’s Europe not Texas. It is in the Autumn but my parents have ruled it out. They cannot afford for me to go. Not told Moon yet.

She is waiting. Only a few months and already I hate to disappoint her. But that day, when she fixes me with her ocean eyes, I guess that day I realise I am a little bit in love.

Copyright Gabrielle Goldsmith 2015

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