I open my eyes. It's 8.00. My alarm rings twice. I switch it off. It's bright outside. I close the curtains. Why does mum open them after I go to sleep? My teeth are furry. I brush them. Twice. I put on my school clothes. Downstairs. Mum is still asleep. I make breakfast. Cocopops and full cream milk, homogenised. I sit at the table and eat breakfast, 23 spoonfuls. It's 8.19. I wash my bowl and put on my winter jacket.
I walk along our driveway. It's covered in snow. I wait for the bus. 8.25. The bus arrives and I get on. School. I get off the bus and walk to my first class, mathematics. 8.45. I wait outside the classroom until the bell rings. Algebra. y + 20 = 4 × y - 10. Lunch. I get lunch from the cafeteria, salad sandwich and fruit salad. I sit under a tree by the art block. At 12.33 a girl walks up to me and sits down beside me. I move over. She makes me uncomfortable.
'Hel-lo,' she says. Her mouth bends upwards. 'How are you today Dot?' How does she know my name? I look over at a group of kids in the distance. Their mouths are open, flapping. Like water going down a drain.
'You don't want to talk hey? Well we can just sit here then. My name is Zip by the way.' 12.55. I walk to my next class, science. Newton's First Law Of Motion. Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it. Bus stop. I wait for the bus to arrive. I sit at the back. Home. Mum is awake, she is making dinner.
'Hello sweetie,' she says.
'Hello,' I say.
'I am making your favourite for dinner, chicken and mashed potato.' Her mouth bends and her eyes crinkle. I sit down on the lounge and watch television. The News At Five. There are lots of explosions. People with distorted faces. Wrinkly men talking about nothing. The Simpsons. Lots of yellow people with four fingers and bright clothes.
'Dinner is ready sweetie.' It is 6.23. Dinner table. I eat the chicken and mashed potato. It tastes good. 'I like this a lot,' I say to mum. Her eyes crinkle.
I finish dinner and wash my plate. Bathroom. I brush my teeth and then put on my pyjamas. I get in to bed. It's warm. It's 8.57. I close my eyes.
* * *
'Zip darling. It's time to get up.' I hear my mother rapping at my bedroom door. 'It's time for school,' she continues.
'I'm awake mum.' I pull the blankets off me and realise how freezing it is this morning.
I look out the window: it's a beautiful sunny day; there is not a cloud in the sky. I make my way to the bathroom and brush my teeth. I love the new toothpaste mum bought, it's so minty and it actually makes my teeth whiter. I have a shower and head downstairs for breakfast. Mum and dad are both at the dining table.
'Good morning Zip,' dad says over the morning paper. Mum slides a hot cup of coffee over to him. 'I've made pancakes for breakfast.'
'Yay! Thanks mum.' I run over to the bench and put some pancakes on a plate. I sit down at the table and douse them in maple syrup. My gosh, this is heaven. I wolf down three full-size pancakes and mum and dad give me that look. I respond by grinning at them both with my shiny white teeth.
'If you eat too quickly you will get indigestion.' I laugh, 'But mum, they're so delicious.' Before she starts up again I get up from the table. 'Look at the time, I've got to get to school.'
I grab my bag and run out the door. 'Zipora. Come back here right now and wash up your plate!' I turn around 'Sorry mum, I'll be late for the bus. I'll do it when I get home.' I hop on the bus and take a seat near the front. I love the trip to school. The landscape is just so beautiful. I look out the window as the bus goes over a bridge; the blue water sparkles far below. When the bus arrives at school I get out and meet up with Hayley, Westina, and Sheryl outside the tuckshop.