Ears ringing, body stinging and pride dented, I lay on my bed marvelling at the injustice and hypocrisy that leaves me in this condition. I worked hard, remembered my verses, got extra points participated and encouraged my fellow team members to do the same.
The prize on offer was so far away from anything that I could ever hope for in my existence. A life marked by hand me downs, never enough money, always second best. Where Christmas presents were an absolute luxury, an orange, banana, and a tin clicker in the stocking. Lemonade was a once a year treat and roast chicken… well. That was my lot and to dream of a chance to fly in an aircraft let alone a chance to take the controls was almost more than this eleven year old could imagine. But this was indeed the prize for the best group at Boys Rally.
On the last night of the year the points were tallied up. After the food which was consumed with the speed that only boys can emulate, we gathered in our groups to hear the eagerly anticipated results. Three prizes to be awarded six teams competing. Disappointed groans emitted from the third place getters only stimulated our nervousness, with sweaty palms and a slight feeling of anxiety I await second prize.
Relief and nervousness all mixed up as I hear Kowhai announced as second prize winners. I can feel a little shiver of excitement start to build into a kind of hopefulness as I wait to hear the words, and there they come Kauri, I groan but they are teasing us, congratulations fourth place. It just extends the sweet misery and nervousness that I am feeling. Then the unbelievable words first place to Rimu. We whoop and holler and dance our delight.
I am ecstatic we have won…. I have won. In m y life it is like going to Disneyland. Fly in a plane!! Soar amongst the clouds, see people on the ground like ants, cars like dinky toys… yes I have read about flying, dreamt about flying and imagined what it may be like and here I am, I am going to fly in a plane and fly a plane!
The trip home seemed to take forever; I can hardly wait to tell my mum my fantastic news. I burst through the door, gambolling, running and yapping like a puppy. I am off my face with excitement then I tell my Mum. Oh that is nice she says.
I feel the happiness disappear as a cold chill sweeps over me, I tell myself it is ok she hasn’t said the magic words yet, those words once uttered are like a death sentence, those bitter words that bring desolation, fear, anxiety and despair to this boys heart. They rise up like bitter bile. Once uttered they are never commuted, they should be words of hope but…they are like a whip to my soul. Just two words. I say “it’s this Sunday afternoon mum”, after church. And then the words fall from her tongue like huge lumps of concrete, crushing my dreams and hopes, “we’ll see” she utters.
I put on a brave face and tell myself, if I am extra good, doo all my jobs, don’t argue with my siblings and pray the rosary I will go. I convince myself of this and go to bed happy…almost.
Sunday afternoon arrives, I haven’t been in trouble, I’ve been to church and even confession twice. Prayed the rosary went to the Stations of the Cross, surely blessed Jesus will hear my prayers. “Time to go mum” I say and then she lifts the suspended sentence, takes away the uncertainty, brings me back to reality with a resounding crash. “No you can’t go with those bloody heathen brethren”. Do they think they are better than us, no son for your own good you can’t go.
Running to my room I leap onto my bed and rock, curled into a ball, sobbing into my pillow, absolutely devastated and broken at the injustice and dissapointment. I know that I must hold it in, I mustn’t shout or question. I dare not show how angry I am. Too late, overwhelmed with the injustice and I scream at the top of my voice.” It’s not fair, I hate you! Silence falls in the house.
We all know what is coming next, like a hurricane Mum bursts into my room, there is one chance for redemption,” what did you say Paul she screams, if only I can just say nothing Mum; or sorry but I am consumed by anger and not concerned for the consequences and I spit the words out and say them slow and cold, fateful words issue from my mouth even though I know what is coming next. I hate you I hiss. The blows rain down on me as the fly swat administers its revenge. “ I’ll show you she screams”, finally spent and exhausted she leaves me and all I can think is to quietly say to myself. Ha ha I still hate you!