Friday Afternoon

The shrill of the school bell marked the end of not just the school day, but the school week. Bettina looked upon the heavens and sent up a prayer of exhausted thanks. 

Year 7 had been hard work all lesson. Dealing with their continual outbursts, seat hopping and incessant requests to go to the bathroom was making her feel dizzy. She had dealt with one spot fire after another. It was like herding cats.

The class should’ve been down at the church, listening to Father Stephens talk about the significance of Mass. His skill in holding the girls’ shaky attention spans was a miracle to behold. Father Stephens had a flawless way of making the spiritual exotic and exciting for the girls. Bettina knew Father’s presentation was a personal conspiracy to enlighten Year 7 to not behave like a rabble of excited chickens when they entered the house of the Lord.

Mother nature had other plans. Bettina’s chance to sit in a serene church, laughing at father’s lame jokes was lost when torrential rain descended upon the girls as they chirped away under the tiny shelter. Bettina’s heart sank when the loudspeaker cancelled the visit. Sending the girls home sopping wet with lumpy blazers and hats was not part of the school’s prospectus. 

Bettina waited for the girls to pack up and stand quietly to be dismissed.

‘Good afternoon girls. Have a lovely weekend,’ Bettina offered with joyful relief.

The girls’ responses were drowned by the sound of projectile vomit exploding from Maxine Mackenzie.

Bettina froze and watched the tiniest girl in the class spraying remnants of her lunchtime sandwich across the desks and carpet. Maxine had become a human pump of bile and partially digested organic matter that put Regan from The Exorcist to shame. 

‘Miss Jones, Maxine has vomited,’

‘Yes Ruby, I can see that.’ Thank you for stating the obvious, Bettina thought as she called the office to report the incident.

This is so going into my memoir; Bettina shook her head as she helped to tidy up Maxine and wipe what she could before the cleaner could finish the job.

After depositing Maxine at the front office, Bettina trudged up the old wooden stairs to the staffroom. 

‘You look like you've been dragged through an army obstacle course,’ Anna her department head noted.

‘More like vomit,’ Bettina sighed as she collapsed in her chair. 

‘What? Who? Bad?’

‘Yes. Vomit. One of my Year 7s.’

She caught Anna’s attempt to hide a smile.

 

Maybe it was because she was tired. Maybe because smiles are just so contagious, but one started to sneak out of Bettina. ‘Put it this way, if we put Maxine in the centre of the oval and spun her around, she could’ve fertilised that entire garden.’ 

‘Are you okay?’ Anna erupted in laughter.

‘Nothing that bucket of wine can’t fix when I get home,’ Bettina smiled.

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