Mary sat in her bedroom window watching the removalist load the last of their furniture onto the truck. She was so angry at her mum and dad for taking her away from all her friends. She promised to write to Leila who lived across the street. Leila waved to Mary, her favourite skipping rope in her hand, as the car backed slowly out of the driveway. Mary waved back from the back window, until the car turned a corner and Leila faded out of sight.
They were moving from Albury near the Victorian border, up to Sydney, as her dad had been offered a job opportunity that was too good to pass up. Her father wasn’t the most loving of men, yet Mary adored him. Nobody argued with him. When he said jump, people asked ‘How high?’ He was almost six foot four and a big cigar could usually be found wedged between his yellowing teeth.
The average household salary was five and a half thousand dollars. This job paid just over seven. He didn’t discuss it with Mary or her mum, before deciding he would take it. So, off to Sydney they all went.
They drove to Sydney is her dad’s 1953 Volkswagen Beetle. Her mother had chosen the car as it was purple, Mary’s favourite colour. They were nearing the truck stop just outside of Gundagai, to stretch their legs and go to the toilet. Mary had her Polaroid camera at the ready to take a picture with famous ‘Dog on the Tuckerbox’.
There was many a sing along on the long trip up to Sydney. ‘Why aren’t you singing sweetie, you love this song?’her mother asked, a look of deep concern etched across her kind rounded face. Mary looked up at her mother from her colouring in book, a lump forming in her little throat. ‘I’m going to miss my friends. It’s not fair.’
Her mother reached behind her seat and patted Mary on the knee. ‘I know its hard sweetheart, life’s not fair sometimes. You can call and write to your friends. It will be OK. You’ll make new friends. I promise.’
Turning away from her mother, Mary sobbed, ‘I don’t want to make new friends. I want to go home.’ After leaving the truck stop, Mary hardly said a word to her parents for the remainder of the trip, mindlessly working on her colouring in.
The Beetle finally pulled up in the driveway of their new home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, as they all got out and had a good stretch, their weary bodies as stiff as a board. Across the road was Coogee Beach, foam crested waves crashing onto the shore. It was dusk and a noisy flock of screeching cockatoos, were competing with some seagulls fighting over a chip, for the noisiest birds award.
The house was much bigger than their old one. Mary looked up in wonder at the double story waterfront property. It had a white picket fence, a perfectly manicured hedge, lush green lawn, pretty shutters on all the windows, and a big wooden front door, complete with brass knocker. It was beautiful. Mary continued to take in the beauty as she breathed in the crisp sea air.
The removal truck was still a fair way behind them. Her father opened the front door, and Mary ran up the stairs excitedly shouting, ‘Which one is my room?’ Her father led her down the long hallway to a room with a little bay window, adorned with lace frilled curtains, and an expansive view of the ocean. The bedroom walls has been painted purple.
Unpublished Work (c) Hayley Walsh 2020