Second Degree Exam Trauma

Engrossed in my book, I cheat them all
into looking through me to the stark
magnolia walls.  I'm surrounded
by children, by noise and happy chat.
And I do not belong in this room
where I'm sat.  Mums and Dads together
look proud of their High Flying children
and they're equally loud with their praise
and their stories of their wonderful
lives - and for a fleeting moment I
suspect it's all lies.  I'm distracted
by my daughter as she skips over
to me, looking nervous and anxious
and ill-fitting like me.  I give her
a smile and a wink and I say, 'It
will all be over soon and we'll be
on our way.'  As she gives me a hug
I feel people looking.  I'm aware
that they've spied the holes in her clothing.  
Second-hand garments that the Mistress
had saved, given out to ensure that
they all look the same.  Of course that is
what matters in this high flying game. 
Once my babe has been called, my fingers
twitch as I roll the tobacco.  It's
time for my fix.  I blush as I hear
some tight-bunned Prima Donna tell her
mama in an alarmed voice that I'm
smoking and vulgar.  Her mother looks
at me.  I do all in my power
to make myself magnolia.  There
is just one more hour to go 'til
I'm away from these Brats.  I do not
belong in this world where I am sat.
After what seems like an age turning
page after page, my daughter arrives
and I silently pray that she has
Adagioed and Arabesqued her
way through the exam.  She looks happy.
We are leaving.  I'm finally calm.

(c) Claire Alison 2017

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