I drag my suitcase behind me, stumbling through the darkness of the apartment. Aunty Reagan will hate me when she finds out I’ve left her, the city and the fashion industry for an Agricultural that’s about 7 hours north-west from here. It’s not exactly the average destination of an eighteen year old girl who’s lived in the city for the past nine years. But Mirrindirra offers me the chance to work with animals and people who actually know what they are doing, to work in wide open spaces that will teach me things that will only help propel me towards my dream.
“Oomph!” was all I managed to let out as I landed on the hard timber, falling from the third last step, my suitcase landing slightly later with an echoing thud. I hold my breath, praying that Aunty Reagan didn’t hear but waiting for her frantic steps as she searches the apartment for the source of the noise but they never came, only the padded footsteps of Gracey, Aunty Reagan’s housekeeper and my other guardian, she’s pretty much my second mum. Especially as Aunty Reagan has spent most of the past nine years travelling from catwalk to catwalk, fashion studio to fashion studio, country to country as she designs clothes for Azure, the company of which she is the leading designer.
“Are you okay, Pips?” Gracey asked softly returning me to the present.
“Yeah, I’m fine. I’m just worried I’ve woken up Aunty Reagan and after all my months of hard work I won’t get to Mirrindirra, all cause of my own clumsiness too!” I sighed.
“You’ll get there, sweetie, I’ll make sure of it. Now, come on, I’ve packed all your favourites,” she said handing me a backpack filled with food. “You’ve got a coach to get on,” she continued, pushing me towards the elevator. As the doors closed I took my last look around the apartment that has come to be my home. A home that would have been so cold and lonely had it not been for Gracey, who’s added the warmth and heart that Aunty Reagan, has never had the time to add. The doors close blocking my view and I can’t help but think the doors symbolise the close of one of my life’s chapter’s and the opening of another.
A hug, some tears and the hurriedly whispered words of “I love you, Pippa. Have fun and don’t worry.” And that’s how I ended up on a coach, leaving behind everything I know, the people I love and the place I had just started to call home, with Mrs and Mr Clint.
“So chickee, I’m dying to get to know you. I’ve never accepted a student from the city,” said Mrs Clint with a laugh a little too cheery for 6a.m. in the morning. She squished her large, typical country housewife frame into the seat beside my even though we were the only ones on the coach.
“So, dearie, tell me about yourself,” she asked as soon as she was comfortable.
“Well, I live with my Aunty Reagan,”
“Oh my God! Your Aunt isn’t Reagan as in Azure’s top designer?” interrupted Mrs Clint.
“Umm, yeah that’s my Aunt. But anyways I have no siblings and have lived with her since I was 9; my parents took me to her house and never came back. I’m still not sure why that happened. Prior to living with my Aunt I had lived on a property in the Hunter Valley with my parents. Now Aunty Reagan is intent on making me become a model, however, I don’t want to spend another day in that horrible, busy city and I couldn’t care less about the fashion industry she wants to push me into. So I’m here, hoping to get a chance to work with animals so I that I won’t be taken as a joke every time I apply to a veterinary practice for a part time job. Mirrindirra gives me the perfect chance to escape my Aunt, the city and to learn things that will be valuable to what I want to do with life,” I finished cheeks flushed pink, eyes glowing in the light from the rising sun.
“A career in veterinary science is wonderful but you won’t get the fame and fortune you could in a modelling career, you realise that don’t you, sweetie?”
“Yes I know but what’s the point of spending your life doing something you don’t even like?”
“That’s an attitude I haven’t seen in someone for many years but I’m glad to see it does still exist,” she said with a smile. “I’m glad some kids still want to do well with their lives and fight to do what they want. Settle in sweetie, we have about two hours until we pick up the next student. Try to get some sleep, the next week is going to be a lot of travelling and I hope you enjoy your whirlwind tour of country NSW because well you’ll be seeing a lot of it,” she said, patting my arm before heaving herself up out of the seat beside me.