“OH-MY-GOD!!” I suddenly scream, as the coach drives past the simple steel mural of Mirrindirra. “We’re here. Yes, I’m finally here!” my excitement causing a few laughs to travel through the otherwise silent coach.
“Calm down, Pips,” said Parker, “Another half an hour or so before you’ll even get a glimpse of Mirrindirra. Haven’t you been listening to Harry?”
“No I’m sorry, it’s so easy for me to get caught up in my thoughts,” I replied with a sigh.
“Well save your excitement,” she replied with a tinge of bitterness.
Unashamedly I spend the next half hour transfixed by the simple main street, watching as the colours of the surrounding paddocks and buildings change as the sun makes its daily descent, leaving a face print on the window. Jolting out of my trance as my eyes, just catch the words ‘WELCOME TO MIRRINDIRRA AGRICULTURAL TRAINING FACILITY’ as the bus turns down the driveway. A couple of kilometres down and the lights of a building are beckoning us home. Throughout the surrounding paddocks were the dark, clustered shapes that I can only assume are animals and the odd shape of a building.
We pulled up in front of the homestead and I think everyone was shocked into silence by its rustic beauty. It had a plain, tin roof with beautiful, dark red brick walls with a simple wooden veranda around the whole building. The light leaking from the large windows, made the house seem to glow. As I jumped off the bus I realise that I’ve made it, I’M AT MIRRINDIRRA! Woo! I grab my suitcase knowing it had to be mine because I was the only one with a ginormous, lime green one, and head up the steps towards the welcoming door of Mirrindirra Lodge. As I go to walk in the door, a perfectly manicured hand wraps itself around my arm, gripping it tightly, stopping me from walking through a door that is vital for my future. Roughly they push me out of the way of the rest of the students, and I fall on to the wooden beams of the veranda with an echoing thud that captures everyone else’s attention. I look at my arm and already see the faint, purple outline of a bruise appearing where her hand used to be. I turn my head as a figure clad in designer clothes works her way towards me, her blonde hair sitting perfectly against her shoulders and the make up around her eyes only making her appear even angrier.
“What the hell are you doing, Pippa? I woke up to be told you’d gone seven hours north-east and then you don’t show up for a week! Are you trying to give me a heart attack?” asked angry Aunt Reagan, her voice rising to a high pitched scream by the end of attack.
“I’m going to Mirrindirra Agriculture so I can have a future that I want. I’m sure Gracey would have told you that when she told you where I was. No I’m not trying to give you a heart attack; you should however listen to Gracey more rather than rushing off in your attempt to save me from nothing other than my future,” I said, calmly never once raising my voice.
“Well guess what? You won’t be continuing here. I can’t let you. Actually I’m not even letting you walk inside so frankly you will never officially start at Mirrindirra Ag. I really wished you had just asked me to come here before, it would have saved me the inconvenience of coming after you,” she yelled continuing her rant.
“Well it’s not like I asked you to come chasing after me!” Gradually people move awkwardly away, giving us a bit of privacy but I’m sure that everyone could still hear our argument.
“Oh, and leave you to get killed out here. This will never be a place for teenage girls no matter how many they select each two years!”
“Oh and starving myself to be a model is?”
“Get in the car now! Millions of girls would die for this chance and I’m not going to let you throw it away.”
“Heaps of girls do die of anorexia, all because they want to look like a model because the world expects girls to be skinny. And now you want me to become a part of that too? I promise you that I will hate every minute of the time I am enclosed in that city and that you force me to be a model.”
“I don’t care. Being a model is a worthwhile future, something that will give you fame, fortune and fashion. What else does a girl want? Nothing! That is what every girl aims for in life. No one in their right mind wants to be out getting dusty and sweaty, each and every day. It’s so unglamorous and horrible. I thought you would have been raised to want more than that from life. Now there’s no time to say goodbye, I’ve put my career on hold for you for this past week so now you have to make up for past time. Hurry up.”
The tears fall knowing that I won’t be able to convince her to let me stay here. But there is no way that I will enjoy my time as a model or change myself just to fit in with everyone else’s expectations. I will be a role model to those girls who feel as though they have to conform to everyone else’s opinions.
The steely look in Aunty Reagan’s eyes bid me not to argue and the trip was one travelled in a deathly silence. One you desperately wanted to fill and yet you have no idea what to say to break the icy conditions. The car trip home was the exact opposite of the friendly chatter and laughter I’d been surrounded by the last week.