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June 4, 2017

Recently I took my paint swatches into class again. It’s always a popular exercise. I recommend going into your local hardware store and starting your own collection, as it’s almost impossible not to be inspired by the creative colour names.  


Purplicious is my my favourite flavour of bubblegum, mostly because of the pretty wrapper. I’ve been collecting them for ages. When I have enough I’m gonna wallpaper my room with them. I haven’t told Mum, but I’ve already started gluing them to the wall, in the far corner behind my bedside table.

Whenever we go to the shops I ask her for another packet of Purplicious gum.
“You haven’t finished the last packet,” she says today in Kmart.
“But I’ve only got one piece left.”
“Simone, I said no. You’ll rot your teeth will that stuff.”
Kmart has to be the most boring shop in the world. Mum makes me wait for ages while she tries on bras. I used to kill time in the toy section but I’m too big now and I’d be embarrassed if anyone from school saw me there. Instead I head to the makeup section and muck around with the testers while a security guard gives me the evil eye. There’s an greeny-yellow eyeshadow I really like called Cintrino, but Mum won’t buy if for me because she says I’m still too young for makeup. I cover my eyelids with it, then go all the way to my eyebrows. I look older, like maybe fifteen or sixteen. I check out the lipsticks and find a black one. Black lipstick. Awesome. Now I look like an alien, a teenage alien. I’m just about to wipe it all off again when Mum comes out an catches me.
I wait for her to go ballistic, but instead she just kind of crumples. “What am I going to do with you?” she sighs, and gets a tissue out of her bag, spits on it and starts scrubbing my face, pressing down hard.
“Ow,” I say, but I say it softly. This is a hundred times more embarrassing than being seen in the toy section.
“Don’t you know how many germs there are in those testers?” she says.
I want to point out that there are probably at least that many germs in the saliva she’s rubbing all over my face, but I’m not gonna push my luck.

She’s quiet on the drive home. It’s not her dormant-volcano quiet, when she stews over something I’ve done and plans my punishment. It’s more like the quiet just after Dad left, when she went around doing all her regular things but in this kind of trance, and if I spoke she’d blink and ask me to repeat it. I never knew what to do then and I still don’t, and I feel bad that I’ve tipped her back into sleepwalker mode but I don’t want to make things worse so I just lay low.
To cheer myself up I think about the secret corner of my room with the purplicious bubblegum-wrapper wallpaper. I know if I asked Mum for permission she’d say no, so what I’m gonna do is, when I’ve covered the space behind my bedside table and my bed I’m going to show her how pretty it is, and then maybe she’ll let me finish the wall. I just want one thing to be all bright and shiny, like the whole world used to be when I was younger and we were all together.

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