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Dear Diary,

It’s funny but I haven’t felt the need to write in you since the day after Mamma, Papa and the others arrived in Canada.  Or perhaps I just haven’t bothered – perhaps I’ve just been the lazy little cow everybody seems to think I am.  But I’m not!  It’s not true!

Today is the first proper day of the summer holidays but even though I should be really pleased and excited, especially over going to Tirol, I’m not.  I’ve been dreading this day since half term and it’s ten times worse because I’ve had to say goodbye to the one friend I have.  Emmy went back to Australia yesterday and I don’t know when or even if I’ll ever see her again.  And to make everything even worse, Len and Con told me I shouldn’t get upset over Emerence leaving as I still have them!  I opened my mouth to yell at them and then I stopped because I knew that if I did, I’d end up in a whole heap more trouble.  Instead I walked away from them and even now I’m only speaking to them if they ask me a direct question.  I know they were only trying to help me and they don’t understand why I’m hardly talking to them but I don’t know if I can tell them without losing my temper and even if I manage it, I’ll only rake up everything I want to forget.

At the end of last term, Auntie Hilda told me that because I’d worked so hard in Inter V for the past two terms, I would be moved up to Vb at the start of this term.  Was I thrilled!  Len and Con were just as pleased for me and we spent the whole of the Easter hols making plans for doing things together.  I was really looking forward to it – I had missed being with them in form over the past two terms - and then everything changed.

It was the start of the new term and Len and Con are suddenly rushing to greet Ros, Jo, Ricki and Odette.  Emmy was with them and I joined them.  They were all pleased that I was moving up – and then Len’s taking hold of the new girl – Ted.  I wasn’t exactly jealous, I just hoped that Len was not going to start devoting all her spare time to Ted.  I was relieved when I heard that Ted would be Inter V – at least there would be a chance for us to still do what we’d planned.  I arrived in Vb’s formroom on the first full day and suddenly I felt really awkward.  It was as though I was a new girl all over again.  I couldn’t see a spare seat anywhere and nobody seemed to be taking any notice of me.  I just stood by the doorway, watching Len and Con chattering eagerly with Jo and Ros, Ricki and Odette.  Emerence was busy with Primrose and Priscilla and if I hadn’t known better, I’d almost have thought people were making a point of telling me I didn’t belong.  I was still there when Miss Ferrars entered and her first words were “Margot, why are you still standing?  Sit down and don’t be so silly!  You’re Vb now!”  I knew exactly what she meant but by that time I was so upset, I could barely keep my voice steady enough to explain that I couldn’t see a free seat.  No sooner had I said it than I thought she’d jump on me for not using my common sense and finding myself a desk from one of the storerooms but she didn’t.  I think she’d realised I was upset because she apologised and gave my arm a gentle squeeze.  She then asked Jo Scott, who was form prefect, why she hadn’t ensured that there was a spare desk for me.  Jo jumped up and said she was most awfully sorry, she had completely forgotten I would need a desk.  We went to get one and I found myself positioned at the front of the class, right under the mistress’ nose.  Len and Con made no effort to suggest I joined them.

As term progressed, I realised that all the plans we had made were just that – plans.  They were never going to happen for Len and Con had their own circle of friends in which I was just a hanger on, tolerated because of our tripletship.  Ted, on the other hand, got closer and closer to them all and eventually moved up to Vb.  Len and Con were as pleased as they had been over me – more so I think.  Ted was moved into a place between Len and Ros and I felt even more upset.  I couldn’t understand it.  I wasn’t asking that Len and Con didn’t have other friends just that they included me more.  But the more I was left out or expected to be content with just Emmy, the more angry I got.  I started to blame Ros and Ted, Ricki and Odette for taking Len and Con away from me.  If they weren’t there, I wouldn’t have been so left out.

Of course, now I realise that it wasn’t their fault.  I never really minded them – what I minded was the way Len and Con seemed to treat me like a familiar but old toy – something to fall back on when you were a bit bored of the latest toy.  I was just there.  I know they feel I treated them the same way when I joined up with Emerence but I didn’t.  To me, I was just making sure I wasn’t going to be left out of everything.  When Len and Con came to Canada, I could tell they had got much closer to each other and I’d grown apart from them.  We’ve never got back the closeness we had before I went to Canada – it’s Len and Con doing things together.  They include me during the hols, at least, but it’s almost always a case of me falling in with whatever plans the two of them have made.  The way I see it, Len and Con always have a friend in each other and I had to find myself a friend of my own or risk just being one of the crowd – someone with no special friend to do things with.  I never noticed them wanting to be with me, particularly and if there had been any signs of them wanting to do things as a three once again, then I’d have been all for it. 

Anyhow, it became harder and harder to get either Len or Con on their own and they didn’t seem to want to spend any time with me.  I wanted to be able to ask them what on earth they were playing at – why bother to make all those plans and then drop me like hot cakes the minute term began?  I got more angry every time I thought about it and every time I saw them going off with Ros or Ted or Ricki or Odette.  Odette especially as I knew that Con and Len didn’t actually like her, they just felt sorry for her.  She was a ‘little project’ for them.  If I’d been able to get the pair on their own and blow up at them, then everything would have been fine but there wasn’t anywhere private enough for that – and as I couldn’t release it, it just festered inside me.  I slipped away home to find somewhere quiet to gather my thoughts and get a grip on myself.  And then I found out about Ted.  I wasn’t bothered about her past – some of the girls I met in Canada knew girls that had done similar things and some of the girls that went to the local school in Carnbach did that sort of thing.  I just thought she was a complete idiot to keep on doing it after she’d been caught and warned.

No, what really bothered me was the fact that Len and Con had often referred to me as the ‘bad’ one of the three of us – yet until recently, I’d done nothing anywhere near as bad as Ted.  I’d never been threatened with expulsion or smoked or anything.  I was really annoyed to find that Len and Con could get impatient with me for being short with them or could bring up my past history whenever someone asked why I’d only just moved up to Vb or when a question was asked about School but they were allowed to be friends with someone who had come to the School with a bad reputation.  I was so angry with them that instead of admitting what I’d heard and taking my punishment, I kept it to myself and used it as a way of trying to split Len and Ted up.  If Len had one less friend, then she might have had a little bit more time for me.  I was wrong and I can’t believe how nasty I became – it’s certainly taught me a lesson.  No matter what the consequences, if I’m ever that angry again, I shall simply have to explode or it will end up festering and changing me as a person.

I was just starting to realise that I didn’t like what I was becoming and I was on the verge of dropping the whole thing when two things happened.  First, Len and Con suddenly awoke to my presence – mainly because they wanted my money so they could get decent presents for the rest of the family.  They seemed put out when I said I wanted to be with Emerence and that made me angry – I’d spent half a term craving for some kind of notice from them but they’d been too interested in other people to bother with me.  Yet now, I was expected to drop whatever plans I’d made and join in with them just because they suddenly wanted me to.  That was the first thing and the second thing was the present Emerence bought me.  She bought me a gorgeous clock, although I can’t look at it at the moment without being reminded of how awful I was, and just as I was gloating over it with her, Len and Con come up and Con has the audacity to tell me I couldn’t possibly let Emmy give me a gift like that whilst Len merely looks horrified!! 

I was so furious I could barely think straight.  Just how did they think they had the right to tell me what to do?!!  They’d spent half a term ignoring me and then they’re making it quite clear, yet again, that they disapprove of my actions!  I hadn’t done anything!  How could I stop Emmy from giving me a gift without sounding rude and ungrateful?  I knew Mamma and Papa would probably feel it was too expensive a gift for me and then Emmy should use her money more sensibly but that was their decision not mine.  If that’s how they felt, then it was for them to speak to Emerence / Auntie Hilda and suggest she got me something else.  I couldn’t do it without being rude and upsetting Emerence.  In any case, as I told them, it was none of Len and Con’s business – they had chosen to separate themselves from me and as such, given up all rights to having a say in my life.  I was so annoyed they felt I was doing wrong yet at the same time, hanging around with someone who had done a considerable amount of wrong in the past.  I was furious that the parents were allowing it to happen and yet full of criticism towards me at times – it was double standards in my book and not fair and so I just blurted it out.  I suddenly felt incredibly guilty and panic stricken – and then an utter fool as Ted calmly related what had happened.  Out of embarrassment and anger, I turned the tables again and again and eventually blurted out what was really annoying me – that she was taking Len away from me.

I didn’t get any of the reassurances I craved, mainly because Mary-Lou interrupted at that point.  I’m quite glad she did now, as I think it may have saved me from getting myself into even more trouble – at the same time, I’m not.  If she hadn’t interfered, it would probably have been nothing more than an over the top sisterly spat and once I’d let go of my feelings and they’d told me theirs, we’d have gone our separate ways and then calmed down and apologised.  I would then have gone to the Head and told her what I’d overheard – and that I’d let it out in an argument with my sisters.  She’d have been furious but it would never have progressed as far as getting Papa involved.  But then, I should have expected nothing else really.  Mary-Lou always did stick her nose into other people’s business – usually when it wasn’t wanted and when she came on the trip, I should have guessed she’d be watching us!

We had to travel back to School in a carriage by ourselves and when we got back, she had us in her study and demanded the whole story – which is when I found out Emmy was leaving.  I was so stunned by it that when Mary-Lou asked me what I’d been thinking of to behave as I did, I couldn’t think straight and it all came out wrong.  I ended up sounding like a spoilt, selfish brat when all I wanted to do was point out that I would have liked to spend some time with my triplet sisters and would like them to remember my existence at times instead of just ignoring my presence until they want me for something.  I wanted to point to all the plans we’d made and the way they’d barely acknowledged either me or them since term began. I couldn’t though and nothing I said could make any of the rest understand.  Mary-Lou then decided to take matters into her own hands and even though she had no right, interfered well and truly, giving us the benefit of her thoughts on our tripletship and telling Len and Con all about their bad habits.  That makes me mad now – she’s not family nor a mistress or brevet aunt so what gave her the right?  Being Head Girl doesn’t, even if she thinks it does!

Of course, I got marched to the Head who was her usual self.  Heard me out in silence and then told me exactly what she thought of me.  I had to be kept away from everyone until she decided if someone as nasty as myself should be allowed to remain in the School and associate with them as normal.  Eventually, I managed to explain my thoughts to her and what had caused all my anger and she understood.  She said it made a difference that I could recognise how wrong I’d been and that whilst not lessening the severity of the crime, she agreed I’d had some provocation.  She did point out that I deserved my bad reputation because I had been given every chance to pull up and had the love and support of my family but Ted had not had either so it wasn’t fair to say she was ‘bad’ because she’d not had the chance to prove otherwise.  Now she was getting it, she was proving ‘good’ but I was just going from bad to worse and not proving myself worthy of my promotion to Vb or of all my chances.  However, she agreed that I shouldn’t be made to feel it is stopping me progressing in some areas of my life – be it work or otherwise.  She said she would give me one more chance but that she couldn’t reasonably be expected to keep me here if I messed up again.  She suggested I kept a diary and wrote my feelings down as a way of letting them out and that I might find they’re unpalatable once they’re on paper.  She said that I should start that way and I couldn’t see straight then, to talk to someone about how I’m feeling.  She said I wouldn’t be judged or punished if I was just wanting to talk out something but I should remember I mightn’t like the opinion of the person I’m talking to so to make sure I actually want help and not just sympathy.  She said she was going to keep me down in Vb for another year – I might well have gone up to Va with the others but my behaviour had shown I wasn’t ready for such a high position in the School.  She got Papa involved over the clock and he’s been so furious over the whole thing, it was only when she made him see it from my point of view that he eased up.  I’m treading on thin ice though which is why I don’t dare tell Len and Con what I think of them.

Having said that, they need to hear it, I suppose.  They’ve not heard my side of the story since I’ve not been allowed to talk about it but if I don’t make them see that they can’t have it both ways, then nothing’s going to change.  I need to move on but I can’t if they’re going to continually make plans with me and then ignore me and the plans because there are more interesting people around.  If they do, I’ll simply end up not trusting them and refusing to speak to them and things could get ugly again.  I’m either part of their friendship group or I’m not.  I’m not prepared, selfish though it may be, just to hang around the outer edge of it, tolerated for being their sister.  I’d rather be left alone to manage on my own or with other friends than that.  And yes, I could do that anyway but then they’d be likely to get offended with me for not spending time with them.  In any case, since this is partly their fault, I don’t see why they should get off scot free!  They need to see what part they played so we can all make sure it doesn’t happen again and so we’re not constantly rubbing each other up the wrong way.

 

Dear Diary,

Well I thought it out and in the end, I went and found them and told them there was something on my desk I wanted them to read.  I said I didn’t want to see or speak to them until they’d read it through and were able to speak calmly to me – no matter how long it took. 

 

It took a while but they found me again and the first thing I said was that I wanted to hear what they felt but only if they’d thought honestly about it.  They said they had – they’d been angry at first but then they’d realised it was true.  They hadn’t intended it that way – they’d just fallen into their normal pattern and because I wasn’t ‘new’ they didn’t think I might need a helping hand to settle in at first - but they realised now that it looked that way and without them to tell me otherwise, I had no choice but to believe my own thoughts.  I don’t know if we’ll ever get really close again – I think perhaps too much has happened for us to become as close as we once were but we’re going to start making decisions as a three – not as a two and a one – and we’ve made a pact to tell each other if we’re mad with each other and sort it as soon as possible.  They apologised for being insensitive over Emmy and congratulated me on keeping my temper and walking away instead of flying off the handle.  They’ve both promised that I’m as much part of their friendship group as the rest and I shouldn’t feel excluded.  Con has vowed to try and stop saying whatever comes into her head and I’ve promised to sit on my temper more and think before I explode.  Len has promised to leave us to do our own thing and wait for us to ask for help instead of bossing or butting in the whole time.  It’s going to be hard for all three of us but we’ve vowed to help each other and not criticise unnecessarily and hopefully we’ll be able to go back to being best friends as well as sisters even if it does take a bit of time to get over what happened this term. 




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