Just found a little tangential piece of writing from my last flight home from Wellington. I was bored of my games and had all sorts to write about, there was more to be written but this was all I managed in 45 minutes.
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What is it about Wellington that always has me sad to leave?
Is it because time in Wellington is time on holiday? Is it leaving behind friends?
This trip, I stayed with close friends in Newtown to begin with. After the shuttle driver dropped me on Adelaide street instead of Rintoul street, I was glad to have built up a rudimentary idea of what was where. My rescuer, cab driver Mark, told me about street numbers and how if odd numbers were on your right then you were going “up” a street.
Laura and Antony (confusingly, nicknamed Ant or Ants like me), currently live at the higher end of Rintoul street, a little further to walk but worth the effort. Unfortunately not near Pranah cafe anymore, who do heavenly eggs and five-grain as part of their breakfast menu.
It feels a little bit like coming home heading to Wellington these days, and I’m glad Laura’s got room for me in her attic studio (probably previously the maids quarters).
Visiting Laura means sharing new finds in music and remembering high school adventures. This trip she reminded me that when we were fifteen or sixteen I was writing a novel for her, carefully filed in a purple plastic folder. The novel was (unsurprisingly) about a girl the same age as us, dealing with life – boys school, the usual. Laura used to be guardian of the folder, lending it out to the other girls at our school to read as new chapters were written.
My major literary influences at the time included heavy servings of Cleo and Cosmopolitan magazines, peppered with the less regular fiction novel and skim-read English assignment – so I really doubt that the writing was anything I’d be proud to share lately.
Laura lost the folder when it was lent to a “day girl” (someone who attended our all-girls school but who wasn’t a boarder in our 120 strong hostel) who never returned it.
This story came as a surprise to me, as I’d completely forgotten about the book I’d been writing.
Apparently Laura remembers me as quite the writer, she also admitted feeling awful about the creative writing assignment we cheated on. She was really struggling with the assignment, for which we would gain NCEA credits; so I let her hand in the same piece I’d written.
In a school of 2,000 girls, there were multiple classes at any year level for most subjects, and we were in different classes so chances were slim that we would be found out.
When we received our results, Laura gained an Excellence (the highest grade), and I was marked with Merit. How infuriating that we had proof of a flawed system but couldn’t use it for fear of being caught out ourselves.