I took three friends with me on our trip to the moon. We were eleven and stood together at the back corner of the big field at school, waiting for the right moment to take off. I had chosen three risk takers. It was lunch time in summer.
Susie was a chatterbox. I sat behind her desk in class. She had jet black hair that curled in natural ringlets that I loved to pull down and watch them spring up again. I would do this many times a day but she didn’t mind.
She could talk about anything, fill up the spaces I left in our conversations.
Her father was a teaser. he would feign he would play a record for me, then laugh heartily as the recording was about tyres. He owned a garage on the corner of Beach Rd. He kept a keg of whisky out the back which we would siphon off before we went out for the night. Going out to nightclubs and bars at the early age of fourteen. We would have to get dressed up, wear full makeup and stiletto heels to pass as eighteen.
Susie lived with her family in a large 1950s house up a steep driveway. Her bedroom walls were covered in singles records. She was into popular music, The Rolling Stones, disco. I was envious that she could decorate her room how she chose and thought the records on her walls were cool.
Her Mother after work from the fashion boutique she owned would pour herself a glass of wine standing in the kitchen, a lone figure.
Susie after her mother passed also would stand in the kitchen a glass of wine poised in her right hand, drinking alone.
Alcoholism in her family, her oldest sister suffered from this dis-ease.
Susie was seen as the responsible one. She was the youngest yet had responsibility of cooking a full dinner at fourteen. Promiscuous at fourteen because she was not getting enough love or attention from her family.
However by sixteen she had settled down with Philip a decent guy. They bought a cheap house in the suburbs together very early on. They then went on to buy a large old fashioned villa that Philip worked on tirelessly for ten years.
Paulette, skinny legged, knobbly knee’d red head, teaser, manipulator, schemer. To my detriment I learned she was not trustworthy. She craved power over people.
Between eleven and thirteen we did so many bad things together. She was my nearest friend geographically. We would break into newly built houses in our developing suburb for the hell of it. That was the fun part, once inside we would hide so we couldn’t be seen. That was the boring part.
We held a seance for her dead brother, inviting him to visit us. I called on him in my bedroom the night after the seance and saw a white form then an emerging head and shoulders appear against the fake wood of my wardrobe. Terrified I hid under the bed sheets, becoming scared of the dark all over again.
She was so skinny could wangle her way out the dog door. My hips got stuck – how did I get out before her parents got home?. One annoying younger brother called Donald might have helped.
Her mother was ambitious. She had ideas to make money from denim clothes, sports clothes. This was in the mid seventies. Father – invisible. I hardly saw him.
Paulette made me tell her a deep secret, about me. I told her with the promise she would tell no one else. But she did tell others so I no longer trusted her. She scarred me psychologically for a long time, as this was the first betrayal by a friend.
She would knock on anonymous people’s doors in our suburb pretending to be collecting for an old people’s home, some people willingly gave. It was a lie.
We would visit a lonely old lady who painted on china. She would give us tea and cake. That is why we went there for tea and cake, not for the chatter of the old lady.
We also came to play on the next door neighbours trampoline after school which was unused, but we limited our time in case we got caught. We never did.
Paulette also married early. A teenage boyfriend called Clive. He was handy with his hands. They started a cabinet making business but they had to skive off overseas to the big country when their debtors did not pay what they owed, leading to a flow on effect with their own business. So before declaring bankruptcy they caught the next plane out to Queensland.
Kim or Sugar as the boys called her. A model at 13 because of her blonde wavy hair flicked Farrah Fawcett style. Was she a bit dumb or did she choose to play the dumb blonde role. I never knew. Came from a young English family. Mother pushing her daughter to be a model. Kim was filmed in a TV ad, and did some catwalk strutting when she was twelve and thirteen. Till she grew, and at fourteen had cankles, thick ankles. Later, as an older teenager she also flitted overseas with her teenage boyfriend to Sydney, Australia.
Bettina, a jazz dancer, in the home economics stream at high school: learning cooking, sewing, laundry , housewife stuff which bored her so much she left school at fifteen. School just didn’t agree with her. Plain looking she became a hairdresser, eventually owning her own business. Ambitious. Envious. Generous. Hilarious when drunk. A good host at her parties.
Four eleven year old girls get ready to take a journey to the moon from their schoolyard playground. Standing on the field they get ready to take off to another realm. It is a hot lunchtime in the mid nineteen seventies.
We are influenced by Bowie in the shine of our silver space suits. Taking the three risk takers with me, Susie, Bettina and Paulette.
The portal was a magic stone I had found on one of my many walks home from the beach.
We put on our shiny, silver suits and blasted off in our heads to the moon. A big, dusty orb in the sky. Trailing star dust at our feet. As I guided the three girls with me, with the magic of my words, power of imagination burning brightly. Spinning as we flew at the speed of light. Avoiding the asteroids, the dust clouds, and shooting stars. Staring through the dark masses of space with our extra sensory perception. The hum of our jet packs a steady thrum in our ears. We were four girls on a journey to an impossible future unknown. Soaring into space to the beat of my words and with the power of our collective imagination.