Lucy hesitantly raised her head a little, but avoided making eye contact with her teacher or any of her classmates as she stuttered “M-m-m-iss, I’ve h-had an a-a-accident”, before breaking down completely. Her sobs, no longer stifled, rang out loudly around the room, she was inconsolable. Every trace of maturity and ‘coolness’ gone, here was a wet and weeping little girl who just wanted the ground to swallow her up.
Upon hearing her words, the class broke out into mutterings and chatter, with more than an occasional giggle thrown in. Nobody could quite believe what they’d just heard, in fact none of them could believe it at all, not of Lucy, not the ‘cool’ kid. The last time somebody had an accident in class…well, it just didn’t happen. They couldn’t remember, it must have been years and years ago. 11 year old, mature girls who were starting secondary school in a few weeks just didn’t do that.
Miss Jenkins placed an arm around Lucy and talked softly to her, reassuring her that everything was going to be ok and calming her down so that she was able to breathe properly again, eventually offering her a tissue to dry her eyes. Now the young girl was a little more composed, she again spoke gently “How about you come with me Lucy, let’s get you out of here where it’s a bit more private and you can get sorted out.”, before addressing the class quite firmly “Everybody back to your places and tidy away please, the bell will be going soon and you don’t want to be late for your lunch I’m sure! Don’t worry, I’ll make sure Lucy is ok.”
Lucy allowed herself to be guided out of her chair and across the classroom to the door, frantically trying to cover her shame with her hands, but achieving very little as her skirt was soaked both front and back. She cringed as she caught sight of the telltale wet patches, wishing at that moment that her school uniform wasn’t a grey skirt. As they reached the door, she glanced at the clock and began to panic again, Miss was right the bell would be sounding very soon, she couldn’t be seen out in the corridor like this, all of the little kids would see. Her own little brother would see! Oh the shame, the mortification.
As they stepped out of the door, Lucy spoke in a tiny, little girl’s voice which belied her usual bravado “Please, Miss, can I go home. I just want my mum, I don’t want anybody else to see me.” Miss Jenkins heart melted as she heard this, her heart was breaking for her pupil who was usually so confident and headstrong. She didn’t quite know what had happened to cause this, but her own maternal instincts kicked in and she just wanted to protect the young girl. She knew the rules, Lucy shouldn’t be out of class without a teacher, but she also knew she couldn’t leave the rest of the class without getting herself into trouble. And if the bell went and other classes came out whilst they were stood here, she didn’t know how the poor girl would cope.
“Ok Lucy, I’m trusting you to go by yourself, straight to the school office. Please don’t go anywhere else, run straight there. If any other teachers ask, tell them I’ve said it’s ok” She knew that Dorothy, the secretary-cum-nurse would take care of things, and she only hoped that Lucy got her wish, that she was allowed to go home to spare her blushes and to have that much needed hug from her Mum. She knew what the head was like about rules though, and attendance in particular, so deep down she was worried that he wouldn’t allow it. She’d never heard of a child being allowed to go home early before after something like this – ok, she’d never known something like this to happen to a year 6 pupil, but the younger ones always had to change and then go back to class. Uh-oh, she really hoped for Lucy’s sake that he made an exception.
Lucy mustered a small, watery smile and a faint “Thanks, Miss.” Before taking off down the corridor. She didn’t need telling twice, she needed to get to the office right now, before anybody else saw her. She needed them to phone her Mum so she could go home and hide for the rest of her life. There’s no way she could come back to school now, not after this, not ever. She almost managed a wry smile as she realised that she’d be able to skip Mrs Moss’s class after all, although she’d never intended to ruin her reputation in the process. Only an hour ago she was one of the oldest, most mature, most respected and ‘coolest’ kids in her school, now all of that was gone. Now she was a wet, weeping little baby, and it really hurt.
It can’t get any worse, or can it…6
Audio Version of Chapter