Boarding School Blues

by AnnD

To this day I still get that feeling as if small animals are nibbling at my insides every Sunday afternoon, at around 4 p.m.  I call it the "Boarding School Blues" and I'm sure anyone who used to be a boarder will know exactly what I am talking about!
That last day of the school holidays  -  or sometimes even before then  -  you start getting little ripples of anxiety about going back to hostel.
You wake up in the morning to the cold reality that this is the end of freedom  -  tomorrow you will wake up to the sound of a clanging bell.  Reluctantly you get up, dress in your "civvies" for the last time and head to the dining room for breakfast.  The ebony cookboy welcomes you with his big, white grin:  "Mangwanane, missus!"  He puts a plate of bacon, eggs, mushrooms, tomato and toast in front of you.  Fearing the weeks of deprivation that lie ahead, you gratefully scoff the lot.
For the rest of the day, you wander around the house and garden, taking mental pictures of each item of furniture, each msasa tree, each chicken  -  anything that you can recall and play back later in your mind.  It's hard to believe life will go on here again tomorrow, when you are not around.
Finally, the dreaded hour has arrived.  Your mother tells you to have a bath, put on your school uniform and finish packing your trunk.  "Nooooooooooo�!" your mind screams:  "I don't want to go back to school!"
Then the journey gets underway.  You so desperately want to be chatty with your parents, but the lump in your throat is too much of a giveaway, so you shut up and gaze out of the windows.  The familiar landmarks flash past, showing that you are getting nearer to purgatory.  The collar of your blazer itches your neck and you long for the freedom of T-shirts and tackies.
At last you turn into the school gates, along the curved drive and alongside the beautifully kept fields, up to the Hostel.  You trudge upstairs and put your belongings on your bed and then downstairs again to say farewell to the loved ones. 
As they drive away, you blink back the tears and find a friend to share your holiday experiences with.
It's not easy to be away home when you are only seven!