The Australian Outsider

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Gazing up, my eyes set upon the powerful red, black and yellow Aboriginal flag hoisted above the class. I leaned my shaggy blonde head on my arms and felt the cloud of sleep engulfing me. My eyelids became too heavy; the attraction between them was like a magnetic force. The tip of a pencil poked the side of my skull like a dart on a board; my lids snapped open. The boy’s with wide toothy grins sniggered at my defencelessness. I starred at the over-sharpened pencil, and examined the small characters embedded into its wood exterior, 100% Aboriginal made HB. The projectile caught the sharp eye of the class teacher, her wide nostrils flared as she sucked in the room’s air, her angular body manoeuvred swiftly between the desks. The dark curly head beside mine muttered, ‘Wanjibaayn’ yet as usual I didn’t understand. Ms Kalinda was furious at the disturbance, a screeching roar made the class judder like hitting a speed bump, “Roger! If you disturb this class one more time, the rest of your day will be spent sitting in the principal’s office! Am I clear?” In disbelief, I replied, “But it wasn’t me—.” The teacher instantly cut me off. “No buts young man! You are one of few white students accepted in a private school as reputable as Gooloogong College. You must try harder to fit in.” The echoing didgeridoo invaded the awkward silence, and the chairs scraped the wooden floors, marking the conclusion of the period. I attempted to bolt through the large crowd, squeezing through the narrow doorway of the class. I was shoved into a row of desks, “Step back loser or I will get Bulan to give you another reminder.” I waited, head down, looking at my hideous pale legs, wishing they were dark. When the laughter was fading down the hall, I ... ... middle of paper ... ...t and reopened them widely, his face disappeared. I turned my head over my right shoulder and saw Bulan’s body being driven into the wall by his closest friend and captain of the school, Cortes Phillips. He lectured with a loud voice, “Lay off Roger, just because he is a different skin colour than us, doesn’t mean you have to treat him differently. We are all part of one big tree, we are all equal and no matter what we are called or what we look like, we are part of the same being. I don’t want to see another hand laid on him. Not by any student or teacher.” A large audience gathered in the bathroom. Cortes reached his arm out for mine and pulled my body upright. The didgeridoo broke the silence. I wiped my face on my torn shirt and reached for my two buttons lying dismantled on the floor. I headed for the fresh air, the crowd opened, making a path for me to pass.
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