Identity Under Investigation

21st January 2004

Mum took me shopping for my school stuff today. We went to this massive warehouse where all the students are meant to get their school supplies. It was packed full of parents and teenagers. Luckily, I decided to wear something half decent and do my hair and makeup properly beforehand. The last thing I wanted was to be caught looking like a loser in front of someone I knew. Thankfully I didn’t see anyone from my year!

I grabbed all the textbooks I needed on my school list, and a graphics calculator. Mum freaked when she saw the price ($130) and then she refused to buy it! I told her that she had to buy it for me because it was on my book list and all students needed to have one in year 11. Unfortunately, some stupid random woman overheard our conversation and told her that she could buy a second hand one at the school for about $70.

Stupid bitch!

She totally ruined my chances of getting a new calculator! I did NOT want someone else’s old, disgusting calculator. Unfortunately, that’s what I got.

It was so weird visiting school when no one’s there. So peaceful, so quiet… so unnatural. We were ‘lucky’. The shop assistant said there was only 1 graphics calculator left. Mum was overjoyed when we left the school premises because she got a discount on it – the previous owner had etched his name into the plastic, completely destroying the outside cover.

So gross.

But I grinned and bared it. Even though I hated it. All my friends will have the new model, and I’ll have some ugly ass calculator that looks like it was made last century. I’m going to look so povo. I just wish that mum understood that everything is scrutinised at school. Physical appearances, personality, clothes, shoes, bags, textbooks – everything! And having a hand-me-down calculator is not going to do me any favours. I was so mad, I wanted to get back at her…

I told mum I wanted to go to Target for the rest of my stationary because they had a better range than Big W. She was a bit sceptical, so then I told her that Target was way cheaper.

It wasn’t.

But she bought it. Hook, line and sinker.

I walked out with the biggest grin on my face. Mum walked out an empty purse.

Score 1 for Amber. 0 for mum.

She’s lucky I bought my new bag and shoes during the Boxing Day sales, otherwise I would have probably sent her even more broke! Next stop was the uniform shop. I can’t get away with wearing my uniform from last year, because Upper school students wear a different colour to Lower school. It was time to graduate to white. Mum asked if I wanted a dress too, but I said that school dresses make girls look fat. They were so chunky and heavy and just plain uncomfortable. The only person in our group that actually wore one every now and then was Mercy. And she only wore it because she knew she could pull it off without looking huge. Mum told me off; she said I wasn’t fat and that I was exaggerating. Then she made me try one on.

Mum took one look at me, paused for like, forever, then told me to take it off.

Score 2 for Amber. Still 0 for mum.

We walked out of the uniform shop with 3 white shirts. Luckily, my waist size is still the same, otherwise mum would have made me try on some skirts too. Mum was telling me about her school uniform when she went to high school in the Philippines, when my phone suddenly started to ring.

I took it out of my pocket and looked at the screen. I didn’t recognise the number. But I knew who it was. Lewis. My phone beeped again and a 321 msg popped up. Mum was looking at me strangely.

“Who is that?”

“No one mum. Just a telemarketer.”

I felt guilty for lying to her, but I couldn’t exactly retrieve the voicemail that was left while she was standing right next to me. I put it in my pocket and got in the car. Mum suggested we go get some lunch, so we went to Hans Café. I was surprised that she actually had money left from all the shopping that we have done so far. She was being really chatty and uber nice – something which doesn’t happen very often. I know that it must be hard juggling all of us and shift work, so I know most of the time she is stressed. It probably doesn’t help that I can be a bitch too. But I can’t help it. Sometimes I just think she takes out her stress on me. So it was really cool that she was being a normal mum for once.

Score 1 for mum. I’m still on 2.

After lunch, mum dragged me grocery shopping… then to Telstra… then to the bank… and finally, to pick up Grace from daycare.

Putting me through errand runs? And now daycare? Score 2 mum.

I’m calling it a draw.

Omg. I hate going to Grace’s daycare. The smell just gets to me. And the grubby kids! Ewww. I just stood at the front counter while mum went into the ‘Big Tots’ room and retrieved Grace. I say retrieved because it takes ages to prise her away from whatever she is doing. And when you finally get her free, she chucks a tantrum because she doesn’t want to leave.

Ugh. Gotta love toddlers.

When mum finally came back, like, 10 minutes later, she strapped Grace into the car and drove home. I helped mum unload the groceries, grabbed all my school stuff, headed for my room and closed the door.

Voicemail time!

I sat on my bed and listened to it about 3 times. It was definitely Lewis, but I couldn’t make out his message. I decided to call him.

Ring. Ring. Ring…


“H-hi Lewis,” I greeted shakily, “It’s Amber.”

“Oh hey girl! How are ya?” Lewis asked happily.

“I’m good. How are you?”

“Yeah I’m good too.”

“Good to hear. Hey, so thanks so much for getting back to me – I wasn’t sure if you’d get my offline msg, but obviously you did because you wouldn’t be calling me if you didn’t haha.”

OMG Amber you’re such an idiot. Slowwww down.

“Yeah you’re lucky because I checked before I went to work,” Lewis said politely, “Wouldn’t have seen it otherwise.”

“Wow. So uber lucky then.”

“So, what’s up?”

I told Lewis the whole story about Peter Parker. He went quiet once I had explained everything.

“I don’t remember anyone by the name of Peter Parker going to Armadale… let me get back to you ok?”

“Sure, of course,” I said happily, “I have his email address if you’d like to add him on MSN and talk to him yourself? But if you do that, don’t tell him you know me!”

“Yeah I won’t,” Lewis said protectively, “This guy sounds sketchy anyway. You and your friends probably shouldn’t get involved with him.”

“I know, that’s why I need to find out if this guy is for real before Amy goes on her date on Sunday.”

“I get that. Well, let me see what I can find out ok. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to msg me his email addy too.”

“Ok, I will. Thankyou so much Lewis.”

Lewis said bye and hung up the phone.

Finally! I’m going to get some answers. Lewis was real nice about it, come to think of it. He must be curious too. I hope he gets back to me soon. There is a part of me that hopes that Peter Parker is real though. I don’t want to see Amy get hurt…

I didn’t get to go on the net tonight; dad was using the computer. He’s applying for another job! I don’t get it; he already has one. And a really good one too. Sometimes he’s allowed to have a day off whenever he wants. He calls them flexi days. I’m jealous. The only flexi time I’ve ever had was when I was in year 9 badminton. I had to start school at 7.30am on Tuesday mornings, but then I got to leave an hour earlier on Thursday afternoons. What I wouldn’t give to have a whole day off!

So yeah, I’ve been organising my school stuff in my room and decorating my disgusting graphics calculator for most of the night. Lauren msged me and said that she was going to bring ‘Clueless’. Yay! I love that movie! It’s going to be such a great night! Now, I just need to know what Amy wants to watch, and if Mercy is even coming.

Bring on Friday!

Amber A.


Who else liked shopping for school supplies when they were a teen? Drop a comment below!


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