Fait Accompli by Lara Skerratt

Fait Accompli by Lara Skerratt

Winner (Young Adult Category)

The long car ride to my new school is finally over, and now nothing stands between me and a moment I have been dreading. I’m starting high school.

All I know about high school is what I’ve learnt from books: psychopathic bullies stuffing people’s heads down toilets, villainous teachers and students falling madly in love. It’s no wonder I’m petrified.

I make one last desperate dive into the car, but Mum isn’t having any of it. “Lara, you’re going to high school whether you like it or not!” she orders, halfway out of the driver’s door. There is nothing I can do but follow my belligerent mother to my ultimate demise.

Unfortunately, neither Mum nor I know the way to the hall, so by the time we wander in, the parade is well underway. I suggest running away, but Mum marches straight up to the principal. Nervous eyes turn towards my mother’s astonishingly bright orange ensemble and me. I was certain the day couldn’t get any worse.

My dear mother proceeds to ask the principal, in a voice that could be heard from Mars, where her darling daughter is supposed to be. I stare at the concrete floor, wishing with all my might that a hole would appear to swallow me up. No holes appear, and I am forced to look up at my audience of strangers. I desperately scan for a familiar face. There is no one.

Eventually, I am ushered into my first French class. I try to make myself as inconspicuous as possible, which isn’t at all like my usual self, but I suppose today had been anything but usual.  My teacher has written the phrase ‘fait accompli’ (a done deal) up on the board, and asks us to put that phrase into context. I quickly raise my hand, ready with a witty response, and then it strikes me: at my old school I had been the joker, the class clown. Everyone had known and loved me. Here, I am no one; just another face in the crowd. My hand falters, but then I determinedly raise it up high in the air. It is time to show everyone exactly who I am. “So if I put ‘a done deal’ into context do I get an icy pole?” I ask innocently.

“Oui” replies my teacher.

“Fait accompli!” I answer.

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