Success (and tears)


Three letters from the three schools where Eliza had sat entrance exams arrived on the same day. One-by-one, L opened them: Pass, Pass, Pass. A clean sweep and a free choice for Eliza.

A couple of hours later a text arrived from her best friend’s Dad. E had failed by six marks. The best friends wouldn’t be going to secondary school together. Eliza went silent, cried quietly and stayed upset for the afternoon.


I was walking Robin to football when L called us with the news. Robin danced for joy and hugged Eliza when he saw her later. At school, he made her a present in art class to mark her achievement.

Walking with L a few days after Eliza’s news, Robin said he would like to go to the same school as Gabe and Eliza. L said he would have a good chance if he worked hard. Robin said he knew he could work hard, but wasn’t sure he could pass the exam.


Gabe has become the guru of grammar school, offering advice and answering Eliza’s questions. “Do girls wear cardigans?” is my favourite. When she was at her most upset at her friend, E’s, exam result, he did the most to reassure her: “You’ll make new friends at school and still have a best friend out of school.”

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