Finding Audrey

Author: P Hana

Page 53

   

“Oh my God.” I exhale. “I can’t believe you did that.”

“Next time, you do it.”

“I couldn’t!”

“You could. It’s fun.” Linus rubs his hands together. “Bring it on.”

“OK, give me another one,” I say, inspired. “Give me another dare.”

“Ask this barista if they serve mint muffins. Go.” He flags her down, and she comes over with a smile. I haven’t even got time to think about whether I’m nervous or not.

“Excuse me, do you serve mint muffins?” I say, adopting Linus’s innocent, childlike tones. Somehow, channelling Linus is giving me strength. I’m not me, I’m not Audrey, I’m a character.

“Ah, no.” She shakes her head. “I’m sorry.”

“But I saw them on the website,” I say. “I’m sure I saw them. Mint muffins with a chocolate centre? With, like, sprinkles?”

“And Polo mints on top,” chimes in Linus seriously, and I nearly crease up with laughter.

“No.” The barista looks puzzled. “I never heard of them.”

“Oh well,” I say politely, “thank you anyway.” As she walks off, I grin at Linus, feeling a bit heady. “I did it!”

“You can talk to anyone.” He nods. “Next, why don’t you hire a soapbox and make a speech?”

“Great idea!” I say. “Let’s invite, like, a thousand people.”

“So the graph is going upwards. Miss Audrey is heading for the stars.” Linus knows about the jagged/not-jagged graph, because I told him about it. I drew it out and everything.

“Definitely.” I clink my coffee cup against his. “Miss Audrey is heading for the stars.”

Which just proves it: I’m in charge of my graph. Me. And if I want a straight graph, I’ll have a straight graph.

So at my next session with Dr. Sarah, I lie a little when I’m filling in my tick boxes.

Have you experienced worries most days? Not at all.

Do you find your worries difficult to control? Not at all.

She looks at the sheet with raised eyebrows when I hand it to her.

“Well. This is an improvement!”

“You see?” I can’t help saying at once. “You see?”

“Do you have any idea why you’ve improved so much this week, Audrey?” She smiles at me. “Life’s good, is it just that? Or anything else? Any changes?”

“Dunno.” I shrug innocently. “I can’t think of anything that’s changed in particular.”

Which is another lie. Something that’s changed is: I’ve stopped taking my meds. I just take the pills out of the blister packs and chuck them away in a screwed-up envelope. (Not down the loo, because all the chemicals get into the water or whatever.)

And guess what? I haven’t noticed a single difference. Which just proves I didn’t need them.

I haven’t told anybody. Well, obviously I haven’t, because they’d stress out. I’m going to wait, like, a month and then I’ll casually tell everyone and I’ll be like, you see?

“I told you,” I say to Dr. Sarah. “I’m cooked. I’m done. All better.”

Mum’s in an organizing mood. She’s sweeping around the house, tidying and shouting and saying “Whose shoes are these? What are they doing here?” and we’ve all hidden in the garden. I mean me, Frank, Linus, and Felix. It’s a warm day anyway, so it’s nice, just sitting on the grass, picking daisies.

There’s a rustling sound, and Dad appears round the side of the bush we’re lurking behind.

“Hi, Dad,” says Frank. “Have you come to join the Rebel Alliance?”

“Frank, I think your mother wants you,” says Dad.

Your mother. Code for: Don’t associate me with Mum’s latest nutty plan, I have nothing to do with it.

“Why?” Frank gives an unpromising scowl. “I’m busy.”

“Busy hiding behind a bush?” I say, and snort with laughter.

“You offered to help?” Dad says. “For the Avonlea fete catering? I think they’re starting.”

“I did not offer to help,” says Frank, looking outraged. “I did not offer. I was forced. This is forced labour.”

“You have such a great attitude,” I observe. “Helping your fellow man and everything.”

“I don’t notice you helping your fellow man,” Frank shoots back.

“I’ll help my fellow man.” I shrug. “I don’t mind making a few sandwiches.”

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