I am a superb actress.
Sometimes I wonder if the art of pretending is really a way of searching for truth. As though by playing a thousand parts, I will somehow discover my true self.
I look up at Mr Norton and say, ‘It’s Kate.’
My friend Jess glances at me with raised brows, as if to say, ‘Since when?’
The truth is, since now. Today I am Kate, and she is brave. Kaitlin doodles in her page margins during Mr Norton’s classes, and doesn’t hold his reproachful stare when he catches her out. But Kate does, until he looks away and murmurs, ‘Well, alright then. Kate, would you like to tell us your answer for question five?’
I answer confidently, because Kate was paying attention while he talked and even took notes, and this catches him off-guard. He deflects my abrupt turnabout by asking Thomas to answer question six on the worksheet.
When the bell rings, Jess catches me on the way to the locker room. She has brown hair she wears in the same ponytail she has since Year 8.
I tell Jess stories and feel triumphant when she smiles. The laughter pouring out of my throat is mine as well as Kate’s. I like Kate; I like her strength and humour and how her words fit comfortably in my mouth. But I am also nervous, because her brashness is destined to land her in trouble.
Kate is exhilarating; she is exhausting.
I don’t know who I’ll be tomorrow.