Helen stayed with the cab while Mummy signed the discharge papers. Jan the nurse came with a wheelchair to take me down to the cab. I asked “Why the wheelchair?”
“Regulations dearie, just enjoy the ride,ok?”
We got into the cab and arrived at the airport an hour before the flight was to leave for Charleville. Mummy said that Daddy would be there to pick us up to take us back to Quilpie and home.
I slept during most of the flight to Charleville and didn't wake up till Mummy shook me awake to put my seat belt on for landing. I looked out of the small DC3 window to see the town of Charleville below and had a strange feeling that something was wrong - not with the plane, no - it was as if someone was going to cause trouble when we landed. I closed my eyes tightly and concentrated on Jean who was there immediately in my mind.
I asked her what was going to happen at the airport when we landed. I think I actually spoke out loud, so Mummy could hear my side of the conversation because she grabbed my hand and squeezed it gently and just listened to what I was saying. Jean said she would try to protect me from danger so not to worry.
I said “Yeah just like when the truck hit us in Brisbane hey?”
She said, “If I wasn’t there with you Carla you would be on this side with me now, so stop worrying. I'll be there to help you and Mummy too.”
We were about to land so I opened my eyes and Mummy said “What was that all about?”
I said, “Mummy be careful when we get of the plane and look for Daddy straight away. I think we might need him to stop someone from hurting us.”
“Carla, don't be silly who would want to hurt us in Charleville?”
“I don't know Mummy but Jean told me she was ready to help me if anything started to go wrong.
Helen was listening to our conversation and said “I think I know what it might be, Donna.”
Mummy said “Well you had better hurry up and tell me because we are about to get off the plane.”
Helen said “Just stay close to Carla till you can see Bill.”
We walked over to the building that was used as the airport terminal. It was really only a large shed converted into different areas for baggage, and counters for the buying of tickets. As we waited for the luggage to be unloaded from the plane and be brought into the baggage pick up area I spotted Daddy and Rita, with Ricky stand behind Rita.
All three came over to us and then all the hugging and kissing started.
“Wow” I said “Anyone would think we were gone for a whole year.”
Daddy said “Well, after your mother rang me and told me what happened when the taxi you were in got crushed by a large gravel truck I wondered if I would ever see any of you again.”
Rita said, “Good to have you back Sis, and look who came with us to pick you up.”
Ricky was busy still fussing about his Mum's bandaged wrist when I said, “Hey Rick what about me? I'm the walking wounded!”
Ricky quickly came over and hugged me so tight I could hardly breath. After I kissed him on the cheek he put me back down. I didn't realise just how strong boys are.
Ricky said “Gee Carla I'm so glad to have you back to talk to and hang out with.”
Daddy and Rick grabbed a trolley and loaded it up with the luggage and all our shopping that was done in Brisbane.
Rita said, “I hope there's some goodies in that lot for me?”
Mummy said, “Not a lot this time Rita, but your turn comes when Carla has her next appointment with Rose in a few weeks time.”
I said, “Don’t worry Sis, I got you some jewellery you'll like.”
As we were walking out Daddy was saying something to Mummy and Helen and they all had a serious look on their faces. I asked what the matter was and Daddy said, “James and your brother stayed at the caravan park last night and were asking where you were and someone obviously told them you'd be home today, but I think they might have come here as well, so stick close to me when we get to the car park.”
This is what Jean tried to warn me about before we landed and I quickly asked her in my mind, “Jean I think I might need you.”
She was in my mind and she said she was always there so don't worry. It was getting easy for me to communicate with her every day which is what she told me days before.
We got to the car park to a mini bus that Daddy owned and rented out to other people for school excursions and things. Every thing was loaded into the van and we were ready to climb in when.......
“Hey!! I want to talk to you.” The voice sent shivers down my spine as I looked around. It was James White my real dad walking up to Bill my adopted dad and I could see my brother follow close behind. I thought 'Oh no! This is going to get ugly.'
Me, Ricky, Mummy and Helen were all on one side of the van and Daddy was on the driver's side when James (I won't call him dad any more) and John walked right up to Daddy and gave him a shove into the side of the van. Well that did it. Daddy grabbed both of them by their shirts and sat them on the ground and stood with his fist closed and said, “Listen you pair of fucking dickheads. If either of you come anywhere near Donna, Rita, or Carla again I'll break your fuckin' legs do you hear me?
James got up slowly and said 'Carl is a boy” as he was looking at me in disgust.
Mummy said, “How would know or even care about your daughter? If you took me to Brisbane when you were supposed to when I was due we would have both twin girls with us now. Anyway you took off with that assistant cook, so you will get the divorce papers served as soon as my lawyer has them ready.
Just then John stood up and started to walk towards me with a clenched fist. I closed my eyes and thought 'This is it I’m about to die' when I heard a thump, - Ricky was sitting on top of my much bigger brother John and punching him in the face, saying “Carla's my best friend and no one is ever going to hurt her while I’m around especially a prick like you!!”
Someone must have called the police because I looked around and saw a policeman standing next to Daddy, and he said “Wow kid, you sure know how to protect your girlfriend here don't you?”
Helen said “That's my boy. You should see what would have happened if Peter my older son was here.”
The policeman said, “Yeah, well I better sort this out before someone gets really hurt.”
After about half an hour of claims and counter claims it seemed to fizzle out and James and brother John were told to leave or be arrested for assault, which did the trick. I didn't see them again till years later. It turned out James wanted half of Mummy's insurance money and he really didn't care about me or Rita. Anyway good riddance to bad rubbish.
After the policeman wrote a bit of stuff in his note pad, he asked Daddy what it was all about and if he wanted him to contact the police in Quilpie to keep an eye out for any trouble, but Daddy said he could handle any shit that that idiot could throw at him.
We all bundled into the van and Daddy drove to a service station to refill the tank and let everyone go to the toilet before the three hour trip home along the Diamantina Highway which was mostly gravel and dusty. Mummy sat next to Daddy and was chatting to him about what happened In the car park. Rita and Helen sat in the middle seat and me and Ricky were in back seat of the mini bus.
Ricky was holding my hand and said “I was going to kill that stupid brother of yours. I was so angry when I saw that he was going to hit you Carla.”
“Well I'm glad you took him by surprise because he is twice your size and would have really hurt you if he had the chance.”
Daddy pulled up at a small service station at a place called Cooladi which is the half way mark to Quilpie, and he said “Right Ladies and Gentlemen, toilet break and fuel top up and home.” Mummy took over the driving for the rest of the trip to give Daddy a break.
Me, Rita, and Ricky slept the rest of the way to Quilpie. It was six o'clock in the afternoon when Helen shook Ricky and me awake and said “Come on sleepy heads. Let's get my bags out of the back so these people can get home.”
Peter and his dad came out of the house to greet Helen and carry her things into their house. Pete gave her a hug and opened the back of van and said “Mum which lot is yours?”
She said, “Hang on son let me hug and kiss your dad first.”
Barry said “God woman, I’ve missed you.”
“Yeah and my cooking I bet” she replied.
Pete said “Mum which bags?”
“Ok - ok! My suitcase and the new red one that I bought to fill with all the clothes and shoes I got for you lot.
Barry said, “Is any money left in the bank account after this lot?”
“It's about time the moths of your wallet were let out, Barry,” Helen said with a laugh.
Ricky gave me one more hug for luck and said “See ya later girlfriend.”
I blushed and kissed him on the cheek. “You can bet on it.” I replied.
Rita said 'bye to Pete, and Daddy said “Come on you lot, the barbecue is waiting to be used. I am hungry enough to eat a horse.”
We arrived home ten minutes later and piled out of the van and lined up to go to the toilet. We left the unpacking of the van and helped Mummy in the kitchen to make a salad while Daddy lit up the barbecue to get it hot enough to cook the rump steaks. Rita and Mummy brought the salad and drinks out to the table on the verandah while I helped cook the steaks with Daddy.
Mummy said, ”You know Carla I think my cooking is better than any hotel ''food''. What you reckon kid?”
Rita and Daddy both said at the same time, “Hoy, what about us?”
“Me and Dad run the restaurant with Linda's help without any complaints.” said Rita.
“Speaking of the restaurant, who's running it tonight? It's Saturday and it will be busy.”said Mummy.
Daddy replied, “Linda helped Rita prepare a lot of food yesterday so the menu will be a bit different tonight - besides I hired a young sixteen year old aboriginal girl from the mission to give the kid some hope in life. She is a real nice kid and gets on with everyone really well.”
“I hope you don't mind Donna? The way the restaurant is performing you will need all the help you can get. Even the people from in town are coming to eat there.”
Mummy said “Bill sweetheart, what you did for that girl is exactly what I would have done. By the way, what's the girl's name and where is she going to stay?”
“Well at the moment she and her Mum are staying in one of my caravans. The girls father was
white and didn't come home from the war in Korea. He married her Mum before he left but he never saw his daughter, Donna!” and Daddy was starting to tear up.
Mummy went to him and while she held him said, “Bill darling, this is why I fell in love with you so quickly in the first place. You're such a softy — now tell me their names.”
Daddy said, “Greg Thomson was his name, a Sergeant in the army, her Mum is Jenny and the girls name is Alice,-- a pretty little thing with the race mix.
Rita said, “Yeah Mum she's a great help on the tables, and the customers really like her too.”
“Ok,” said Mummy “Meal time, showers and by that time it'll be almost time for bed.” As she said that she was looking at Daddy with a big grin on her face.”
Daddy waggled his eyebrows at her and said, “Honey you don't want to unpack the van first then?”
Well - it was an early night all round and tomorrow was another day.
It was Sunday morning and we were going to go to church because Daddy is Catholic and has always gone to church all his life, but more so after his son Paul committed suicide. We loved Daddy so it was not a problem to go to church with him. Besides Ricky and his family go to the same church.
Mummy had a shower early with Daddy of course. I wonder why Mummy always squeals in the shower!!! Never mind, don't answer that! Anyway they unpacked the van and all the stuff was put into one of the spare bedrooms to be sorted out when we got home from church.
Me and Rita had our shower "no squealing" and towels wrapped around us we ran back to the bedroom to get dressed. Being girls we said at the same time “What will I wear?” That's when the giggling started and every time we looked at each other it started us off again. We stopped when Mummy yelled “Come and get it.” We weren’t dressed so we grabbed the summer dressing gowns and and snuck into the kitchen and sat down hoping Mummy didn't notice that we weren’t dressed yet.
All of a sudden there was a loud bang right behind us and Rita and me jumped up almost falling of our chairs. Daddy had busted a balloon and thought it was funny and so did Mummy, I didn't get the joke,-- seeing I nearly pee'd my panties. Rita obviously did because she ran from the room saying 'bugger!!'.
Mummy said, “Right Bill it's seven o'clock now. If there are any more games we will not get to go to church this morning and it will be your fault.
“Aww Donna I was just having a bit of fun.”
“What time is the second service this morning Bill?”
“There’s none - it's in the afternoon at five o'clock.”
“Well that's when we will be going then, won't we?” said Mummy.
Daddy said, “The girls will never be ready to go this morning anyway,”
“Says the man unshaven in shorts and sweat shirt.” replied Mummy.
I said “What about the Smiths? Can I ring Ricky and tell him not to go to church till this afternoon?”
“Well Carla luv, I'll tell you what, seeing it's my fault we are running too late to go this morning. I'll ring Barry right now and ask him if they can hold off going till this afternoon as well.”
Just then, Rita walked in dressed in jeans and tan top and wearing flip flops on her feet, and said “I'm not going to church Dad. You made me jump and pee my pants.
Just as Daddy was about go to his office, Mummy walked back into the kitchen and said “Where do think your going?”
“To ring Barry about something”----
“Too late darling, I just talked to Helen. Church this afternoon. They are as bad as us this morning”
'Great' I thought 'I can have a lazy day' when Mummy said “Lets get breakfast over with and we can sort out the stuff we brought home from Brissi”
“Ok!! fashion show,” replied Rita.
Daddy got up and said “That's my cue to go and sort out some stuff with Henry at the garage.”
He gave us all a kiss on the top of the head and was just about to leave when Mummy said, “Hoy! You come back here a minute.”
Daddy walked over as Mummy stood up and said “I love you Bill” and gave him a really long passionate kiss while me and Rita both rolled our eyes and started giggling again.
Daddy walked out with a spring in his step and said “Back later girls.” It looks like he has accepted me and Rita as his daughters which makes me feel completely girly and I love every minute of it. As I've said before, there is no way that I’m a boy and never was.
“Right,” said Mummy “Lets clear this mess off the table and then we can get down to business.”
Rita was duly impressed with the quality of the clothes Mummy got at the the second-hand clothes shop and said “Mum I want to go there when we go to Brisbane - is it far from the hotel?”
Mummy replied, “No just a hop, skip, and a jump Rita. But I think we might have an invite to stay with Tony and Bella when we go to Brisbane again.”
Rita said,” Aww and how far is that from the shop?”
“Well actually it's closer than the hotel, because I wondered why Tony was always so quick to be there to pick us up when we rang him.”
“Oh wow, I must remember to take an extra bag when we go.”,said Rita.
“No Darling, we'll travel light next time and buy some new suitcases and fill them up with lots of goodies. We'll have to see if we can make a dent in that insurance money of mine.”
Mummy then said that it was really only going to cost her for travel and accommodation when we went to Brisbane because Doctor Rose San-Lee's bills were covered by the study thingy.
Anyway, after I showed Rita all my new stuff she went through the things I got for her when we were shopping at the big department store before I had to go and see Rose.
She hugged me and said "Thanks Sis. I'm glad you're my little sister. I hope that doctor in Brisbane can make sure you stay that way.”
“Well,”I said, “If she can't than I would rather be with Jean.”
“Don't say that Carla - you're starting to freak me out with that stuff.”
“Don't worry Sis, Jean is right here with me and can hear every thing that is being said.”
Rita said “I wish I could communicate with her too, because I’m her sister too you know.”
I replied “When it is all quiet tonight before we go to sleep, why don't we both concentrate and see what happens when we hug real tight? It might work.
Mummy said “Ok girls, seeing we've got a few hours before we have to get ready to go to church, lets clean this place up.
“Yes Mummy” we both said with a sigh.
To be continued
Next time: The Priest wants to speak with me and Mummy in private.
Footnote.--- I would like to dedicate this story in memory of my dear older sister Rita (her real name) who passed away eighteen months ago while I held her hand. She supported me till the day she died. Rita I miss you so.
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