It's all that Kylie's fault

15th December 2006 at 00:00
I sit there, desperately trying to maintain concentration. Group dynamics among teenage girls? There is a research project here. I don't think I'll read it. I would rather eat my own flesh.

Mrs Lewis is explaining why Amy hasn't been in school. At least this is what I once believed. However, it seems that it all started at a disco.

Apparently, Toni talks to Shanice but Shanice doesn't like Kimberley because she thinks Kirsten, Kimberley's best friend, is spreading gossip about Carla. At the same time, Leah borrowed a jumper from Natasha who lent it to Kirsten, who thought it belonged to Toni.

Am I going too fast for you? Somewhere, among all this, is the reason why Amy won't come to school. I can feel my life draining away, but Mam is building up a fine head of steam.

"It's that Gemma I blame. Little bitch."

A wasp is skidding around the light fitting. I have to say something: "I am sure you must have been very worried but Amy must..."

"You don't know the half of it, Mr Roe. Anyway..."

Mam is on a roll. She is sitting in an office with someone whom she believes is listening to her. Why stop? Has it all finally come to this? The training, the study?

"It's not right, Mr Roe."

Of course it is not right. What happened to the glittering career? I could have been a contender. Look at me now. How is this going to end? I offer a vague platitude.

"I will speak to the girls. I will tell them all to be friends. How's that?"

Did I really say that? How stupid. But Mrs Lewis seems to think this will work.

"You might have a problem with Louise, mind."

I am desperate to return to the main issue. "Now, let's look at how we can get Amy to..."

But Mrs Lewis has not come here to listen. It now appears this dispute has sucked in the mothers. They are phoning each other abusively, adding petrol to the flames. If only they went out and found themselves jobs they would not have the time for all this.

"It is time you lot up here sorted that Kirsten out."

She begins again. Suddenly we seem to be reaching an accommodation. How, I don't know, but as I now understand it, it is all the fault of Kylie.

Slowly, I am drawn into this world. I hate myself but I start to wonder why Jess isn't talking to Rachel and why Clare threw Zoe's pencil case down the toilet.

Is this my destiny? Neither strategic overview nor development plans nor quality assurance. The role that fate has always had planned for me is to find out why Gemma told Chelsea that it was Amy who threw the Coke at Louise.

When Mrs Lewis pauses to drink her tea, I strike. I need to see my children. I need to know they haven't grown up and left home during this conversation.

I make my point about attendance. Mrs Lewis, happy now that she has explained everything to a man in a suit, agrees to bring Amy to school tomorrow.

My colleagues in the office have been listening at the door. They are weeping with laughter. But Amy returns. She seems fine.

Mrs Lewis phones me. The mothers met up down the pub and sorted it out.

They decided that the villain of the piece was Shanice. Her mother was shopping. It seems that she had been slagging off Sophie to Carla who thought that, because Toni wasn't talking to Chelsea...

"I told them. I said, it don't make no sense, do it Mr Roe?"

"None whatsoever, Mrs Lewis."

Ian Roe is a pseudonym. He is a teacher in north Wales

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