Hi my name is Jedda

Hi, my name is Jedda Hi, my name is Jedda, it means hi my name is pretty in the language of my Grandfather and his Grandfather before him. We are people who came from the Dreamtime, and the Dreamtime was way back so far back; it is a place we can see only in our dreams.
To me, my Grandfather is Pop; this is what I call him. Pop has told me that language the only one has been spoken for so long there is no way to measure the number of years. I do like the idea that someone has to say I am pretty when they call me, but honestly, I am not sure why that is my name. I do not know why it was given to me or who picked it.
I am no more pretty than my best friend, Kierra, and her name does not mean pretty. I like to call her Sis instead of Kierra. I want her name to be Jedda; also, maybe if her name was Jedda, people would quit calling her “Creamy” or “Half,” “Half-Cast,” sometimes we are both called “Abo.” This is supposed to be a bad thing when white people call you “Abo,” but when we are both called Abo, it means we are both the same and sisters in this life together.
When we went to school, we were picked on because we were too dark or too light. Sis has blue eyes and light hair. People say her father was white; we are both Aboriginal; we are always the wrong color.
In the sun, sometimes Sis’ skin will burn, I do never burn, I get darker. My hair is always the same, but in the sun, my Sis’ hair will turn as gold as dry grass in the bush. Kierra and I are so close we are like sisters; that is why I call her Sis.
Today is special, Jedda is sitting in her chair impatiently waiting for Pop while she taps her feet together, tap tap clap, tap tap clap. In walks Pop, it’s early, yet he is not fully
awake. “ready for breakfast?” he asks. I jump off my chair and slide it under the table, peeking at to see if he sees me trying to be careful. I grab a loaf of white bread off the counter and hold it like a rabbit by the ears and let it spin open. When the loaf of bread stops spinning, I undo the twisty tie quick like in one go, “ta-da.”
I say, presenting to Pop the opened loaf. Pop takes two slices and places them in the toaster. I carefully squeeze the air out of the bread bag and put the bread on the counter and tie the bag again.
I go to the old refrigerator to find that, to my surprise, the door shelf has a butter dish. I take the butter dish and put it on the table. I grab the step stool to get something in the cabinet that is too tall for me to reach. I step up on the counter and get a dark brown jar with a yellow lid, the word VEGEMITE written across the label of the jar in bold red letters. Jedda jumps down to the floor. After today no more using the stool to get back down from the tall cabinet after today. Pop is cooking some eggs in the cast iron skillet; he used butter for today’s eggs. It must be a special day, “no fat today” I think, “it is a butter kind of a day today. “Together they sit eating breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast with butter and Vegemite. You don’t need to salt your eggs when you spread Vegemite it is very salty but good.
Pop says to Jedda, today is a special day for a special birthday girl, so let’s get your Sis and go for a walk. At the kitchen table, Jedda squirmed in her chair put her fork down, scooted over to the edge of her chair she was just about to shoot off her chair to run to the door when Pop said “after you eat your breakfast” “can we have Sis over for breakfast?” Jedda asked.
Kierra lives in a small brick house like Jedda and her Pop, but Sis lived with her Mum, her father was gone since before Sis could walk. Kierra’s father was a white-fella, and that is all Jedda knew about him. Sis or her Mum never talked about the man who was Sis’ father. Well, almost never, the one day when her Mum said he was Kierra’s father so Sis would be able to go to school, to university do what she wanted and never have to explain she was an aboriginal it was so the world would treat her nice.
When I asked Sis’ Mum, what about me? What will happen to me? Her Mum reached over and gave me a big hug and said you are beautiful, Jedda, both my? The girls are beautiful. Now go outside and play.
These are the things Jedda thought about as she walked to Kierra’s home, briskly walking across the dirt patched lawn to the front door. She thought about what Sis’ mom would do all day if she and Kierra went walking with Pop.
Jedda hesitated then bounced on each of the two steps like they were great cliffs, and she was a huge giant who could leap the giant obstacles with ease. She thought, “I would never be old; I won’t allow it.” When people grow old, they seem to go sour; they spoil and turn dark no matter what color they begin as. You are old is when I will always be a kid, I will always bounce across huge cliffs when walking along a path. Jedda walked up the steps to Sis’ house, she opened the screen door, put her hand up to knock. The door opened with a screeching creaking sound. Sis’ Mum and Sis were standing there, clapping their hands together. “Happy Birthday,” they both said so excited for Jedda it was her birthday.
Jedda was turning twelve years old today, and no birthday would be complete without her best friend by her side celebrating with her.
Kierra’s Mum said, “ok Kierra is all ready to go, you guys have fun, and be nice to your Pop today he is getting old!”. Kierra reached behind the door and grabbed her bag as well as a small box with bright hair ribbons tied around the box. The box looked like it was decorated for something special. The paper and ribbons had been used many times before. The girls used the same ribbon and paper for the last couple of years. For as long as the girls knew how hard things like this were so hard to come by. Special Birthday gifts were always appreciated. The care of the wrapping paper and the ribbon the girls shared had now become a favorite tradition. They took pride in how carefully each took the wrap off their gifts.
Today is going to be such a good day, the day when my Pop will take Sis and me out for a walk on the red track. We will be walking all day, but we hit the bush within minutes.
We will learn real “Abo” things, we will learn the things we have not been taught before today. We learn about things that are good and things that are not good. It is always a good day when we are outside even in the summertime like now; when the sand is so hot, it can burn your feet. I like to walk with Sis. We take the same steps; we lock our elbows we listen and giggle a lot. When it is hot out, we play a hide and go seek game with the sun racing under gum trees and bramble bush. Any shade is a safe spot. I made this game because my Sis burns in the sun if she is out in it too long. I think we will always play these games. When we play these first games, we made up when we were little; we are the happiest always.

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