The party started with the usual kind of games – Ring-a-ring-a-roses, followed by The Farmer Wants a Wife, Hide and Seek, and so on – and Davina enjoyed all of these, until it was her turn to hide, and she slid into the cupboard underneath the stairs and waited to be found. Time passed, and no-one came! Eventually, she got tired of waiting, and opened the cupboard door to discover that the game was over, and all the guests were seated at the table enjoying a birthday tea of sandwiches, biscuits and birthday cake! Why had no-one come and called out for her, she wondered, and even more she wondered why there was no spare seat at the table!!
Suzie’s mother came into the room, saw Davina standing there, and said “The others said you had gone, Davina! Something about preferring to play football with the boys! I’m so sorry!” and she made some of the other guests move up and started laying a place for Davina.
Davina was as close to tears as she had ever been, and said to Suzie’s Mum that it was OK, and she did have to go now. She noticed Suzie’s face was pink with embarrassment, and turned away to get her coat and go home.
Mr. and Mrs. Taylor were rather surprised that half way through the afternoon, Davina came home, looking very unhappy. When the asked her what the problem was, and if she had done something wrong, she said no, that she had been on her best behaviour, and explained what had happened at the game of Hide and Seek, and how she had been left in the cupboard while all the other guests were having a lovely birthday tea! Mr. & Mrs. Taylor were furious, and Mr. Taylor in particular was all for going back round to Suzie’s house and telling her parents exactly what he thought of them, but Mrs. Taylor said that really wouldn’t do any good, and it would be better to just let the matter drop. Secretly she too was furious, and thought about how Davina had been so well behaved during the week, as well as she herself having spent quite a lot of money buying the lovely party dress!
She took Davina upstairs, and helped her take off the dress, and hang it away in the wardrobe. Davina was too upset to come down to tea, so Mum brought her up some nice sandwiches and some shortbread which she had baked, as well as a glass of milk, and sat with her while she ate this. There was really nothing she could say, as she didn’t know why Suzie had been so nasty.
On the Monday morning, when Davina went to school, Suzie was at great pains to avoid her, staying in a group of her own friends, and ensuring that Davina was excluded. Mr. Jackson, on playground duty, noticed that Davina wasn’t her usually cheery self, and wondered what had happened. Had she been in trouble at home? Was she feeling ill? Had her homework been too difficult – but then he thought, no, it could not be that as Davina was a clever girl, and never had any problems with homework other than it was always rushed as she wanted to finish it and get out to play with the boys! Time, perhaps, for another consultation with Mr. Robertson, the Headmaster!
After school, the football team met as usual for practice. There was a match due at home (that is at their own football ground) this upcoming Saturday, and he was keen to work out with the team some new strategies he had worked out. Most of the team were in good form, listening to Mr. Jackson, and nodding as he explained how he wanted them to practise – except Davina, who just sat there, staring out the window, and not seeming to pay any attention to Mr. Jackson – very strange behaviour from his star player! Davina had to be told more than once when it was time to go out into the field and start knocking the ball about. She hadn’t been listening to Mr. Jackson, and the other members of the team were not only astonished, but annoyed as she wasn’t playing her part! For once, they started shouting at her, calling her a stupid girl (with emphasis on the word “girl”!), and that she didn’t belong in their team! She did hear that, and turned and ran off the pitch into the dressing room, grabbed her uniform and school bag, and ran off home, and Mr. Jackson, having the other members of the team to look after, was powerless to stop her.
When she arrived home, she dropped her schoolbag in the hall, and ran straight upstairs to her bedroom, slamming the door behind her. Needless to say, Mrs. Taylor was surprised that her daughter had come home so early, and in this state! Something would definitely have to be done, and she would speak to her husband, Mr. Taylor, when he came home from work.