A thick layer of frost covered the ground as the Turner children walked briskly down the 2km drive way to meet the bus. The middle of winter in Peak View was harsh and the air hurt the skin. Although not likely to snow, Peak View was close enough to the Snowy Mountains to make the mornings cold and gloomy. In summer the children would use the run about car to drive to the road but in winter the car was almost always frozen over.
The school bus was quiet and Meggie took her same seat behind her sisters Josephine and Therese who were both eight. The one thing that Meggie really enjoyed about the winter was the fog that was always low and when the sun managed to shine through the fog, it made for the best scenery Meggie could ever imagine. The normally dry land was full of silhouetted gum trees and the frost glistered. At ?Athlone,? which was the name of the farm, the Barron children boarded the bus. There were five Barron children and between them and the Turners they made up majority of the bus and the school. Anna Barron was Meggie?s best friend and as usual took her seat next to Meggie. The bus took half an hour and picked up a total of 16 children. The school was Jernangle Public School which had 19 students and one teacher, Mr Burns. The school was from Kindergarten to 4th form. After that most of the children went to Monaro High in Cooma, or started working. As the day progressed the fog lifted and the Australian sun defrosted the playground in time for recess.

Half way through what had been a normal day for the Turner children, their father, Bill Turner, strictly ?father? to the children, came into the classroom and told them to get into the car. This was extremely abnormal as father never came to the school and was always working. Meggie and Catherine, her elder sister, exchanged glances of concern and fear. Mr Turner was a quiet man and was always distant to his children, perhaps because he never really knew what to do with children and became worse as they got older. The car trip home was silent and still; due to no one being game enough to say anything. It was not until they reached home that Catherine asked,
?What is it father?? Mr Turner breathed very deeply and slowly started to explain what had happened.
?Your mother got a call around 10 o?clock this morning. It was from the hospital. Your Grandmother?,? and there was a long suspenseful pause and several more deep breaths before he continued. ?Your grandmother had a severe heart attack and probably will not live through the night.?

Mrs Purcell had been a strong woman, who had been widowed for many years and had worked hard to maintain her farm, lining alone. Once she passed away, as was written in her will, the Turner family moved into her house. She had lived in Bunyan which was only ten minutes out of town. The children moved schools to the Catholic Primary school, St Patrick?s. This school had many more kids and Meggie who was not the most outgoing child was a little unsure about her first day. She had never really had much to do with the kids in town and were afraid they would be different.

Unlike her previous school where most kids just played together, Meggie found that by 3rd form the girls had formed there own groups and she over heard some girls in the bathroom commenting on the she way she wore her hair, saying that ?plaits were for 1st form.? Meggie was never one to be too concerned with what was cool and liked the way she looked with her hair in plaits. In the first couple of weeks at school Catherine and Meggie found that they spent a lot of time together as neither felt that they fitted in. The twins, who always had each other anyway, Louise and Anthony all made friends without much drama and were enjoying school. However things only worsened for the eldest Turner?s. As they were not Catholics the nuns were constantly giving them the cane for not answering questions about things that the girls had never even heard about. Their school was much bigger than their previous school although the 3rd and 4th forms where still in the same classroom. This just brought Catherine and Meggie closer together. They shared everything that best friends would normally. Even when Catherine entered 5th form and went to the Public School, Monaro high, they were still practically inseparable.

That year John also started at St Pat?s in Kindergarten. There had always been a concern about John?s health and by March that year he was beginning to loose weight dramatically and was diagnosed with a brain tumor and was fast deteriorating his body. Meggie felt so lost not having Catherine around at this time and spent a lot of time isolated from everyone else. It was then that a Caitlyn Stanley made the kindest gesture that anyone had made to her in that school in over a year. She wrote Meggie a letter that just said that if Meggie was in need of a friend or someone to talk to that she was there. It appeared that Caitlyn was quiet a generous and caring friend to Meggie.

Caitlyn was there for Meggie in everyway and in the following 6 months that John fought for every minute of his life. With this new friend Meggie spent little time with Catherine and began to get high achievement awards at school with the help of Caitlyn. When John passed away Caitlyn was nothing but supportive to Meggie and was there for her in anyway she know how. She gave the support that a similarly grieving sister could not. The in last couple of days of John?s life, while his parents painfully sat by his bed, the rest of the children were made to stay at friends houses, as Bill and Wendy could not take proper care of them. One arrival at Monaro High Catherine had made no intentions to create friends and preferred to concentrate on her studies however was spending so much time caring for the rest of the family that her school work fell behind. She was constantly driving the rest of the siblings in and out of town and when they all left to stay at others houses she was left alone to grieve on her own.

Without being aware of it both the Turner girl, had developed a liking for the same guy. He was David Stanley, Caitlyn?s older brother. He was in 5th form at Monaro High, which was the same as Catherine. Unknowing of the similar feelings that her sister shared, David and Meggie grow closer together. Not feeling the necessity to share this information with her sister or anyone in her family, Meggie kept her feelings for David to herself. When she entered 5th form, Maggie and David became an item and Catherine became aware of their relationship. Feeling utterly betrayed Catherine felt further and further segregated from her family and decided to drop out of school and move away. She moved to the big city, which only an hour away from Cooma felt so much further away and she felt as though she could finally figure out that is was to be her. She lived in Canberra with her mothers sister who had offered to let her live with her and helped her obtain a job at the local shops, till she figured out what she wanted to do. In spite, Catherine never spoke to her sister other then small talk to appear polite.

Meggie often wrote letters and made numerous attempts at communication, all which went unanswered. Meggie blamed herself for her sister?s absence, although there was no real reason she could think of that might have caused her sister to leave. As time passed it became apparent that Daniel and Meggie where truly suited for one another. They had planned to leave for a holiday in Sydney to experience a local football match in October. Only a week before they had planned to drive up Meggie fainted in class. After being rushed to emergency it was discovered that she needed a blood transfusion within the hour. The family was aware that the only person that shared her blood type was Catherine. Despite all efforts the family could not get in touch with Catherine.

Her walking stick hit the hard dry grass. The wind was hot and it picked up the dust. The gum tree provided limited relief from the harsh unrelenting Australian sun. As she approached the grave, as she had done every year before, Catherine?s heart pained with unforgiving memory that she wasn?t there to save her. She had lived, but she lived with the guilt that haunted her soul.

Meggie 7.6 of 10 on the basis of 2221 Review.