The Drop-In Centre

September 13, 2008
By Alexandra Reeves-Ackerley, Brisbane, ZZ

The grey walls of my room seemed to be enveloping me. I stand in silence and listen to the violent nosies that reverberate from next door. I knew that when I look at my mother's face tomorrow it would be a tapestry of red and purple. The light from the bulb and the music from the radio drown the unpleasant happenings that are only a couple of metres away. Salty droplets trckle down my face, leaving glistening trails, like those of a snail. I need to get out, I thought suddenly, I need a sanctuary, somewhere that will save me from the torment and isolation of this house. I haven't been to school for over a week, I spend my days stealing change and playing video games at the local shopping centre, but no-one seems to care.

One day while I was playing dragon slayer at the shops I saw a advertisement for a youth centre where you get free food and can play video games whenever you want. At first I wasn't bothered about it and I continued to wonder around the neighbourhood.Some time passed and i could get the ad out of my head, it was like a broken record repeating in the back og my mind. I tried to forget about it but I couldn't. After much diliberation I decided to give it shot, I mean if I didn't like it I could just leave. When I arrived there I was welcomed by suspicious and curious eyes, wondering what I was doing there. A woman approached me and questioned me about why I was there and if I needed any help. I didn't tell her much, but she let me stay. Soon after I settled in I went for a look around. There was many people there, all for different reasons; mine I wasn't so sure yet. I don't usually like to socialise much but with these people it wasn't as bad and I wasn't worried about them judging me.

I didn't feel one hundred percent comfortable in this environment but I'd rather be here than a place some crazy people call home. When I arrived there I thought I knew what I was getting myself into, I was extremely wrong. Almost everyday I spent there the staff try to 'encourage' me to have counselling, like there is something wrong with me.In my opinion I doubt anyone in their right mind would want to spill their life story to some shrink? I do want to stay here but I know the longer I do, the closer I will get to blurting out my 'brutal' journey of why I came here.

Most people staying here understand and respect everyone else, but there is always exceptions. I unwillingly began talking to one of these poeple one day. The guy asked me the reason I was here and when I didn't answer, he thoguht I was some loony or something. This didn't sit well with me. I thought coming to this place meant no judgement, where I could et everyone off my back, but this was quite the opposite. In a moment, without thinking, I gave him a hard blow to the face. His nose bled and I must admit that I felt a bit guilty but not sorry. The staff came immediately andtook him away to get cleaned up. Then suddenly the same woman who had welcomed me came rushing over, ready to give me a lecture I guessed. She reminded me that this was a calm place and therefore if I didn't respect that then I would have to leave. So without giving it a seconf thought , I did. Although I didn't really know where I was going, I thought that I should go back home and fix my life.

I helped my mother get a good job and my father to get off the booze. I also decided to go back to school and make a future for myself. By the time I finished high school when I was 17 I had an aprentiship in building and construction, so it just goes to show you what you can do even when you don't have the best things in life.

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