International Grammar School

My pillow slowly shapes into a cloud as I drift off into the world of dreams, my thoughts droopily disappearing from my mind. The dark of closed eyelids morph into a deep blue sky, casting the world beneath it in a soothing shade of cyan. But the sky beckons me, telling me to explore further. Its pull is strange – a powerful force that can’t be resisted. My legs start to move, rapidly picking up pace. Soon hills, mountains and deserts fly behind me, gone as quickly as they come. 

As my legs come to a halt, I notice a familiar meadow up ahead. It ropes me in, begging for me to come. My body propels itself forward, forcing my legs to continue running, until finally collapsing onto the bed of grass, smothering the ecosystem for as far as the eye can see. Sighing, I glance up at the sky; it’s an orange hue now, with swirling clouds spotting its surface. 

I turn my attention to the grass – it feels smooth beneath my palms and as I snake my hands through the spuds, I feel a soft lump hidden between the crevices. I instantly recoiled my hand, fearing that I had just touched some sort of unknown animal. A wild cat maybe? But instead of a tail and whiskers, I see two round eyes looking back at me. Eyes of a girl, who I presume to be about my age. Her hair is long and dark, and her skin is a dark chestnut. She smiles, and I smile back. 

“Hi!” I say cheerfully, attempting an introduction. She simply continues to smile, her eyes twinkling in the afternoon sunlight. “Budyeri kamaru!” She replies after what feels like a millennium. I don’t know what that means, so I just smile and nod up to the sky, still mesmerised by its impenetrable glare. She turns her gaze upward too, watching the clouds turn a slight silver, forming odd shapes in the flamingo-pink sky. We lie side-by-side, letting the beauty of the clouds and sky wash over our beings. 

After a while, I can feel a tap on my shoulder. I turn my head to see the girl with a stick in hand. She giggles and slowly draws out a picture of a man and a woman in the dirt, with Toonku and Ngyardi over their heads. Noticing that I still don’t get it, she points up at the sky, then at the drawing. I smile and say, “so they came from there?” Noticing that she doesn’t understand, I just nod my head to communicate my understanding. She grins and continues sharing her stories for hours, not limited to her voice, but liberated by her drawings. I share my stories too – ones of the sky and its limitless bounds. But soon, we both get tired and instead simply stare up at the sky, its trance connecting us. The quiet is peaceful, flowing through the grass, floating up the tree trunks and finally drifting off into the sky. 

For a while we simply lie under the comforting glow of the sky and clouds, basking in the cool relief of sunset, until soon the clouds part for the moon, turning the sky a murky blue. But in a flash the sky warps from blue to a deep black, swiftly coating the whole meadow and my friend. Then my eyes opened, and I was greeted with the morning sunlight. As I pulled off my sheets, my expression turned sour. Who was that girl? This thought nagged at the back of my mind all the way to the kitchen, where I noticed that Mum wasn’t home. Shrugging, I opened the fridge and got out some yoghurt, but just as I was about to put it in a bowl, I caught sight of a girl holding moving boxes outside my window…

Artist Statement 

For me, reconciliation is all about mutual respect and camaraderie. My story demonstrates that even two people from different backgrounds, who have never met before and don’t even speak the same language, can still reach reconciliation through working around barriers such as communication. This, I believe, is when you know you have successfully reached reconciliation: when you are able to find ways around problems together and with each party’s best interest in mind.

Reconciliation Means…

Not looking past differences but rather exploring differences, and learning from other cultures that are different from yours. We will never reach true reconciliation if we have a closed mindset and believe that our way is the only way or the best way to do things, as that is not accepting and appreciating other people for who they are and is disregarding their experiences and beliefs. If we learn from each other, we will all grow together, and move beyond what has happened in the past and create a better future in which everyone is respected and treated equally.

Written By: Milly McKendry

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Many of these resources and activities have been developed in consultation with NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) to ensure that the program meets NSW curriculum outcomes for Stages 3, 4 & 5.