A serious face--well, I'd never thought of it like that. But someone pointed it out the other day and every one else said, 'Yeah! He has got a serious face, hasn't he!'

My brain isn't serious so I don't know why my face is serious. But when I took my mid-afternoon toilet break that day I spent a quiet minute looking in the mirror while I was washing my hands. (I wash them slowly and carefully. I don't want to get back to class too soon.) Yes. My face does look serious.

May be it will be an advantage when I grow up and become a lawyer or something.

In the meantime, I hope at least some people notice there's a twinkle in my eye. If they look carefully.

I get my grey eyes from my mum. She got her grey eyes from her Polish grandmother, Ujmie Janoc. Polish grandma, but all the rest of her family came from what they called White Russia. Or maybe I've got it wrong. Some other relative comes from White Russia and Mum's family comes from Estonia. They were all pale-skinned people so my skin is fairly pale too, although I come out in a tan when I run in the sun for a while.

My grandfather was a rat of Toobruk. That was in the second world war when some Australians got holed up somewhere in Africa, I'm not sure where, exactly. But they all became famous. When I was a little kid I thought that was why he had rat's eyes himself. Until I saw a photo of him when he was a little boy. Then I realised he was born with eyes like a rat's. Small, bright, quick, deceitful. With a twitchy nose. The chief investigator of smelly things. Grandpa was the first rich lawyer in our family.

His son (my father) was the next. Until he gave it all up to become an artist. He ran away from home first and didn't even come back for Christmas. After that he changed his name. Well, he shortened it really. When he was a lawyer he was Raymond Gunn. Now he's just Ray Gunn. It wasn't till I was eight years old that I got the joke. By then Dad was home again and everything was OK.

We had to sit still for boring hours while Dad painted 'portraits' of us. Except he didn't make us look like human beings at all. I mean, you couldn't tell the difference between Jamie or me. Or Jodie, for that matter. They're hung in the downstairs entrance hall now where no one important ever comes in.

The first paintings when he started to become famous were actually paintings of ET (the cute alien that you might have seen on an old video). But he made ET look huge, like God or something. He used special paint that reacted with ultraviolet light. Then he left the paintings outside for weeks and till weird effects happened to them. On most of the paintings ET almost disappeared and in his(?) place were these amazing things that looked like flowers from another planet. Or an alien barbecue. Or a sunstorm in a vase. Or something else hard to describe.

After the copyright thing had been worked out (ET was copyright) to everybody's 'satisfaction' (by Dad who had been a lawyer before he was a builder before he was an artist) then the paintings were exhibited in Canberra and Sydney. Then they went to New York.

Dad made more money from that than if his numbers had come up on Wednesday night (Tattslotto night). He and Mum spent most of it on a holiday that we kids weren't invited on.

Apparently they lived like a king and queen until there was no money left--except what they had put away for us kids' education.

Which crapped Jamie off because he had big plans for spending his allowance on a bass guitar and huge speakers and a Harley Davidson and a lifetime's supply of dope and whatever else was his passing fancy.

'I don't need,' he grunted, pretending to be a Pink Floyd when the Berlin Wall was coming down on his nearly worn-out video of it. (Mum & Dad watch it too, to see Van Morrison, who they listen to all the time and even take with them to friends' places to play at their grown-up parties.)

I'm already taller than my mum, who, despite irritating me sometimes, is still my favourite person in the world. I mean, she saved my life. Though it was a pity she didn't know more about surgery.

Still she knew enough. She said later, she'd seen an emergency tracheotomy on a movie once on TV and had remembered.

In fact, it's amazing what my Mum remembers. I think, if I asked her enough questions she would eventually remember all the way back to the Big Bang.

Which Dad certainly does, because if I ask him a question he usually replies, 'Well, it all started with the Big Bang,' and I say, 'It's OK Dad, I don't want to hear.' (Our family has had a lot of experience of that.)

But this sort of thing does make me think, really. I mean, I often wonder about what happened before the Big Bang. Nothing much, I suppose.

In fact, this nothing business had me worried for a long time. I even talked about it once with Ms Rubenach.

In fact, not so long ago, only a few years ago, in fact, I was nothing. I mean, I didn't exist. I wasn't even a twinkle in my father's eye. Though I guess I was an idea in my mother's mind.

The suddenly there I was, running round, exploring the world, trying to make sense of everything. My family has the pictures to prove it. They're on the dresser next to the table in the living room.