A Photo Alive, A Bar On Fire & Revelation Devastation (4-10 January)

Monday 4/1/88

I slept quite badly last night, actually. I felt every move I made because of my sunburn. But strangely, today, (maybe because I was busy) (but not busy enough as you’ll see) I didn’t notice it too much. No mail for me this morning. I waited awhile before I went to the P.O. with mum [to investigate sending a telegram to my boyfriend]. The man said it’d be cheaper to ring!! (every word costs 60¢ and that includes your addresses etc, so mine would’ve been $11.25 even though I was only going to write DESPERATE FOR YOUR RETURN. LOVE ALWAYS) so I’ll ring tomorrow (gotta work out when I might catch him at the Hotel) so back home I spent the day (eating)(cheese on toast) and ‘cleaning out’ (yes, STILL!) and I still haven’t finished! So I must go into town tomorrow to get their presents, finish cleaning up room (decide whether or not to shift the furniture)A Life in Words and definitely do my QTAC preference thingy. [This ‘thingy” was pretty important if I’d wanted tertiary study to be one of my options for the coming year. I had to submit my chosen course preferences to QTAC (the Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre) by a certain deadline or I’d have to apply to each institution personally and that would be a right pain in the arse…] It’s 10:00 now. Hope I can sleep better and I hope to god that my burns have gone down (in tone [redness] and pain) before Mark gets back. I HAVE SO MUCH TO DO!! No one rang me today. I wonder why – Joannah hasn’t been in touch. Maybe she’s shitty? (what for?) [Well, you won’t know unless you talk to her?] God, I’m hot.

Tuesday 5/1/88

I am so excited! It’s almost 10:00 (if not past that) which means there’s only 10½hrs or so till I see him! Today was, to put it bluntly, eventful. I woke, and when the mailman came there was nothing for me. A Life in WordsMy burns were still tender, but not so much sore & I thanked the Skin Repair for that [a moisturizer that my mum always bought. I’m fairly sure – unlike the pic (left) – that the container was yellow in the 80’s] (so I got away with wearing a bra & cotton dress easily enough!) So much mum & I went into town & traipsed all over the place looking for chains for Mark. I had one chain on hold at nearly every shop I went into! At the Liquor Barn I couldn’t decide what type of liquor to get the W’s so I thought I’d leave it till I rang mark. So at home I rang QANTAS and found out the time distance. [Er, I’d’ve been referring to time zones here. I find it amusing that I chose to call Qantas to find out; we obviously had no idea and no handy resources to work it out, ourselves. These days everyone has Google at their fingertips…] It was 12:00pm at that time, so it would’ve been 9am there. But my phone call was stuffed. I didn’t “book” it to start with, which meant I was ringing the Hotel, not directly Mark [hmm, that I don’t understand] and I was paying for a waste of time trying to page him (which the stupid singapore bitch didn’t – I couldn’t understand a word she said) but I was so upset when I got off that I cried (a bit) Then I decided to try and sort my room out… Joannah rang! She’s having her birthday dinner at Pizza Corner on Thursday night (and guess who’s going? [privacy omission] of course. God I hope Mark’ll come) Well I’m glad she rang. I’ve gotta ring her and see her some time tomorrow [privacy omission] Mum came home soon after that and we went to Earlville (saw Sue!) and I found the perfect (??!! Hope he thinks so) chain. So at home I tried again to sort my room out… I got really upset then, about the shape & layout of my room & how I hated the furniture etc, so I was fairly baulling over that (worst I’ve been in ages) Then after we got through to Mark A Life in Words(Yep! Mum tried and did it better – saved time & money & he was there!) [God my mum was good to me. Really.] I got happier after talking to him [..and that’s the only reason she would’ve tried again. To make me happy.] (so excited) that I forgot my room & just left it the same [that is, forgot about shifting the furniture around] and packed away (most of) the junk off the floor. Gosh the room’s bare now! (My burns aren’t sore – I’ll sleep really well tonight! HOORAY!) I feel really good now! (Although I didn’t get my QTAC done, and my eyes are sore from crying) [!!] well it’s 10:13, I’ve got to get some sleep – up at 7.30 to go & greet Mark. GORGEOUS MARK!!♥♥

Wednesday 6/1/88

A Life in Words
my best friend, behind glass…

Had a really hard time trying to get to sleep last night. I kept hearing a really faint noise, like slight tapping on glass & I freaked myself out thinking it might’ve been Moni tapping the glass separating her from our world (ie: the picture frame) [I remember this. I had a black & white photo (still do!) of Monique in a small brass picture frame on my bedside table and I’d imagined that she was ‘alive’ behind the glass, tapping on it from the inside, from her black-and-white ‘nether’ world.] I got to sleep  eventually but woke up a few times this morning (thinking “only an hour away – he’s in Australia!”) I got up at 7.10 and somehow, we left home at 8:05 (I’m sure I was ready earlier!) And we saw the plane descending as we rounded Suicide Bend at Stratford, so when we got there, I hopped out & went to wait while mum parked the car. Lo & Behold, I see Nicole with the B’s (what a shock!) Anyway, they finally came out of customs around 9:30 (mum had left for work then) Mark didn’t look too much different. Paler, but not too much fatter and I walked over and hugged him & I heard him murmur “Oh baby!” It was rather exciting! We all went back to the W’s, then the B’s & Nicole left. Mark & I mucked around then, [privacy omission] I mentioned the ‘guys’ [I’d pashed while he was away] he didn’t really care: I said “are you disappointed?” and he said “No, I’ve not really got any right to be” (meaning after what he did to me) & I mentioned that [privacy omission] thing [I’d discovered – after he’d left on his holiday – that he’d been at an ex-girlfriend’s house the night before they departed. See Friday 4 December in this post if you’d like the full story] – he said he’d just been there to collect the remaining bet money (with Keith) I said “well, I decided its either me, only me, all me, totally completely me, me, me or nothing, nothing of me, nothing to do with me.” [Nice ‘Drama Queen’ ultimatum, Liss] He didn’t say anything but I said “Well?” and he replied “I don’t think I need to answer that – I think you know the answer.” So, he dropped me home around 12.30, I rang Jo and said I’d go around there. I gave her her present (Mark B. was there for awhile & Jeffrey dropped in too) Mark & Jo were swimming & I sat & admired the watch (my) Mark had given me: black & red (mostly black – gold trimming & roman numerals) A Life in WordsGUCCI!! I couldn’t believe it! It’s gorgeous! […having never travelled out of Australia at this age, I had no idea that imitiations even existed…] Anyway, we watched TV & listened to records all arvy.. I got home around 5.00 and listened to (his) Pet Shop Boys tape on my walkman & watched TV, waiting for his call. Sharon rang around 6.00 or so wanting me to go out but I had perfect reason: Mark just didn’t feel like it (!!) [OMG *facepalm* this is truly exasperating …a perfect example of living your life through someone else. Take note, kids: don’t do this! Don’t make decisions based on the wants of others. Be your own person!] So, he hadn’t rung by 6:30, so I rang him. He said I could go to his place. I started to get ready but he rang back & said we’d go to Croc. Rock because Terry’d told him it was the last $ nite, […see? He’s not living his life for you! (but – considerately – wasn’t excluding you at the same time) oh and that “$ nite” thing? Back in the day, before Liquor Licensing began clamping down on binge-drinking, bars and clubs could attract patrons with all kinds of price-sensitive campaigns and for many years the House on the Hill ‘owned’ Wednesday nights – commonly referred to as “Dollar Night”. The crack-down may have been in its inception, if this was indeed “the last $ nite”…] so around 7:20 I got to his place. He was asleep. We both talked a little but then both dozed off (well, I dozed – he slept) Then Sandra woke us & we got ready. (we were just in time: Keith, Mr B & Nicole pulled up) Fine inside… weren’t many people. Mark appeared pretty bored; I tried to mingle (without leaving Mark out) Um, I had quite a bit to drink, including a cocktail with Mark, and I was feeling pretty good.. I found out my GUCCI isn’t genuine Gucci [der] he couldn’t afford one of those. [Der!] But don’t mind – it’ll fool anyone else! […ummm, likelihood of that is low…] We had a dance & I saw Delanie! I think we left quite soon after that. I remember not feeling too well, and everyone said I looked like I was about to drop dead with fatigue. So Mark said “Do you want to go home, or would you like to stay at my place?” You know what I chose! We prepared for sleep around 12.30…

Thursday 7/1/88

…Of course, we didn’t feel tired then we talked a fair bit, actually about people, us, etc, A really good talk. I remember stroking his stomach near his belly button & we’d stopped talking; [privacy omission] I was about to say “do you want to make love?” (working up the guts) when he said “come here.” So I fell asleep in his arms after it. So I moved up to his bed again later [we’d been on a mattress on the floor] -it was too cramped. We woke fairly early – about 8:00 & we mucked around: teasing. sometimes talking. [privacy omission] We made it again. And after that, faced the family (of course they were surprised to see me) A Life in WordsI noticed I’d given him a hickie too: embarrassing!! We watched TV from about 10.00 or 10.30 through till about 2:00 or so, affectionately stroking or touching each other throughout. We walked to the shop to buy soft drink and he tidied up his room a bit, then we looked at the Holiday photos before he dropped me home. I’m sure this trip has done him the world of good – he is so affectionate now (compared to what he used to be) and he seems to have a better attitude towards people (talking about [privacy omission]: he said he doesn’t really hate them – thinks [privacy omission] A very different attitude! I rang Fi but she was talking to Jason (said she’d ring back, but didn’t) Rang Jo, too. Otherwise I just watched the cricket (CB rang me too but that was much later) At 4.50 I realised I hadn’t done my QTAC. [Here we go…] We rushed to the P.O. but the man said it’d get there Monday, even by airmail – so I’m going to have to send it by courier tomorrow. Great. Well, I left [for my friend’s birthday dinner] around 7:25. Mark didn’t seem too excited (can I blame him?) [I don’t know, can you?] We were early so went for a walk. He said he was really tired (I was too) Keith & Greg were nearby & we talked to them until we had to go in. Jo & Nicole & Dean & Jeffrey were very late. Had the rest of us (Fiona, Sue, Megan, Jim & Philip) not gone in, we would’ve lost the tables: they only hold them for 10 mins. The waitress was a real bitch. Mark & I kinda talked to ourselves, mostly. I drank a little wine. It wasn’t really great overall. We walked to the mall. I rang mum & we waited. Saw CB & [privacy omission] just before mum came. Dropped Mark off at home. I’m preparing to BOMB! I’m so exhausted – tired. I have to get that QTAC away tomorrow. We’re having car & rat troubles (again). My room’s still not neat yet. Oh, I really need to hit the sack. Goodnight!

Friday 8/1/88

Well, I had a big sleep last night: mum woke me briefly this morning around 8.00 to tell me she was going to get the car brakes fixed: I barely recall that! I fell asleep again & was woken again by mum telling me to hurry: we had to get my QTAC on the 10:00 Ansett airfreight cargo. [Good ol’ Ansett. It was the major competitor to Qantas in Australia up until its demise in 2001, since Richard Branson’s Virgin Airlines had only begun operation in Australia a year earlier.] A Life in WordsMum had a few things to do beforehand & I was scared we wouldn’t make it. At the desk, we explained that we needed it delivered That day and the guy said “Oh well, that’ll be $85.86.” SHIT! He said possibly the best (cheapest & only) was was to go to the P.O. & get a facsimile. It cost us $9 and I’m pretty sure (hoping desperately) That QTAC will accept a fax. [Ah, the old fax! We hardly knew what it was even then, because they were so ‘new’ but thanks to the Internet, they are now hardly utilised so I imagine many young people wouldn’t know what they are either. It’s kind of like sending a scanned copy of a document down a telephone line… so, quite similar to what we now more commonly do through the internet …at home, and for ‘free’.] At home after, I listened to headphones & watched TV for a little while, before finally finishing clearing my room, then dusting it, then vacuuming the house. I rang Mark & he said he wanted to stay home. I was a little disappointed. I said I wanted to see him before the party… whether it was tonight or sometime tomorrow .. he said if he organised anything tonight, he’d ring. I had a feeling he wouldn’t.  That’s why, when Sharon rang I accepted her invitation to go out! (oh! Fi visited this avry, just after Sharon rang… I let her read Mark’s letter & caught her up on all the “goss”. Heather W & Sandra F came by, too – god knows why) she came over around 7.00 and I got v. angry trying to decide what to wear. [Choosing an outfit can be agonising for most females but it can be catastrophic for a hormonal teenaged girl. Or… maybe just for this perfectionist teenaged girl?] Heather W lent me a black shirt eventually. Mum dropped us up there – 9:15 or so (really early – quite empty) Tania was working again. We danced – saw the Saints guys, Megan V, too! Yeah she & Chris (& her friend Renee) are back in town! Aaron K had 3 sleazy cousins. Sharon got a guy she was after, so I spent a lot of time with Aaron. He is quite affectionate towards his close female friends apparently (eg: Sue) and he was being rather nice to me, too! In fact, I got a bit nervous when he started sucking my fingers. Alison M bought me a N.Y’s drink – triple vodka & orange – wo! strong! So eventually (god I danced a lot – not drunk: I had an unreal time though. Oh god, you should’ve seen in Smithy’s earlier on: I spilt a (lit) Explosion & the bar caught alight! A Life in WordsBartender reckons “you stupid, brainless bitch.” I was SO embarrassed.) [THIS is a standout memory for me, and I’m positive that it’s the very reason I’ve never forgotten about those ‘Explosion’ cocktails. As I’ve mentioned previously, they were a concoction of straight spirit nips – no mixers or other additives, just pure alcohol – set alight and consumed through a straw. I’d downed many of them in the past but for some strange reason (I guess it’s always a little nerve-wracking lower your face toward a naked flame?) this time I knocked the glass over and as the alcohol soaked the bar-mat, the flame instantly blazed. The female bartender flew into a frenzy but I’ll never forget the tall blonde man calmly standing behind her, with his contemptuous expression, slowly shaking his head as he verbally abused me. I turned on my heel, dropped my head and exited the lounge as fast as I could. Gold, pure gold!] got home ’round 2:30 (well I did) And I bombed.

Saturday 9/1/88

… sleeping rather soundly till about 9.15… Mark rang. I hate talking to him on the phone: he sounds so bored. Told me what he was going to do & I said I’d ring him back later in the afternoon. Julia watched the cricket all day – Sri Lanka vs. N.Z. so I did too A Life in Words(still listening to Pet Shop Boys – Mark’s – tape) So many phonecalls to jo, especially late in the afternoon, early evening. Fi visited again this afternoon (did I say she was out last night too?. With Sue, of course) [a little possessive, green-eyed monster there?] Mark rang from Steven’s …were going to come to the party together.. I told him they were both welcome, if the need arose, to stay at my place. So I got ready & got to Jo’s (with our stereo) about 7.30. I was boiling hot. By 8.15 there were about 10 or so people there… more came slowly, informing us that most people were outside. Around 9.30, everyone was inside & there were MASSES of people.. it was so hot & cramped! Nicole & I were trying to find alcohol. (Mark & Steven still hadn’t turned up) We were going out with [privacy omission] to have some pot, when they arrived. I scared the daylights out of him (accidentally) when we came back (I didn’t get any, anyway) I talked briefly before going off to find drink again (he seemed bored with me) I came back, then left again. When I returned, Nicole was right in front of him. I pushed my way in… felt unwelcome, though (Nicole had moved away a little) so left again. When I returned, she was back again – I started to get very angry (upset) I cried to Fiona & Sue ..they went to get in her way (they were both quite drunk) I wanted to avoid him. I noticed the bitch was standing practically in between his legs. I was spewing with rage. Eventually he came up & said “can we talk?” In the kitchen he said “What’s happening? What’s with us?” We had a D+M. [Deep & Meaningful talk for those who’ve never heard the term before] it was BAD. He wanted to try & find out what our situation was (our relationship) He said there wasn’t much time before he left and he wanted to spend it all with me ..he didn’t want to lose me ..he didn’t want me to leave. He said a lot of guys are interested in me now & then he said how people had been saying who I’d been with (most of them were lies- Phil N. Phil C. Jeff M) I don’t know: we were talking about the past ..trust, lies, cheating & he wanted to know about the 3 guys (argumentative). [I’m not sure what I meant by ‘argumentative’ but the “3 guys” referred to the boys I’d ‘gotten with’ during his absence… the knowledge of which I had openly offered up days before, mind you…] He wanted, then, to know how far I’d gone – he said he’d never gone all the way… he asked me. I couldn’t lie [I’ve never been good at it]: it hurt so much to say the truth- then, he asked me who. Pause. “WHO?” “[privacy omission]” He couldn’t believe it. I tried to explain it wasn’t me- [that] I was drunk […literally legless…] (but he put it down to a ‘lame excuse’) […which it definitely wasn’t. For the full story – or, my experience at least – see this post] A Life in WordsEventually he slammed (punched) a cupboard door, said “God that makes me mad” & walked off. I burst out in tears. I tried to find Fi. Jo couldn’t understand. God it hurt so much. I wish like HELL it never happened . I hate [privacy omission] for it… I hate that night. Mark wouldn’t talk to me … I wouldn’t go near him anyway. Of course Nicole was stuck there like glue. I talked to [privacy omission]; she sympathized- hates Nicole too. I became v. moody & unsociable – the party had moved outside by then anyway. Mark, Steven & of course Nicole stayed (together) for ages …I wish they’d just left earlier. I eventually got Fi to talk to him.. she said he was very cut ..said it’d take time (& that hurts ’cause there’s not much at all) He couldn’t, just couldn’t believe it. I was positive it’d be over ..he’d hate me, never forgive me for it and it hurt so much. I was hurting so much: because of Nicole, because of that horrid argument & mostly because he loved me so much & I hurt him so much. [….by being honest? Yep, because the truth hurts…] I can understand him hating me for it […only because he didn’t believe I was as ‘innocent’ as I claimed …but since I was, his contempt would be unjust…] – I’ve hated him for his indiscretions and I’ve held it against him… [for my perception of his level of ‘participation’ in them…] he can hold it against me, [well, you can’t change anyone else’s mind, so I guess…] but I want him back I love him SO MUCH. God I love you … [Hm, I don’t think you do. I think you’re dependant and in love with the idea of Love; “dem rose-coloured glasses”…] I didn’t know it was, oh shit. You won’t accept anything I say in my defense. It’s my word against [privacy omission]‘s & you’ll stick with [him] cause he’s your [privacy omission] friend. [Finally my gut kicked in: I knew “how it was” and that I was fighting an uphill battle…] OH PLEASE have me back. I want you.

Sunday 10/1/88

… So when they left I totally ignored Nicole (even more) & she knew I hated her… talked to Megan & Jo about it …Jo & I lay down to watch Rage – I promised to wake her if she fell asleep, so we could sleep in proper beds (comfort) but we both fell asleep (unaware of time) & left the TV on all night. I remember Nigel putting a cushion under my head, I remember G-FORCE being on when I first stirred in the morning (& Jo got up) I remember coughing a lot & a german speaking show was on when I got up. We cleaned up – hosing, collecting trash etc (I still ignored Nicole as much as possible) then after a trip to the shop, had breakfast, talked, played CLEUDO, some TV (atari-type) games. A Life in Words[…the 80’s version of video gaming, for those too young to know – that’s a photo of an ’87 console to the right] Megan left. Nicole & I were left alone in the room & she asked me straight out if I was pissed off with her. I said YES. “Basically, I hate you talking to Mark.” We didn’t get to finish it, though. Mum wasn’t home, so I had to go to the shop with Jo .. it was so boring, we nearly (Jo did, out the back) fell asleep. I minded the shop ..looking across the road at a couple hugging and kissing… I got upset all over again (Tried ringing mum, all arvy, but still no answer) Eventually, got back to Jo’s & I rang the Fishers. . Fiona went across & got mum: she’d left ½ of the answering machine on, so that’s why I never go through. Came quickly & I told her the whole story (the truth about [privacy omission] included) [oh, I’d’ve thought I’d told her about that much sooner; I had no problem opening up to my mum] crying at most of it… then at home, crying more telling Julia (& alone in the shower) I’d like to send him some roses, but what to say on the card? I am so hurt, thinking about how he’d be feeling & thinking about how long it will be till (if he ever does) talk to me again. He CAN’T end it. I gave him a second chance, SURELY he can give me one. [I was so upset, so desperate, that I truly believed I was in the wrong. How sad. Young and naive…] GOD I LOVE HIM SO MUCH. Don’t lose me, Mark. You love me too much …”What is the truth? Love: the unselfish & forgiving kind.” A Life in Words[This (slightly misquoted) maxim from Linda Goodman’s book “Love Signs” had stuck with me because it was the conclusion to her section on our particular sun sign compatibilities: something I had obviously read a few times…] Well it’s almost 10.00. Thorn Birds is on TV. I want to watch it – hope I can sleep in a long time. I want him to call me. Oh please, call me soon Mark.

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Sexism, Competition, Jealousy & the Saints’ Bus (19-25 October)

Monday 19/10/87

What a day. Well it’s almost 11:30 & I must get to sleep. I need it for biol. exam tomorrow, which I should pass, luckily, but not do very well in. [Oh so you only need sleep for exams, not study as well?] I worked out I had 9hrs sleep during the whole weekend. Um-ah! [Yeah, you know it] I talked to Nicole today, as much as I didn’t want to, but it’s good that I did, ’cause I talked all about keith & his stupid phone call. [..and that’s good, how?] Glyn B. told me what I didn’t want to hear – that Mark went to Nicole: it wasn’t the other way round. He was on a geography excursion, but came for biol. & we good on pretty good. I missed Donna’s bus but luckily mum dropped me to her place. Nikki came over & took us to Earlville; the tutoring was good .. I understood a bit, but tonite’s study (myself) was O.K. too. My oral in english went so well! I only stuffed up really badly once & I was praised mostly. It was the first time in my life  I wasn’t nervous doing an oral. Funny! [Yes, that is. Like the majority of the population I fear speaking in front of a large group of people.] God, it’s getting hot so quickly. Jo was away today. [Privacy omission] said that they’re all out (all?) to root (use) [privacy omission], then piss her off. Meanies (but doesn’t bother me) A Life in Words[It’s not at all difficult to ascertain what was said here, despite the omissions: even if there was no truth behind it, the statement reflects the appalling chauvinist attitude of which many (a ‘faceless majority’ of) men seem to be guilty. The really sad part is my response: a very benign ‘disapproval’ (bordering on sarcastic) and worse, nonchalance – because it’s not directed personally at me. It actually demonstrates a general ‘acceptance’ that “it’s just the way it is”. I am so glad that, at this point in time, some of these sexist attitudes are finally being brought to light: A Life in Wordsthere’s currently more public conversation about women’s rights, ranging from the hideous issue of domestic violence, through to pay equality. It must continue so that today’s youth don’t adopt and/or learn to accept these dreadful attitudes.] Mark’d better step up his act. I must do heaps of work -am so behind & running very short of time. Got to write letters to DDIAE & QCWA about accomodation next year! [Applying for (mostly fine art) courses at tertiary institutions in South East Queensland, accommodation was obviously necessary. The Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education (DDIAE) in Toowoomba had resident accommodation while the A Life in WordsQCWA (Queensland Country Women’s Association) operated (and still does) a boarding house for students attending different institutions in Brisbane.]

Tuesday 20/10/87

I feel a terrible jealousy whenever I see Nicole within 10 metres of Mark. I’m sure she’s after him again, now that I’ve told her we’re not going out still-she’s always around, trying to talk to him. But he’s noticing me above her, I know. [You know? For sure?] He looks at me a fair bit. I think he’s falling in love with me all over again- a different, more loving & strong love. [Oh my god. How many surreal happy-ending Hollywood romances does it take to develop such an unrealistic attitude toward love and romance?] I don’t know! [Too right you don’t know!] Caught the bus & at school Cameron told us about Steven’s accident- last night on his way home From work a lady hit him – he’s got contusion of the lung, bruised kidneys, cracked ribs & leg broken in 3 places. A Life in WordsPoor guy – two crashes in one year. [He had been one of the ‘luckier’ passengers in our ill-fated bus crash earlier in the year, but this motorcycle accident tested his luck and most certainly left him in worse physical condition…] But there’ve been so many accidents this year. [I wonder what others I’m referring to?] Mima also told me the Perrems had left [town]. I got a bit upset for a few minutes. I wish they’d said goodbye. [I had it stuck in my head (for many years) that Monique’s parents – particularly her mother – didn’t want to see me because it was too painful for them: they only associated me with her. Her father as much as said so when he visited us some weeks after the accident. It’s in the opening lines of this post from March.] Biol exam was hard. I could pass, but I wouldn’t do well. Mark had lotsa trouble, too. Got so much work to do and I never seem to get around to it. [Even if you hadn’t suddenly become a party animal, you’re a born procrastinator Liss…] Jo was away again. I made a big calendar type thing, with all my due dates etc. [Hilarious. Spend your time drafting a schedule of due dates, instead of doing the actual work. But this does demonstrate my affinity for Structure & Organisation – if not Action…] Time is going very quickly. Ugh! Got my catalogue entries for [art] exhibition done. 3 paintings, my 3 drawings + 2 I want to do also + my bag. Fash. Parade – 2 outfits I have yet to make. Ugh!

Wednesday 21/10/85

Well, I was very mad today- I could’ve killed her, honestly. But I’m fine now (I guess it’s because I’m at home and I can’t see her near him.) He got a bit moody today it’s just the same – I should break away. It doesn’t bother me, that’s all. (that’s why, I mean) [Um, what? I’m reading this as “I don’t break away because his moodiness doesn’t bother me” …which is total bullshit. Because I’ve said as much – not to mention been quite upset by it – numerous times in the past. Perhaps I was trying to convince myself ‘otherwise’ …attempting positivity?] Boring day- didn’t see Steven. having his op. today. I’m sure Mark’s testing me deliberately. [Hmmm…] Well, I don’t care: I rang Sharon tonight & we’re going out Friday (’cause she’s going to that Mission Beach Party Weekend on Saturday night) and hopefully will get Stuart to come (and Nigel – get stoned instead of drunk) I’ll try to talk to Mark anyway & encourage him to come out ..I think I’ll need another talk to him this .weekend too. Getting to be a habit! (But it’s good – it should be a habit) [Mmmmm, really? Talking is a waste of time and energy if it leads nowhere…] A Life in WordsDid little chem. HW tonite – in town this arvy, Philip N YUM said hello to me – my name! WOW! But when I rang Jo, she said (I killed myself) that for the first time in 5 weeks, PHILLIP C caught the bus. AAAARGH! I could’ve killed myself for missing out on seeing him! [LOL. It’s so funny watching my attention swing from one guy to another. For someone with such emotional depth, it seems quite contradictory…]

Thursday 22/10/85

A Bad day, but great, too! It was really bad today- he was not talking to me at all. Things came to a head when I went to talk to him at big lunch- soon he walked away to Keith and Nicole and talked to them. In front of me. I walked out and couldn’t stop the flow [of tears]. Didn’t stop till before I went into art room. Then in art, I was in a really bad mood. My first public display of temper, EVER. [I’m not normally one to make a scene…] I swore, and had the sour-est face and wouldn’t talk to anyone practically. In english I thought & talked to Donna, then after school I talked [to him]. He was angry .. instead of being his doormat, I’d gone to the extreme, being a really nasty sarcastic bitch, [??] which really annoyed him. But he gave me a 2nd chance. [A second chance? At what? I can’t recall the exact circumstances but this seems …’irrelevant’ to me.] And I cried & laughed at the same time. [Quite a pertinent reaction to a …ridiculous scenario.] He said “you’re a funny girl” I hugged him. then again. (Nicole didn’t look too happy with me) He left And I caught the St’s bus with Jo – sat next to . . YES! PHILLIP C!! WOW! Yummy Yummy Yummy! [Clearly one may be attracted to numerous people simultaneously…] A Life in WordsI talked so much – In fact, he probably thinks I’m  a chatterbox. [One of my intrinsic nervous reactions …to avoid uncomfortable silences…] Oh dear! But God, he’s gorgeous! Tom Cruise- with blonde hair, blue-green eyes, square teeth & slim face. Well, I can see it. [If you are reading this Phil, and are offended by this comparison, I apologise profusely. For what it’s worth, many females (including me, obviously) thought Tom Cruise was a hottie …back in the day, at least.] YUM Late nite with Sharon. Mark & Cam were there, but didn’t see them.

Friday 23/10/87

An O.K. day at school. Didn’t really talk to Mark untill after school .. I came late this morning – during double english, went to art room (2nd period) and spent all time in there (getting very angry sometimes) [with my work, I assume] up till big lunch- talked with Glyn, Cameron, Brett, Vikki, Lisa, Jason- in Yr11 area – was good. Big thing about [privacy omission] being a slut .. rumours she screwed Mark (Found out that she screwed Steven, outside the Playpen the week before; first time) and she’s really angry with [privacy omission] – I don’t know! Talked after school & sat & waited till the Saints bus went past. Philip was on it again sitting by the window & we waved at each other! He is so gorgeous! I’m flipped out! [You don’t say?] Late home: (julia at Ms Forbes) Got ready & Sharon & I went to Playpen about 9:30 (got in sequills for free) [Sequills was the Playpen’s lounge bar and for awhile proved to be our cheapest and easiest way in, since it could be accessed not only from inside the nightclub but also via its own separate street entrance. With no cover charge (and more laid-back security) under-aged patrons like us were ‘blessed’. Of course, management eventually cottoned on…] Had a drink then left. At HOTH (the Hill) [you know how you start using acronyms when things become ‘regularities’…] found Nigel outside. A Life in WordsWe got stoned (my eyes were so red- I was really embarrassed) […first hint of paranoia…] Stuart came in later & I went outside again with Nigel. Found Stuart again & we got together.. [yeah again, this is just kissing, people…] I thought OK at the time, but some things that happened led me to believe I was the butt of a joke – that it was a dare. […hmmm, paranoia again, perhaps?] I really hurt him

Saturday 24/10/87

→when I finally said something. He went off & I found Sharon. She “revved” him about using me -then he wanted to talk to me. He was basically saying “I think I’m falling in love with you” It was no joke. I was so confused. [An easy state to experience while you’re stoned…] They gave us (me) a lift home. (Mikey & Praybon had been telling me he talks about me all the time at school- has depressions about me. I thought they were going a bit far) [Yeah, that does sound pretty dodgy…] I woke 7:45- Sharon came in 4:20, apparently. (20 minutes after me) she missed her bus, so we took her in, when we went in to get dress (artwork) material. Stuart rang when I got home. He said nothing about his words last night – a short phone call before he left for Mission Bch. A few phone calls: around 12:00, Mark rang & said he’d be around to take us (Fi&I) to Crystal’s. It was so nice. I tried my hardest not to be stupid, yet nasty. (Actually it wasn’t hard) [WTF? This doesn’t even make sense.] A Life in WordsA few affectionate seconds between us. After hamburgers, home! Slept (Mr B visited mum) Phone calls galore late in the day. Fi came & we left here at 6:40. David wasn’t ready …by the time we left there it was 7:10. Stopped in at W’s- got Sandra’s I.D. for Fiona ..Mark asking who was in the car (sus?) said he wasn’t going out. Got to odeon at 8:15 or 7:45?? […in other words, I have no idea when we got there…] Went to Esplanade instead. Then saw Jo at the Deb. Ball. Found Jude, CB & Nicole outside movies. Nicole & CB went to Playpen to wait for Cameron (& of course, I guessed, Mark) A Life in WordsJude, David, Jason, Fi & I went to Jason’s with a bottle of TiaMaria. Got very happy before going→

Sunday 25/10/87

to Croc. Rock. Mark was there. Cameron, CB & Nicole. Nicole was trying very hard – talking etc. Mark seemed nonchalant about me, and I was bubbling with rage inside. [Privacy omission] told me that when I told him (before) who was in the car: Fiona, Jason & David – he ‘froze up’ (got pissed off) and I think that’s why  he got with Nicole ..to piss me off. But I didn’t show it, one bit (To him, anyway)+Everyone I saw I told them I wanted to strangle her or rip her head off her shoulders. [Oh that’s nice. Not to mention classy.] I want him for me! [I want, I want… In the immortal words of Mick Jagger “you can’t always get what you want”] Geoff M & Dean L came – we all danced (Jude too) then Fi said they were going (by this time I’d had an explosion (cocktail) and was v. “gone”) [these flammable cocktails had by now become a ritual for me…] I scabbed money for taxi & stayed with Geoff & Dean. Geoff & I went outside and sat & then we talked a lot. I told him I liked Phillip N as well as C. (mistake!) [Yep, as mentioned in previous posts, me and alcohol = blabbermouth. My dad used to say “the drunken tongue speaks the sober mind” so why was it necessarily a mistake? Ain’t nothing wrong with being open and honest…or I’ve made a serious error in creating this blog…] We got a taxi home – him to Esplanade – (Phillip N’s house) & me, on to Freshy! Woke, really hot around 9:00. Wasted whole day-no HW done. Nigel & Sharon came around 3:00, got Jo & went to Crystals ..talked. what hurts is to think how he might’ve spent today with her, because CB & Cameron are together again (I think or I suppose) I thought maybe someone’d ring today. No one, apart from Jo. I need sleep. I need to do my english assignment. I’ve lost weight – 59kgs!! Am so tired. So bored. so confused, a little anxious & hurt. I need PHILLIP C. (Jo said at Croc Rock sat. nite she said hi to him for me & he said “A BIG hello” back! […hang on, YOU were at Crocodile Rock on Saturday night too… how did you miss him? It must’ve been a timing thing…]

A Gas Explosion, ASAT Rehearsals & Something is Up (17-23 August)

Monday 17/8/87

Had a really good sleep last night – long! I woke around 9:30 today. (and spent nearly all day in bed anyway). [Still ‘off sick’ from school?] Still didn’t do any of my english assignment ..nor any study for my biology exam. But I’m taking tomorrow off, too: Nana’s funeral is at 10:00 – then at home I’ll have to get myself into gear & really work. [Uh-huh…] I did feel much better today – the chest region is much less blocked & I’m coughing a lot less. I only feel “off-colour” now & then, esp. when I eat, although I do have some sort of appetite back (I’ve lost 2kgs since I got sick!) [Yep, reducing caloric inatke will usually do that…] still can’t believe Mark was “worried” about me. He said that Sunday (after the Smithfield formal party) he couldn’t play baseball, because he was sick with grief at the thought that I’d leave him when I heard about him & Angela. I’m extremely flattered (for once!) [Oh my god.] In a way, it worries me, though. I don’t know if he’s over it yet. [You’re misreading your gut instinct…] BIG gas explosion in town today near Mike’s work – we heard it here!! A Life in Words[Freshwater (where we lived) is approximately 10 kilometres from the explosion site and there’s a mountain range separating them so that’s pretty impressive. (…but what do I know about explosions?) It was the result of an LPG storage unit catching fire and killed one person, injuring twenty-seven. Here’s a link to a public government record of the incident. There’s not a great deal of detail, but the comments provide some perspectives.]

Tuesday 18/8/87

Am feeling much better today. Eating is a bit easier – don’t feel as ill when I eat (ate a lot today!) I still cough – but only ’cause’ of the chest phlem. [Yep, I spelled it wrong] Still, I get very tired. I had to rest a number of times today & actually had a sleep. Nana’s funeral was at 10:00. It was quite short & I didn’t cry. I can’t. Because I’m happier that she’s gone – she’s not in pain ..she’s with grandpa at last, too. [I’d never known my maternal grandfather – he’d passed away during my mother’s childhood.] It’s a little sad thinking about how she was, knowing I won’t see her again, but I’m just glad she’s resting in peace. I just wish she didn’t go out the way she did..that’s the sad part. [I’m not exactly sure what I meant there – whether it was referring to the ‘humiliation’ of being a morphine ‘vegetable’ or the rheumatoid arthritic disease experience as a whole. Either way, the attitude I’d developed towards death is obvious: not afraid of Death itself, but the way in which we meet it. A Life in WordsPrior to the bus accident, I’d always believed the only way to ‘go’ was to pass peacefully in your sleep (being unconscious of it). After the accident, experiencing firsthand the power of Shock; the body’s incredible hormonal response to immense trauma, to ‘thwart’ the conscious Mind, I’ve come to realise that the death experience can be – if not ‘peaceful’ – at least ‘tolerable’ in wider range of scenarios. Nana effectively died peacefully because the morphine interfered (greatly) with her consciousness.] Mark didn’t ring again tonight. I’m sure now something’s still up. I have a strong feeling he’s letting me go (cos he thinks I don’t love him.) He is all I think about! [That ‘strong feeling’? Listen to it.] All the aunts (Joy, Nancy & Ruth) + Cynthia & Dougie stayed all day. Hilary is going home tomorrow: stopping in Brisbane to scatter Nana’s ashes (hopefully with grandpa’s) Is 9:43. Take tomorrow off [school – that’s been quite awhile, now…] to study biol & do my eng. assign. (I’m still too tired in the day to go back) [oh I see…]

Wednesday 19/8/87

What a waste! I’ve written 2 sentences on my assignment & done no biol. study, watsoever! [Surprise, surprise!] A Life in WordsI read Julius Caesar today, but that was about all I did. I’m going to die tomorrow- I’ll be so behind- this weekend I’ll really have to knuckle down & work (HA, HA) [Even I don’t believe myself!] Mr. G will kill me. Oh dear; that’s all I can think about. Auntie Hilary left today (I ate so much today) was rather hot, too. Auntie Joy’s going tomorrow. It looks like we’re off to Brisbane for xmas!! (Great! Hope I can go while mark’s out of town) Wish Fi could come, or something. She’s having trouble with Jemima (it’s got to do a bit with me & everyone really) she’s just sick of all the Grade 12’s. – sitting with Yr 11 girls. Fi came round this arvy to talk – she got her lisense today! Still no call from Mark. Am hesitant about seeing him tomorrow. Will everything be O.K.?? Will have to get up early, I suppose, to do my english. Great. SO DAMNED BEHIND!

Thursday 20/8/87

Got over my assignment hassle O.K (didn’t get it finished – just talked my way out) But was supposed to have it done for tomorrow’s double lesson- & of course just like me, I didn’t bother to do any (any HW for that matter) of it. Will have to wake early tomorrow again to finish it Have only just under one page to write. Barely saw mima or fi for that matter but I know they weren’t together. Had ASAT [Australian Scholastic Aptitude Test] practise tests today. [These national exams are meant to determine each Australian students’ achievement at the completion of secondary schooling. Their applicability is becoming a societal discussion of late.] I only got 15 questions answered, but of those, I got 11 right! (Hope I can do as well, or better in the real ones) [Duh…] Read my ’83 & 84 diaries this arvy – so funny some of the things. [….try reading them in 28 years later!] 10:35 – yet another late nite. I told Jo about Adam M’s friend that likes me & she said “Philip N” I said “WHAT?” she said “He works with Philip..” my god that would be totally incredible. [Obviously I misheard Jo and got excited… a little crush, ya think?] Barely saw Mark at all – talked even less. I’m sure something’s still wrong. A Life in WordsGot Cabaret [Cairns High’s musical for the year] tickets- will pay Nigel tomorrow. Had to do thing about Monique for the Euroka this arvy- (Got photos of my leg too) Nigel read my eng. assign. on her & cried (I got 19/20 for it) [I don’t remember that… jeez, I wish I still had it… as well as all those photos of my leg…] am worried about Mark.

Friday 21/8/87

It’s 11:00. Can’t wait for tomorrow night! Got my english done (not before school as I’d planned, but during my english lesson. OK. finish, not great tho’.) Barely talked to Mark again… I’m positive something’s up: the same something as we talked about? I don’t know, but it gives me the shits. Tried to ring tonight (for once) but he was at Keith’s – too bad! I watched the movie & am now “dead”!! Tomorrow night’ll be ace! Cameron & I fighting in chem – he kicked me in the same place (left shin) 2 times- now I have a very sore lump (egg) [My shins have always been super-sensitive. I bruise really easily everywhere and often don’t know how I get a lot of them, but my shin bones… there’s NO way I’d be clueless about any damage sustained to them…] went into town with Jo & Fi after school …stayed in there for ages- Mr C dropped me home. Looking at all the great clothes (& shoes) in there (drool, drool) P.C.supp. (car) [← but I have absolutely NO idea what this cryptic wording means. I’m wondering if it’s related to the other Phil I had an interest in; Phil C.? Maybe I glimpsed him in a car? Pfft, who knows?] Bludge day, really. Pretty cool weather (about 27ºC) fine (sunny) I eat too much (fattening stuff) Must do lotsa HW tomorrow. Think I know who/that “guy” is. yukky Year 11 CAD guy. (I think that might be him cause I’ve noticed he’s nearly always around) YUKKY Mark, please get over this “phase”… it’s awkward for me. [LOL.] TIRED!

Saturday 22/8/87

A Life in WordsThe day at home was boring .. I listened to records/tapes while doing my art (weaving) – no HW (set HW) done Beautiful weather. . a little cloudy. Fi visited me late this arvy (Mark rang and it wasn’t a good phone call seemed so bored.. I felt really down after it) to borrow my black shirt. My hair was tied in rags [to create the messy wavy-crinkly look that was so hot back then!] (looked funny) Ran late of course: dinner at 7:15 – they came when I was just taking the rags out. CABARET was cool! Mark didn’t seem impressed. In fact he didn’t seem anything. I really don’t know what to do. Anyway I felt sick during last part (after interval) right up until 1:00 or so.. I lay in Fi’s car, then in Peter’s room. [There must have been an after-party…] I’m sure I was just sick from worry about Mark. [That’d be no surprise…] Jason got him to come in & we talked a little.. he thinks nothing’s happening.. so he left the room & I came out soon after .. just as well I did when I did because we left for the St. Monica’s party (Deena B) soon after (& Fiona was gone somewhere…

Sunday 23/8/87

→ I saw her ages later at the party. It was just as boring really. .had to pay for drinks etc (I couldn’t be bothered) I hung around Mark a lot in an attempt to change what has been happening all last week & the week before : that is: nothing. But I still got the feeling he didn’t want me near him. [What a waste of energy] I was especially upset when I showed him some affection & he totally ignored it. I left with Fi, very confused & slightly angry. – very hurt. Got home around 5:30, after hearing about Jo’s, Fi’s, Brendan L’s & Jason’s “problem” [??] wasted the whole day – weeping & thinking about mark. He rung in mid-afternoon. We had a very long D&M (deep & meaningful) was it meaningful? Um, yeah I guess. [….and? what? Clearly no resolution…] Tania visited just a few minutes ago (holidays from uni …didn’t know what to say) […well your sociability would have been compromised by your emotional state…] mark’s going through a “nonchalant” phase: not caring about anything. A Life in WordsI’ll just have to sit it out .. be patient as always. & hope it’ll pass soon. We talked a lot about breaking up & that worries me. [It must have been my tenacity, my resolve to not be ‘the ‘bad guy’ – the one to call it quits. I mean, it’s as obvious as a punch in the face that he wanted out, surely? I was clearly gullible, but not stupid.] NITE.

Performance Anxiety, Rum ‘n’ Coke & A Sore Bum (22-28 June)

Monday 22/6/87

Had sad dream about Monique last night -we were at the camp, ready to go home & I knew the crash was going to happen. I tried telling Monique she was going to die. Sharon & Julia (??!!) balling their eyes out (me too).A Life in Words [I think my bracketed punctuation refers to puzzlement about these two characters in the ‘geography’ of this dream… since neither of them attended the camp…] Monique did understand or believe what I was trying to say. […which could be a subconscious expression of my belief or ‘acceptance’ that it was ‘Her Time’ to ‘leave’?] God, it’s not fair. I got 66% for board art this semester. That’s all I need. Isn’t it bad enough I’m getting a very limited ach. for chem, a limited for maths.?? Now a ‘sound’ for Art – & I’m a fuckin’ CAD student. [For those who aren’t aware, CAD (Centre for Artistic Development) was (and still is) a ‘School of Excellence’ Fine Arts programme that commenced at Cairns High in 1986 …to which I applied at the recommendation of my previous high school art teacher and was accepted. It was the primary reason for my move to CHS. We did fourteen (40 minute) ‘periods’ per week, as opposed to the five per week for standard subjects so, with the dedication and prestige one could attribute to this, it’s understandable why I felt extremely disappointed in myself for failing to ‘excel’…] Today I dressed & spent the whole day in the dark room. Did about 20 prints altogether. Now have to choose which ones to hand in. Was O.K. myself. Ange & Michelle & Nev were in & out (+ their visitors) mum took me home. I rang Mark at 5:00. I rang Keith at 5:05 to ask if he’d take us to the drive in. [Wow, that’s kind of …rude. At least, I’m sure that mum would not have approved of that ‘impertinence’…] Mark didn’t ring me back, so I rang him at 6:00. A Life in WordsThey picked me up around 6:30. I had the distinct feeling all night that Mark was dis-interested in me. I have a horrible feeling deep inside [gut feeling?] that he wants to end it – that he doesn’t love me. I don’t know why – it’s just there & it frightens/sickens me. [Super strong gut feeling?] Saw Burglar with Club Paradise. Both funny! They came to our place & stayed till 12:30. Even though we kissed & mucked around normally, I have this horrible, horrible feeling there’s something wrong.

Tuesday 23/6/87

Well – a boring day at home. (Beautiful sunny weather!) I did a little study, but not enough. I spent most of the day worrying/working out my T.E. score – what I could possibly get. [For younger readers, the T.E. (“Tertiary Entrance”) score was our equivalent to your O.P. (“Overall Position”) …all University entrance determinants. The silly thing is, trying to ‘calculate’ it really is a waste of time…] I need to pull myself right up: 90% for eng. biol & art, and 60% at least for chem. & maths. Shit. I am in trouble & it’s hitting me now. So what chem I did do, I haven’t really learnt. And I’m so tired. It’s 9:45 now – if I study I’ll be up all night – dead for tomorrow. And I have to catch the bus; mum had a crash this arvy. Ran into the back of a QRX truck (her fault). A Life in WordsWhen I rang Mark tonite, he said he saw it. Terrible!! Rang Mima – they’re not sure if they’re [she & Fiona I’m guessing, are] going [to school]– but they think so. I frigging hope so. they’d better! I need to get a lift with them! Ow pain. [Pain? Why? ….random comment…] Well, guess I’d better get to & study a bit. Can’t wait for the holidays – free time! (Crash scrapbook to get finished + can try & sew for practise for next semester in art. Can’t wait!! I ♥ HOLIDAYS!) Woke up depressed (crying) about my art. Can’t believe it. 66% & I’m a CAD student. It’s terrible. Surely Ms Marsland would take it into account. It’s not fair

Wednesday 24/6/87

Yay, yay, yay! Exams are OVER! (But I’ll still have to get up early tomorrow, to do my school art folio – to be handed in before 9:00 tomorrow morning – DEEP SHIT!) I stayed up till 1:00 last night studying – knew I wouldn’t sleep if I didn’t try. Woke & had to catch the bus.. chem theory I failed, for sure, but (I’d expected it, anyway) I don’t think I failed absolutely miserably! Big long lunch hour .. then prac. exam. Was easy- did everything fine!! Went to town after school (mum’s got Mike’s – cousin – car (ute) to use – isn’t that nice of him?!) with mima, pol, fi, jude & peter (McM.) Caught bus home … got ready for dance around 7:30. Got there 8:00. Empty (practically) But it filled a little. By 9:00, I knew Mark was not just drinking (with Steve) .. they were at Michelle & Angie’s housewarming party. When they came . . he was only grumpy anyway cos he was so sick (drunk). Keith took him home (I went too) A Life in Words[This is a tad confusing because in just a few lines ahead I mention getting a lift home with someone else?] Otherwise, raged dancing! Had a ball. (Geoffry M is so yummy!!!) Waited till 11:50- Martin was drunk & we had an “adventurous” trip home. Well, its 12:25 – I’ll have to wake & rush to get my art done.

Thursday 25/6/87

Well, Mark came for biology & that was it. And in biol. he was punching or just “bashing” me. I took it as a joke, of course – I have to take everything as a joke now. [Really?] Left without saying bye. I’m sure he’s not interested in me anymore. It’s just like [privacy omission] last year- he was “keen” for so many days & then the slackening off Well, I know I shouldn’t feel this way, but I just have this horrible feeling. Something is WRONG. Nobody was at school (practically) I got 70% for biol, 43% maths, 78% art & (believe it or not) 80% for english (WOW!). [English turns out to be my best subject…] In art Ms. Marsland told me the teachers reconsidered & took into account my state of health (mentally & physically) & took me up 12% Great that’s fine. I need 90% next sem to get VHA overall for art. Cleaning room up in art. Bludge of a bore of a day. Got some material this arvy & made some black shorts (almost totally by myself!!) Also got vinyl for a satchel to make! Rang Fi, Cameron & Mark & Mima. Not going horse riding tomorrow now – mima can’t. Fi’s ringing me in the morning to see what we’ll do. Cameron told me they’re gonna try to play golf – if not; watch videos at Steven’s as they did today. 10:45. Another late nite

Friday 26/6/87

Woke 7:15 (shit! Had wanted to sleep in longer!) Rang Fi around 8:45. She said we couldn’t go with Jason. We went to town around 11:30 (Fi drove in – really good!) We opened an account for Martin, [um… how is it possible to open what I’m assuming is a bank account for another person? Oh the things you used to be able to do, back in the day!] then looked at clothes, shoes (all the normal stuff). Finally got a seat at Sidney’s Cafe – yummy lunch. Saw quite a few people (plenty!) that weren’t at school! (Glyn & his girlfriend Lisa, for eg.) Caught the 4:00 bus home. Rang Mark ..no, he rang me, around 6:30 (Mima came during it; see if I wanted to go to the Eisteddfod)(←no!)(←I didn’t go!) I kinda talked about my “neglected” feeling & we were talking. He sounded bored. I have no room- I’d like to write what I can remember he said. But anyway, he & Keith came & after a stay for a while, we went to drive in bottle shop (liquor barn) one bottle rum-5 litres coke . . to Keith’s brother’s place to video shop then back there. I got happy v. quickly – the “happiest” I’ve ever gotten before. A Life in WordsNear drunk, I’d say [LOL Liss, deluded! You were drunk!] But mate it was good! Watching videos-leaning back ..looking up at Mark. God it was great! Then after watching a bit of Rage after.. (4 good songs, believe it or not!) Keith’s brother & his girlfriend drove us to Keith’s .. his parents were away ..Mark & I had their bed. We did a fair bit of  talking (till about 3:30→)

Saturday 27/6/87

listening to 4CCR. Kissing as well. [still not what y’all think….!] But we talked a fair bit, about quite a lot . . he did get with Nicole – “just one kiss”. I didn’t get angry – I’m too soft. I should’ve. How could he? He said a lot about me going to be his wife – he’s never going to let me go. Somehow I don’t think he would stop me from leaving. Anyway, I woke around 7:00 – went to the loo (in the mirror I saw >gasp< a big hickie – to the right of my neck this time, but still big!) Mark woke around 10:30 (I’d gone back to sleep, too) We kissed >etc< [haha, STILL not what you’re thinking….!!] till about 12:30. He told me, when I asked if her remembered everything we talked about, “yes” and that he meant it. (He said “I mean it” twice – for me to get the picture). Anyway after breakfast (for lunch) they took me home. Had to go & see Nana. Back at home I rang mima… I got ready & rang Mark quickly .. Steve, Keith & Cameron were going to is place A Life in Words“BOYS NIGHT”. At Fi’s, I did my hair & we went to get 2 videos before running to the Odeon. Lethal Weapon was excellent (dramatic; suspense!) After walked around – to get money for tomorrow ..saw & talked to people ..then saw Keith & Mark & Steven & Cameron in Keith’s car …talked briefly CUTIE! Got to Fi’s by taxi .. too tired to watch the videos. . so cool, slept well. Cold, indeed!

Sunday 28/6/87

Woke around 8:30.. we watched one of the videos went to mima’s, then my place. Fi drove us to Palm Cove (around 11:00-11:30) We baked for only a short time, before pigging out at the shop. then we dressed & waited for Brent – he’d been there 10 mins & we hadn’t known! Went to the horse-place (!!!) I got a gentle, but stubborn horse. The ride was good! (¾hr long) OW! My bum is so sore! [I wouldn’t say I’m passionate about horse riding, but it’s an activity I would happily do again… even though I know I’d need up just as sore (if not more!) than I was after this…] We ate at a shop near Clifton, then dropped in  at Trinity Beach . . saw Mark, Keith & Jason (Mark & Jason only, really) play [baseball] ..God, Mark pitches a mean ball! A Life in WordsI’d hate to be the target of one of those! He didn’t talk to me much.. Keith & Jas. did. (He was just so caught up in the game, I guess.) We left (I didn’t get to say goodbye) Wasted the 2 hours till 6:00 Then had dinner, shower & rang Mark – tried to make it an interesting phone call, after what he’d said Friday nite (“that 1st phone call was so exciting.. now they seem routine- boring”) something like that Warm, but cool in shade day/ Getting cooler slowly & slowly..!! IS 9:55.. should’ve had an earlier night. Work (boring) tomorrow. YUKKY.

Clean Teeth, Therapy & the School’s Commemoration Service (6 February)

Friday 6/2/87

Have tried to get as much info as possible. It really was national news – I couldn’t believe it. Also partly international. We had group therapy today – talking about the accident There was me, Jason, Steven L, Ms Bowles, Ms DeJourdan, Mr Stopford, Yru, Fi, Jacki & Cameron and the social workers. Talking is to help us remember so we can cope. [The problem is, not enough of us were counselled, full stop. Only a handful of us (mostly injured victims) received any kind of psychological support, let alone being encouraged simply to talk, to each other or our families, anyone. Sadly, it’s just ‘the way it was’ back then; ‘Mental Health’ was a shameful, unsavoury topic. I am so, so relieved that society has embraced it in a positive light and it’s reassuring to know that had this happened in this day and age, counselling would be available to not just ALL Year 12 students, but the entire school community, at every other school in the region, and to the general public, for that matter.] A Life in WordsIt was extremely distressing. Oh I love Monique so much. They changed my knee dressing today .. that was painful. Although there weren’t too many visitors today, they stayed longer and helped me feel brighter. Mark’s coming out of ICU tomorrow. I gave him a note, a teddy & a red rose today (not directly, of course – I can’t have) I also had a sponge bath. And cleaned my teeth for the first time in 2½ days Slept soundly last night, but woke uncomfortable this morning because I could’t roll over. [I have always been a side-sleeper] I am so tired now. Jason & Yru went home. Cameron’s on his own (with an old man) next door. [I recall that scenario providing some cheer, thanks to his sarcastic sense of humour.] He’s expecting to go home on Saturday. I got lots more flowers today. Mima gave me a white Teddy Bear in a ballerina suit. It’s name is Monique. [In her previous life in Brisbane, Monique had practised ballet. That was another defining characteristic: she was our ballerina.] Sleep now.

[By the time I came to write about this day in the scrapbook (and incidentally, it’s the point at which I gave the project away) it was literally months after the accident, so my memory was not as clear and in some instances I virtually copied almost word-for-word from my diary:]

A Life in WordsWoke early because I was uncomfortable, not being able to turn over because of my right leg injury. Mum came for a little while, bringing the paper. . and also toothbrush & other toiletries that she had collected from Croswell Hall when she dropped Julia at school. [Clearly that was where the ‘remainder’ of our possessions were housed after retrieval from the crash site.] First ‘teeth wash’ for 2½ Days…

Tried to get as much information as I could… I couldn’t believe it was national (& even partly international) news. But I got a little more ‘personal info’ from 9:30 in the morning, just after mum left… we had group councelling session for an hour. Fiona Ms Bowles & Kay returned [to the hospital] for it & there was also Jacqie, Mr Stopford, Ms DeJourdan, Yru, Cameron, Jason & Steven L (& the 3 councellors) I found it distressing, in fact…cried a lot, especially at Mr Stopford’s & Jason’s recounts.. both of Monique. scrapbook Fri 6:2[I can’t recall much of what was said but I do know that Mr Stopford pulled Monique out from under the bus (she wasn’t pinned) and rested her against a tree; I can’t remember whether he’d had to try resuscitating her. One of them – I think it might have been Jason – mentioned something about her face being a bluish-grey colour. I’d guessed then, that she was the first pronounced dead.] Jason was next to me in his wheelchair holding my hand the whole time. General consensus was guilt that we survived… I couldn’t believe people were dead. After the councelling session and a bit of ‘informal mingling’ everyone left for the private memorial at Cairns High ([those] who could, that is) Yru and Jason were released from hospital so Cameron, Jacquie Ms DeJourdan Steven L & I couldn’t go. A Life in Words[There was no mention at all in my personal diary about the school memorial …did my inability to attend hurt so much that I deliberately omitted it? It doesn’t seem like something I would do…] Mum returned from doing some work and sat with me during it .. I was upset also because I had to miss it, but they promised to video it. In the meantime, I had the dressing on my left knee changed …it was quite painful as they had to remove the drain from the wound [it was not the ‘huge gash’ I’d earlier believed. The right leg injury however…] But the new bandage was much lighter and allowed more movement (not that I’d move much!) Petra and Julia came up after the memorial service ..bearing little gifts ..and stayed with me after mum left around noon. Julia gave me a little chocolate brown teddy which I named ‘Anton’ and Leanne J (her other friend) gave me a little snoopy dog. A little dolly off the flowers Dad and Jenny gave me, I called ‘Lisa’ (after Monique) [it was her middle name]

The Day After: Heartbreak (5 February)

Thursday 5/2/87

8 died. Monique has gone. Erica too, Mark F, Mandy G, Judy F, Jody & Lee-anne & Liz. 7 of them were sitting up the back [but notably, all 8 were sitting on the left hand side of the bus; that which would have borne the weight of bodies & debris thrown from the right-side side at the first moment the ground fell away beneath us]. I can’t believe Monique is gone. It’s unbelievable. I know she is, but I can’t comprehend it. Today was very busy. Heaps of people came. I have a big “hunk” out of my left knee, a small crack in my left femur and a huge gash in the back of my right thigh, where the bus was on me. […almost correct…] Mark is in intensive care. I hope he’s alright. I got a letter tonight – note he wrote before the camp. [privacy omission] I cried a fair bit today. Esp. when dad told me about monique. No one knew about her [in that, whenever I asked after her they all answered that they didn’t know, or hadn’t heard. I can’t imagine how hard that would have been for them: to lie to the face of someone to whom they knew the truth would cause so much pain].. didn’t tell me so I was kind of guessing.A Life in Words Rather late night. Food is disgusting. My head and arms are badly bruised. Cameron, Jason P, and Yru are next door [there was an adjoining ward to ours]. Fi (broken collarbone) Kay & Ms Bowles were released at different times today.

[There are 6 pages dedicated to this day in the scrapbook but they are mostly filled with clippings from a variety of newspapers; mostly from the local ‘Cairns Post’.]

Woken quite early to have blood pressure and temperature taken, then no one (except Fiona, of course) could get back to sleep, so we talked. I was quite determined to find out as much as I could…so asked lots of questions. I remember only Jacque, Ms. Bowles and Kay being interested in the conversation…however not seeming (Ms. Bowles, anyway) too happy to recall the events she remembered.  Jacque said she knew 3 of the dead, but refused to tell me when I asked at first. Eventually she told me Mark, Mandy and…Erica. A Life in WordsI said I knew Erica died (but I hadn’t really, had I?) When the papers arrived we realised exactly how major the event had been (we’d all missed the TV news the night before and had been wondering if it was ‘national’) The headlines greeted us:

“Cairns High camp ends in tragedy: 8 Die in Smash”

The Cairns Post reports virtually dominated the complete paper: front page headlines, continuing on pages 3 and 7.

The Sydney Morning Herald’s reports were very similar to some of the articles printed in the Cairns Post. [I knew nothing of media ownership (eg, Murdoch) back then.]A Life in Words

After breakfast, bedpans and bed washes, people began arriving: lots of people, mostly school friends, came throughout the day. The Brewers were one of the first to visit.  Mum had come, but left Julia [with me] when she had to do some business calls. Dad came.

I remember having asked Mrs Brewer about Monique, and she replied, “we haven’t heard” or “we don’t know”.

Strange: everyone seemed to have been saying that. I thought she was either so okay that she’d gone home straight away, or…but I didn’t think it was that.

I remember the nurses drawing the curtains around me, but, talking to Jemima (Mrs B, Polly & Julia standing nearby) I didn’t take much notice, or wonder why. [assuming more blood pressure tests or something of the like…] Apparently the whole ward was cleared of other visitors. [People have since confirmed this: all visitors were ushered out of the wards into the corridor, and it was jam-packed] I’ll never forget when my Dad came through the curtain: his eyes were quite moist. He said (and an eerie silence fell over the place) “They’ve released the names of the dead…”

I knew it…I had to accept what I had subconsciously known all along….what I hadn’t wanted to have to believe…

“Monique..”

I said it at the same time, my eyes brimming…

“was one of them.”

A Life in Words
Ink portraits of Monique traced from photos, in my scrapbook

The suspense was too much for Jemima, who broke out in (those, oh, so familiar) sobs, and I could sense every other person silently crying. I took a deep breath and wailed for the world to hear –

“MONIQUE, NOOOOOO, MONIQUE, MONIQUE…”

I don’t recall how long I cried for, but apparently, I was sedated and slept for quite some time…

[I have to admit I’m disappointed that my father assumed the role of informer before my mother had returned from her business calls. Knowing my mum, I’m certain she would have desperately wished to be by my side in that moment of need. It feels unfair to me, that the news was broken in her absence. In his defence however, he said he had consulted with the medical staff and it was jointly agreed that I needed to be informed sooner rather than later because of the sheer number of visitors: they expected someone would ‘let slip’ and they clearly wanted to ‘control’ the situation for everyone’s ‘psychological’ sake… the question is, can anyone ‘control’ anything??]

The rest of the day, after I woke, was a blur of people (SO many!) tears (over Monique) and flowers (the first of many I was to receive).

I had not yet a clear understanding of the injuries I’d sustained, thinking I had “a big hunk out of my left knee, a small crack in my left femur, and a huge gash in the back of my right thigh (where the bus was on me)” [clearly I pulled this directly from my diary] It was clear however, that my head and arms were badly bruised, and chest, hips and legs. [I have always bruised easily so this came as no surprise. I ended up with numerous contusions, the largest of which were in the soft flesh above my elbows. The haematoma on my left arm actually left a scar (another physical affliction to which I’m naturally pre-disposed) in the form of stretched and slight ‘greying’ of the skin.]

Fiona, Kay and Ms. Bowles were released at different times during the day…Fiona still oblivious to anything going on around her (still in shock).

In fact, I would have been in a deeper shock over Monique. The tears flowed nearly the whole day…and to any visitors I kept repeating and stressing how I needed friends now, because Monique was gone. They all nodded, eyes watery, in sympathy. [I had just lost the only real best friend I’d ever had. My very own best friend, who’d considered me hers too. It’s all I’d ever wanted, what I felt I’d lacked in my life to date. I was keenly aware that I was the ‘third wheel’ in the friendship trio with Jemima & Fiona, so Monique’s departure not only ripped open a gaping hole but infused it with past feelings of loneliness and alienation.]

Again, most visitors left after the close of visitors hours, including my mother and sister, who then went to visit Mr & Mrs P. [Monique’s parents] for an hour or so afterwards.

Doom’s Day (4 February)

Wednesday 4/2/87

A Life in Words
a candid shot during camp pack-up

[Since I typically make my diary entries at the end of each day, it stands to reason that the likelihood of that happening on this particular day is slim, even though the wording seems to suggest otherwise…]

TRAGEDY. After packing up etc this morning I took heaps of photos. Then we boarded buses. Erica, Monique, me, Fiona, mima Mark, Brent, Steven, Keith, Cameron, Chris, Glyn, Judy Jason P, Brett H, Becca G Michelle W. . . all on our bus. At first we had fun .. food fights too. Down the Gillies range I swapped places with Mark- he got the window seat – I snuggled back into his arms. Half Dozing (???) I felt us going really quickly around a corner, too fast .. I saw gravel and the bus rolled. I blacked out. When I woke Erica was on my left – head covered in blood; Jody K & Lee-anne W on my right and Mark underneath me, under a seat too. It was a nightmare. I couldn’t accept it as real, my right leg was jammed under the bus. After ages I was “pulled” out & soon taken by helicopter to hospital. The rest of the night & events are blurred. I went into theatre . . saw heaps of people .. Fiona, Kay H, Jacki W, Miss (MF) DeJourdan and Miss (R.) Bowles were in my ward. I was very tired.

A Life in Words[Make sure you’re comfortable: there are seven pages of the scrapbook dedicated to this one day, with as many details as I could recall…]

Yes, it really was the last day…time to leave. Absolute chaos trying to tidy up & pack up our belongings. Out came the cameras too…until now, we’d forgotten all about them. […that was something I later considered a prescient phenomena: how lucky were we to have remembered our cameras and gotten as many photos as we did, within just hours of the tragedy?] With the cameras came some candid shots, of course! A few misplaced items, but mainly the problem was fitting things back into bags and boxes. Most of us couldn’t wait to get home to get clean – shower, wash hair & clothes. A Life in WordsAfter taking down the tent (I’m sure we left some pegs or something behind) [ooh, Dad wouldn’t’ve been happy about that…] we lugged all the gear up to the covered area, where everyone else was, with theirs. Then, a barrage of photos taken as people stood around talking, fighting & mucking around until the buses arrived. When they did there was a mad rush to pack the buses and grab the best seats, but we were stopped by the teachers. We had to wait till they let us pack…then there was a longer wait til we were finally allowed on the buses. Only one bus was filled at a time: girls got on first…

A Life in Words
Waiting for the word. Our bus is on the left.

We chose the second bus because of its big sliding windows [better ventilation, for a cooler ride] (I also thought we’d have a better chance of getting good seats). Jemima was the first on, and I second. She sat in the second last seat on the driver’s side [what I call the ‘right side’ for future reference…] and I, after a quick decision, [aware that others were very likely queueing up the aisle behind me] slipped into the seat in front [of her], instead of the one opposite, where Monique and Fiona sat. [I have no doubt that the choice I made in this fleeting moment was pre-determined; not a (conscious) choice at all. I was destined to survive.]

The rest of the seats filled quickly: we saved seats for Erica, Monique, Mark and Brent.

A Life in Words
The last photo I took. Erica asleep, Judy’s legs beside her and Jody & Leeanne’s heads visible in front

We left second; the journey started great: we ate any leftovers we had (including Coco Pops and 100’s & 1000’s fights!) Elisia E. had a drink container of water [the contents of] which disappeared as it was passed around the whole bus.

Up a steep hill, the 3rd bus passed us, but we soon overtook it again, as it stopped for Alan D. (Who was sick).

Down the range, we began singing songs…Beatles songs mostly. Soon we all settled down, snoozing and talking quietly to each other. Mark compained about the heat, so we swapped places: he had the window seat. I leaned back against his chest…I don’t recall what time it was. I must have dozed off….

A Life in WordsThe first thing I remember just prior to the crash, was as we were just nearing the bend…I was looking across the aisle, over Jody & Leeanne’s heads, to the view, thinking “we’re going a bit fast”…then (it felt like) we took the corner really wide. [In fact we didn’t at all: the bus driver apparently sounded the horn – of which I have no recollection – as a warning to any oncoming traffic that he intended to – and did – actually cut the corner in his valid attempt to avert disaster.] I must have stood or leaned up because I remember seeing the gravel (the road shoulder) before the drop…then looking to the front of the bus, past the driver, to the bank on the other side of the road, thinking, “Come on bus driver, keep turning and we’ll stay on the road” (which was really wierd when you think about it, because I didn’t know what was happening: that is, that we were actually going to go off the cliff…maybe I subconsciously knew) [Yes, I would have, we all would have…]

I remember the front of the bus seemingly stopping, while the rear slid [out, sideways], and slid over the shoulder, the left side dragging the rest of the bus over. [Which makes sense considering that only the front brakes were operational: with no functioning rear brakes and the added weight of the undercarriage storage also located at the rear of the vehicle, there was no stopping the ‘tail-swing’.] The rest of this, the actual descent, seemed more dreamlike than the events prior to it…I remember pitch darkness…flashes of light (where perhaps windows were?) I couldn’t see anything besides that but I could hear metal crunching and glass breaking…and feeling, well, I was thrown once, twice, then I recall nothing: [I deduced later that the bus would have rolled one & a half times, because it came to rest upside down: that amounts to 6 ‘throws’ in total.] I must’ve been knocked out, but as I was rolling it felt [as if it were] in slow motion, bodies and things brushing past me, not roughly or painfully. It felt much like I was floating…doing flying somersaults.

When I came to it seemed very slowly: like the dream (nightmare) was continuing. […emerging from an inky abyss…] My body was in almost total darkness (I was under the bus) [the roof had sheared off as we rolled down the embankment and, since it ended up upside down, the bottom effectively became the ceiling] and I felt an incredible pressure upon my right leg.. I only remember thinking I was dreaming & telling myself to scream, because you have to TRY to scream in a nightmare, even though your screams are inaudible. There was a hole in the bottom of the bus [the ‘roof’] so I could see out, up a slope. [This confused me in the weeks & even months to come (until I was able to return to the site) because I couldn’t fathom why I could see trees still upright: if we had rolled down the hillside, wouldn’t we have taken out everything in our path? It turned out that the angle at which the bus came to rest in the gully was different to that at which we left the road, so I had a ‘room with a view’ of the untouched environment.] I remember screaming to get the “fucking bus off my leg” and yelling the names of people I saw walk past…some of whom told me to shut up. Slowly I realised it wasn’t a dream. I noted Erica’s head on my right, sticking partly out from under a seat, and I could only just see (from my trapped position) two bodies, whom I believed to be Jemima & Brent, at first, on my left: they were in fact Jody & Leeanne.

A Life in Words
The bus as it came to rest. Apologies for the quality of these photos: I took them from video footage stills

Astia held & stroked my left foot outside the bus and helpers tried to comfort me. There was a pair of legs sticking out from the far end of the seat on top of Erica & I finally realised they were Mark’s. I must have been out for a little while because all those people [teachers & students from the third bus] were there when I’d regained consciousness. [The third bus was apparently only minutes behind us, but long enough for some of the lesser injured to scramble back up the hideous slope and flag them down.] When Mark did, he frantically yelled at and abused me…to “get this fucking person off him” Of course I couldn’t & his anger at me distressed me more. [I had to assume it was Erica’s body, and knowing she was (therefore they both were) under the bus seat that I was also partly on top of, I tried my best to keep my bodyweight off it. Pinned as I was by my right leg, with the earth significantly dropping away into the base of the gully, I had to use my left arm to hold my bodyweight off the seat.] It seemed my mouth & my mind were two separate beings because, although I was yelling and screaming, I was thinking “don’t panic – they’re getting help – they’re doing all they can…” [the Mind versus the Witness?]

A Life in WordsMichelle W. was nearby, but I couldn’t see her…she touched my right leg and also tried to reassure me. [I have since discovered that one of the ambulance officers was periodically ‘manhandling’ my pinned leg for signs of response from me; because it was clamped so tightly but my femoral artery was still pumping blood into it, it had swollen to “twice the size” of my left leg, and I was in serious danger of losing the entire appendage if I lost sensation…] 

I was arguing with Mark…I tried to tell him I couldn’t move Erica because she was…unconscious.  But somehow I knew she was dead. There was fresh blood all through her beautiful blonde hair, and a pool of it in her ear (none on her face). [That still amazes me, to this day.] I heard Jody’s breathing, if that’s what you can call it: he was having tremendous difficulty: wheezing & choking [his lungs were punctured]…but I don’t actually remember hearing him stop.

I didn’t think of Monique, nor Jemima or Fiona. I was thrown into oblivion by the shock, I think. I thought only of my immediate surroundings and not even of what had actually occurred. [Talk about being ‘in the Now’…] I remember at one stage, reaching back to feel my right leg…drawing my hand back into view, I saw lots of blood and dirt and fragments of skin hanging off my fingers.  Mark’s left calf had a tear in it: a ‘hole’ and bright red flesh was hanging from that. Possibly the only reason I was not sick (physically) from the sight of all this gore, was the fact that I was in shock. [Absolutely.]

A Life in Words
An aerial view of the hairpin bend we failed to negotiate. You can just see the bus at the top of the picture

I remember, what seemed HOURS later, when they first attempted to lift the bus off my leg…there was a new sensation…painful only in the sense that it was uncomfortable: the rush of blood to supply the rest of my leg, or be released through my open wounds…but it was shortlived…the great tonne [or more?] of metal was again allowed to rest on my leg, as, I found out later, when the bus was first lifted with only one set of ‘Jaws of Life’, the weight was transferred to the other end of the bus and consequently put more pressure on a victim (Cameron) who was trapped by his chest.

So a second set was [finally] applied and the bus levered up evenly. Again, the horrible new sensation.

A man told me he was going to take some metal out of my leg, “Hold still and I’ll do it gently” But I couldn’t bear the thought of him slowly edging foreign material out of my leg, and so yelled “No! Just RIP it out!” [Actually, from memory it was more like “no, just fucking rip it out”] He must have, because I don’t remember the pain from that.

Possibly the most pain I experienced was when they dragged me out from under the bus…up onto a stretcher…I kept my eyes closed for most of that time. I remember chatting away, as they hoisted me off the ground and carried me (upside down – I remember – possibly to stem the flow of blood?) [or to keep the leg elevated, to drain some of the swelling & keep the blood in my torso, around my vital organs?] to the ‘top’.

A Life in Words
Anyone & everyone (who was able) helped SES workers in the rescue.

I was placed under a yellow tarpaulin…still talking to anyone who was there. [Clearly my automatic shock response defaults to Chatterbox.] They tried to put up another tarp adjoining the one I was just underneath and I remember it falling and me putting my hand up to stop it landing on my leg. [It was overcast but I believe there was minimal rainfall, so the rescue operation wasn’t hampered. Lucky us.]

I have no idea how long I waited up on the road, before I left by helicopter. [Days later, two of my friends said their watches had stopped at exactly 12:57pm, so we all assumed that that was the moment of ‘impact’ …and apparently it was pretty much spot on. As for how long I was trapped, then lying on the roadside before my transit to hospital I still have no idea, other than my sister guessing I arrived at Cairns Base around 4pm] Although, I remember seeing Kay standing up…looking at me and saying “You’ll be alright Elissa.” [God knows what her perception of my leg was. I cannot imagine what it must have looked like.]

When I was lifted and told I was going by helicopter (and wasn’t I lucky?) and to shut my eyes, they carried me past a familiar pair of legs sticking out of a familiar pair of shorts…I tried to reach down to him…”Mark! Mark?” But they moved [lifted] me higher up and away faster. From then I kept my eyes closed…it seemed a fairly long trek to the helicopter. [It would have to have been… I almost can’t picture where the chopper would have been able to land on the narrow mountain highway] Then I felt the overhead propellors and I was loaded inside the ‘copter.

I could see the [back of the] pilot’s head, a man sitting to my right (to whom I kept babbling on) and the perspex roof, through which light grey clouds and raindrops could be seen. [Hardly a memorable helicopter ride, when all you get to see is the sky above you.]

I remember borrowing the man’s handkerchief for some (unknown to me) reason and making sure that I returned it to him when we landed. [Courtesy instilled in me by my great parents.] I remember lots of people in white putting me on a trolley stretcher and wheeling me somewhere, [most likely from the Cairns Esplanade (the nearest open space suitable for a helicopter to land) which is fortunately just across the road from the Cairns Base Hospital] but I don’t remember actually entering the hospital.

I remember being wheeled past partitions in a room, wheeled into an end one: directly opposite a set of swinging doors, Just before I was put in there, I recall turning my head to the left and seeing someone, in the partition before mine, with a totally red face….blood-covered & bloodstained…at first I thought it was Brent but realised later it must have been Brett.

I was in that partitioned area for quite a short period of time…some doctor looking at my leg and asking my name, address, parents’ names and home phone number…then I was wheeled through the swinging doors into an unpartitioned room and placed quite nearby Sean D…who was sitting up, looking OK. Again the nurses asked personal details and, whether they gave me a ‘shot’ or not, I remember nothing else…but passing out.

A Life in Words
The shorts I was wearing were cut off me: I don’t know if the discoloured areas are old blood or faeces stains. I would have had no idea (nor care) obviously whether I’d soiled myself or not…

When I came to again, it was only extremely briefly and I felt extremely groggy…I was in a white room with lots of silver machinery [theatre] and they were putting a gown on me, and taking off my ring and earrings. Then I passed out again.

I came to in a corridor; I was being wheeled somewhere [probably to the ward]. As I was still under the effect of the anaesthetic, I was trying my hardest to keep my eyes open. I saw Julia, Mum (very concerned-looking) and Dad and Jenny, then I said “How’s Monique? What about Mark? How is everybody?” [but don’t recall any responses] I vaguely remember Mum nearly fainting and the nurses putting her on a trolley too. [My poor beautiful mother… I can’t imagine the stress she was under. She had had the utter misfortune earlier of sitting with two of the dead children’s mothers at the very moment they were called to be dealt their worst nightmares.]

The next and last thing I remember from that day was finding myself in my room in Ward C West (floor 3). There were lots of people, mostly visitors, milling around. I can only remember talking to Sharon and Harry B. I was unaware of any pain in my leg(s) or the catheter they had ‘implanted’. I didn’t even realise I had no underwear on. I was wearing a hospital nightie. I remember being quite ‘chirpy’ (obviously still in shock) and asking people questions. I had missed the news but heard that it was a ‘national disaster’. [Oddly, I must admit I felt a little ‘thrilled’ about the whole country knowing and talking about us. It goes to show just how powerful Ego can be. Shock can deny you the gravity of a situation but may have no effect on Ego.]

Although visiting hours officially ended at 8pm, I think the hospital staff had quite some difficulty in removing all the visitors (especially relatives) by 8:45pm.A Life in Words

I remember still wanting to talk when everyone had left: Jacque seemed the most willing, aside from Miss Bowles. Miss DeJourdan seemed very quiet and Kay appeared to do much more listening than talking. Fiona was quite absent from this world…it would take at least 3 calls of her name before she would turn to look at whomever was calling, then when asked a question, would either nod, or just look at you, not understanding or comprehending, even ignoring. She slept the most and longest out of the six of us. I wasn’t sure of my wounds, thinking I had a deep cut in the back of my right thigh, and a severe cut on my left knee. I don’t remember whether I was fed painkillers, but I fell asleep quite quickly and quite soundly.