Big Boobs, A Buried Hatchet & Relationship Chaos (18-24 January)

Monday 18/1/88

A Life in Words
Palm Cove, with its view of Double Island

Well I was only just awake when Sharon rang. I got up & she wanted me to ride over, then we’d ride to Palm Cove. So I got ready & was just about to leave when mum got the mail: my QTAC stuff arrived. I’d gotten into Gatton – only the B. Tourism, tho’ (like Mark) so I’ve put down that I’ll defer, but I’d still like my higher preferences to be considered. Anyway, the ride was extremely hot and hard, and I nearly stacked it near Smithfield Shopping Centre. So I “collapsed” at Sharon’s and (as she was at Smithfield) when she came back I refused to get on my bike again. So Mrs Weeks dropped us at the beach (Palm Cove) and we lay for only a few minutes, on the beach (it was very hot – mum told me later it was 35°C at 10.30 this morning) then to Ramada for a swim. We saw Juliet’s Dad – Mr. P & Sharon talked to him. It’s so beautiful, that pool, that whole resort! The pool was very cool and the spa, although warm (hot!) was very “theraputic”! After that we lay for awhile in the sun, before “exploring” the hotel and then going down to the shop to get lunch. Back at Ramada, we swam again then hopped in the spa (talking to some English tourists) -couldn’t get  a word in edgewise!) out again, we packed up & went to the shop for last snacks, then tried to ring Sharon’s parents. Her dad took us home. I rang mum, chucked the bike in the ‘back’ [of the car] and at home, read my Gatton info properly. Got ready & went to TAFE – what a let-down: they don’t have a receptionist course at all. Great; so I’m going to have to get an ordinary job for this year. Huh. Well Mark rang around 6:00, 6.30 – and said he’d try to come over. I cleaned out my top drawers and watched TV. He rang saying he’d be late: and he arrived after 9.00. It was boring (especially & ‘extremely’ for him) We watched the Thorn Birds .. that was it: did nothing else, though I tried (well not really) then he wanted to leave straight after. I tried to stop him from going: he was joking around & I just got all choked up & started crying. I don’t really know why – I guess it was because he’s going soon, and we don’t, I think, seem to be spending enough time together. He got out & hugged (& kissed me) And he promised to ring me tomorrow. I need a good sleep.

Tuesday 19/1/88

Woke quite early (that’s becoming an annoying habit lately) but slept in. Was surprised when Mark rang at 9.30 (I thought it’d be 10:00 at the very earliest) We didn’t really decide on anything to do, but he said he’d come over. I thought ½hr…but he rolled up a little later: and I mean rolled: on a bike (he rode here) A Life in WordsWe had a really good day surprisingly enough – water/hose fights … annoying & tickling while watching cricket: was really fun! And when he was going to go, he rang his mum (to pick up the bike) and asked if I could stay, so we mucked around till his dad came, then I hurriedly packed a bag (forgetting the bloody meds & pill) At Mark’s, we mucked around; didn’t really do much: did a lot of kissing, tho’…. most kissing we’ve ever done in one day …YUMMY! Watched cricket … exciting Aust. win! We went to bed at 10.00 or so, and well, talked & kissed till 12.30. Talked about us: not the ordinary relationship stuff, but the sexual side …communication! [privacy omission] I couldn’t believe that: I always thought they [my boobs] were average but he said he always thought they were big. He said [privacy omission] Anyway it was about 12.30, when I climbed back into my bed….

Wednesday 20/1/88

Woke early, around 7.30, again, but managed to doze awhile …Mark was very sleepy. He finally had to get up around 10.00 when Steven arrived. A Life in WordsI lay and listened to some tapes (he wouldn’t let me listen to the Hungry4Hits+1 [privacy omission]) then had a shower. After toast (& an uncomfortable ‘hello’ to Steven) [I’m not entirely sure why I felt uncomfortable? But then, I think he was someone I’d never truly felt comfortable around…] I watched TV, then because Mark wanted to go with Steven to Earlville, he drove me home [privacy omission] Said he’d ring me about what he’s doing tonight. So I unpacked & watched TV, and listened to music for most of the day. Theresa Lauren & Christie were at home when I got there (Julia was babysitting) Julia is being very badly affected by [privacy omission]: very cranky – snaps at you for no reason. Of course, I snap back because it annoys me. Fiona & Joannah (long lost friends!) rang me today. Fiona wanted to go out, and asked me to ring her back when I’d decided. Watching cricket, I fell asleep then Mark rang about 6.30 (earlier? Yeah, 5.30, sorry) and said he was going out, but to Scandals, instead. So I rang around to try to find out who else would be going out. It looked grim. But Fi said she’d come at 9.00. I got ready & we went & picked up Trevor, Matt & Steven G. Up there, Nigel was outside & Keith said they were being really strict on I.D. Fi & I waited awhile then she walked in with Willie & I on my own, totally ‘unhassled’. Was a bit empty inside I stood talking to Tania. Did a fair bit of dancing, before Mark turned up: I was by the airconditioner. with, get this: Nicole, Juliet & Jude, when he walked up & gave me some big passionate kisses… A Life in Wordsthey all walked off! Ha! I didn’t see him much; he got drunker & drunker & seemed to have less & less interest in me. Steven left, but Chris & Mark stayed. I was ‘lost’ … running around either Jude, Juliet, [privacy omission] or Megan. Fiona danced with Trevor nearly all night. Everytime I saw Mark he said he was going. Was he trying to get rid of me? Then this girl came up & dragged him to dance with ..ugh… Belinda K and he danced for ages then, he went to the toilet & I greeted him & we danced, found $2 & got a drink each. [Hmm, clearly still ‘Dollar Nights’ were still happening, not yet ‘illegal’…] [Privacy omission] also talked to me: He said sorry & I said “NO!” I was sorry for not talking last week. Anyhow – we buried the hatchet. Mark kept going to talk to Belinda & her friends. I was a bit hurt & annoyed – talked to Tania. Then he, Chris & Keith went outside. So, did it seem, did the whole of Smithy’s. Outside with Fi I saw [privacy omission] fighting someone, then further down the carpark – [privacy omission] they got into someone’s car & left. I felt so exhausted: bored, tired and annoyed, hurt & depressed about Mark. Finally Fi took me .. well, Matt first, then Trevor, but we had to go back to see if Steven G. was still there. He wasn’t & when Trev. got out again, I lay down & dozed off. Woke hearing [privacy omission] interrogating Fiona. I pretended to be asleep. Then, when she dropped me home – we talked. Then, I got into bed at 3.40.

Thursday 21/1/88

[Last night] I talked to heaps of people: Steven S, Stewart P, Richard O’S, Wayne C & Kel B, Tania (of course): people I wouldn’t (well except Tania, Kel & Wayne) normally talk to. Anyway, [today] I woke before 9.00 & couldn’t get back to sleep so did ‘nothing’ (listened to Bruce Springsteen) while waiting for Mark’s call. I was going to give him until 11.30 to ring & when he hadn’t, I tried – but the phone was engaged. I got through at 11.45 and he told me he was sore (ribs & ear) and that he went to Casualty at the hospital, last night, to check his wounds. A Life in WordsHe head-butted the guy, [privacy omission]. He thought he might’ve had cracked ribs so they went to hospital. I felt really sorry for him & said I’d be over ‘soon’. Got there during DAYS OF OUR LIVES, sometime and we just watched TV all night (I mean, afternoon) I went before he went to the dentist (or just as he was leaving) and he said he’d ring me when he got home. At home, I rang, who was it? CB & [privacy omission]! (I ‘christened’ their new phone) and talked for ages! Then Mark rang soon after & we decided I’d go to his place. On the way there I remembered I forgot meds, so we went to the shop… Julia saw Mark, so he saw us (he waved, she said) so we went back again (he saw us again, though) and got chocolate & lolly-gobble-bliss-bombs.A Life in Words Mark was waiting on the steps when I arrived and asked why we kept driving around. I produced the “goods” and he said silly girl! We watched TV all night (well, till after Moonlighting) when Mark wanted me to ask him Trivial Pursuit Q’s… but ended up watching Dallas, instead. Went to bed without kissing or talking (he didn’t seem to be talking to me)….

Friday 22/1/88

I remember waking briefly at 3.40am & wanting to wake Mark to wish him Happy Anniversary, but deciding against it. [Er, very good decision…] We woke quite early and the mucking around was a bit rougher. [privacy omission] I got a bit upset when he didn’t respond after that at all, & got up & walked out of the room. I heard him shower, then I got up, went to the loo & asked for a towel. I accidentally let Tippy [their dog] out and felt worse after that. I had a cry in the shower. Out, he was making breakfast & when he’d finished his, asked me if I wanted any. “NO.” I was watching TV. He sat down & mucked around with the Trivial Pursuit game, then asked if I’d like to play “Yeah”. So we did, and it was better after that. I asked for lunch, after Keith left [privacy omission]. Sandra made me a tunafish sandwich. I was shitty with Mark. [Here I have omitted details of his behaviour towards me]. So I did & it HURT. It hurt so much. I sat alone then Sandra & Mrs. W. went out. I watched cricket and cried. then I went in his room – [privacy omission] I asked what was wrong, why he was doing this to me – what did I do to deserve it? A Life in WordsHe said [privacy omission]. FUCK HIM. He got all shitty back last year when I joked about him leaving the hospital – he took that seriously – he overreacted and I wasn’t half as mean – [privacy omission]. He is a CONTRADICTORY PRICK. HE HURTS ME SO MUCH. I couldn’t believe this was happening. It was the first time he’d been like this since he’d been back – since we even broke up in September. WHY? I gathered I was suffocating him again … he was seeing too much of me. (We could never live together [well hello, glaring hint…] – it’d kill me – much as I’d’ve liked to) So I apologised, [WTF… why?] said I’d call him. [I’m not sure if you can fathom exactly how painful this is for me to witness and ‘re-live’: my blindness, weakness, (stupidity?) attachment (addiction) and tenacity is beyond mortifying. It’s glaringly obvious now how unhealthy the relationship was – for both of us – but it was an imperative life experience.] Mum came & I was only ‘silent’ at home for a little while. Rang Mima – she got back this morning! So mum dropped me round – I have no present for her yet, she didn’t give me anything, anyway. She (nor anyone) seemed not to have put on weight, [I obviously had it in my head that everyone who holidayed overseas should gain weight? I’d made similar comments about Mark upon his return as well…] though her face & hands were much paler. [Uh, der… Europe in Winter; not a lot of sunbaking going on…] She dropped me home after 6.00 & I rang CB. She wasn’t going out, was home on her own & asked if I’d like to come over. I said yes. There, around 8.00, we listened to music & talked & wrote in her Euroka [the Cairns High school magazine/yearbook], after I rang Mark. He seemed O.K. again… again we talked for awhile. I mentioned Cameron visited me, and he thought I meant at CB’s (Ha,ha!) No! Before I left for CB’s! (He’s going Thursday, to the Gold Coast)  A Life in WordsSo we got a delivery pizza & after 11.00, we watched RAGE although CB fell asleep.. I soon did too … kept dozing on & off (mostly off) At 2.30 I woke her (well she kinda woke at the same time I sat up) & we got ready for bed. Then she started talking again..

Saturday 23/1/88

We woke a little after 7.00. I rang mum at 7.35 (sat watching RAGE TOP 50, while CB got ready for work, before mum picked me up) At home, continued watching Rage & Jo rang during INXS “Need You Tonight” A Life in Wordsto say how stunningly similar Mark was to the drummer, Andrew Farriss; [we had previously noticed and marvelled at this apparent coincidence back in August 1987 (see here) whilst attending their ‘Kick’ concert at the showgrounds] we didn’t really have much else to say to each other, otherwise. Watched the last of it (Faith is no# 1 again – yay!) and spent the day listening to music, doing scrapbook but mostly NOTHING. Rang Fiona after 4.00- talked about Mark: then rang CB – she said she’d ring [privacy omission]. I rang Mark after 5.00 & he wasn’t extremely friendly. Said he’d watched videos today – went to Keith’s and they went to Nicole’s. [Privacy omission]. Then he refused my offer of the movies, saying he might go with Keith to the Drive-In. Didn’t invite me [privacy omission] BASTARD. I hung up & tried hardest to ring Fi (engaged for ages) Then I bauled on the phone. She says I should forget him: [privacy omission]. I rang [privacy omission] & she rang Nicole who told her she was going to the Drive In. Great. “Liar”, I thought. I rang him up, using the excuse that [privacy omission] was going to pick up the Trivial Pursuit. He wasn’t going. Oh. So I watched TV & eventually rang him again. This time he was going. HURT. Anyway, he said he’d ring me tomorrow. so we’ll wait & see if he remembers. It’s only 8.35 – there’s nothing on TV tonight – I’m alone. Seems everyone’s out – Mum & Julia at movies with Cynthia, mima, Fi & Sue, Brent etc at the movies, Mark at movies and CB, [privacy omission] etc at 21st party. So I’m going to have an early night – maybe wake later to watch some Rage (on my TV) [Wha…? ‘My’ TV? We must have bought our new little Sony telly so I inherited the old 1970’s Rank Arena set …that still required knob-tuning to change channels, volume, etc!] Mum just rang to say she’s coming soon. I’d like to be asleep by then. A Life in WordsPretty bloody horrible day today, but I might go to the beach tomorrow & definitely to Beach Party Nite at the Playpen at night. Oh, and Mark’s ringing …(?!?)

Sunday 24/1/88

Well, I woke around 8.30 and thought immediately of Mark (of course) Decided to wait to ring Fi and watched cricket, but 9.30 was too late as I found out: she’d just left for mima’s. I waited (must’ve been longer than I thought) to ring mima & there was no answer cricket was off due to rain. I rang again round lunch time, but still no answer. “Great”, I thought. So much for sympathy for Elissa. So I watched TV all day. (yeah, cricket came back on) & was just finishing writing to Gatton about deferment when Mike & Cynthia came. Luckily was not long till [privacy omission] & CB (& Pol & Peter) dropped by & said “we’re going to Crystals”. I grabbed a towel & with a short singlet dress & no shoes, felt like a big dag. Picked up Sharon, then at Crystals walked right up to near the top & eventually only stayed for about ½hr (it was cold). On way home, stopped in.. CB, [privacy omission] & Sharon looked at photo albums & school magazines & my scrapbook while (& after I’d finished) packing. Then we went to withdraw money for Sharon, but she’d left her cashcard at home, so [privacy omission] drew some of hers. FOOD from Kentucky Fried, then muck around back at [privacy omission]‘s. Tasha & Lisa C came up, as well as Matt & Trevor. I rang mum & found out Mark apparently said “Where is she?” and Julia said “I don’t know, but she won’t be coming home tonight.” So. What was I to do? I felt sick thinking about it – CB said yes, [privacy omission] said no – what should I do? I left it too late anyway: We were running late as it was. Got to Double Vision just before 9.00 – Megan was there, but not alone – with Ashley & ..Jo! Yay! But Ashley & Jo went home. At first, Sharon, CB & I went up, but CB & I were rejected. I produced false school I.D. & she just accepted it. CB luckily got in on a change of bouncers. then she & Sharon had a really ‘hot’ cocktail [called a ‘Zombie’ and “hot” in that it was – like the ‘Explosion’s we drank at the House on the Hill nightclub – consumed while alight] & were blown away. Guess who we saw? And who went up to talk to? A Life in Words(CB & Sharon) DANNY ROBERTS! From Sons & Daughters! – Andy Greene!! [Who? Until I found a photo (right) I was coming up blank…] But I stayed with [privacy omission] & Megan cos’ they weren’t ‘chasing’ him [I’ve always despised the ‘groupie’ thing; hanging around people for their fame seemed so shallow to me.] – I got bored instead because they were after this other guy. Remember Tyler N? He was there and god, is he hot?! YUMMY. When it ended (well, you should’ve seen the wet Tshirt competition- this horrid guy was standing near me coaxing me to go in it, saying, “you’ll make a killing. If you’ve got it, flaunt it.” Stupid shit.) [Creep.] We went to a 24hr & [privacy omission] stole 2 blocks of chocolate. I was smoking & spinning out!! CB & Matt (W) had a big chocolate fight & [privacy omission] was not impressed. We dropped Megan home and got ready for bed at [privacy omission]‘s. Then I was writing my diary when CB started reading it, cause she was trying to ignore [privacy omission] – it really scared us for awhile – he was scraping a rake against the windows, then hiding. It’s 2.00 and I’m finally finished! Yay! But I’m not even real tired. Guess I’ll have to ring Mark soon (tomorrow) Mph! God I hate Nicole! [Nah, you’re just intimidated by her.] I guess CB & I’ll be talking for awhile now…. G’nite!

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Kicking the Wall, Drunk at the Dance & Moonlighting (26 October-1 November)

Monday 26/10/87

Well, that was one hard exam (3 actually: 15 min english, then 20min math, then 1¾hr fashion design/knowledge exam. HARD!!!) Jo & I then went into town, spent the whole arvy there and at 3:15 caught town bus [back] to school… went [home] on St’s bus ..no Philip C. Geoff was on it- I said hello & goodbye: thought “what if he thought I caught the bus to see him!” [You’ll never know, huh?] SKINT – [privacy omission] reckon’s he’s vain enough (to think it) Jemima & Anna & Danae knew about Geoff & me: gave me a bit about it: if all the Yr11 girls know -Jenny’ll find out for sure, GREAT. [Uh huh. I wasn’t sure whether we had kissed outside the club on Saturday night (see previous blogpost) because I hadn’t specifically mentioned it, but this makes it pretty clear. Jenny must have been his girlfriend? My bad.] Cameron came over this arvy- said he’s not going out with CB, Mima said Mark only talked to Nicole after school; Fiona didn’t see them at all, same as Cameron. I found out Chris likes me (Cameron said it then made it a joke – but I know he meant it cause he asked me what I thought..) Apparently that night Mark & Nicole went for a swim at Edge Hill State School Pool while Cameron & CB occupied a free house there. Cameron thinks [privacy omission]– but he wouldn’t know for sure.

A Life in Words
Unless my memory has failed me, this used to be the Park Royal hotel, on Abbott Street. It’s now known as the Pullman Cairns International.

So hot today! Got quite a few compliments today! Jo & I got 13 whistles, 2 catcalls as we walked past the Park Royale today!! [Wow, to be so excited by sexist heckling? I’m thinking the Park Royal – one of the first 5 star high-rise hotels in the CBD – was under construction at this point in tme… because I can’t imagine hotel staff or guests gesturing to two schoolgirls in this way…] Dad wasn’t there [at his workplace] when I went to get money so I didn’t get any. I could easily slip into the habit of missing school. 2day was fun! [hmmm, such rebelliousness…]

Tuesday 27/10/87

We got on so well today. I felt a little sick (jealousy) only once (or twice) when Nicole was around. Mark & her have hickies on their necks. Mark got embarrassed.. I kept poking them, so they stay longer. (Why the hell would I do that?) [Because you were enjoying his discomfort. It was a minor yet satisfying form of ‘retribution’…] Joking a lot – getting on so well! He said & did some affectionate things. Gave me songwords- to do with him being faithful? I don’t think he knows about Jeffry or even Stuart. (But nothing’s come of those …yet – Stuart.) A Life in WordsHad a modelling practise [for our CAD art fashion parade] today at lunch time. And Mrs McI visited this arvy. Didn’t see Phillip on the bus: (didn’t catch it ’cause had to take paintings to get stretchers) Saw Jeff tho. God he’s got beautiful eyes. when will I give Stuart his tie back? [LOL, that’s right! This was the fashion era of skinny ties for the blokes. Hilarious!] God I hope Phillip goes to the exhib. opening! [Within a matter of seconds I’d had three separate thoughts about three different guys. Distracted much?] Tonite I cut out the pattern pieces for my silver dress & sewed the lining to each. (took all nite) At one stage I got so angry, I kicked the wall (bathroom – outside) & the plasterboard broke – there’s a hole there now. Mum got so upset – I felt really bad. [I remember this vividly. Mum had pretty much always reacted to my temper so well (even though it had concerned her enough in my youth to warrant visiting a specialist and having an EEG to check my brain function…) but this straw broke the camel’s back: because the house we lived in was unfinished, the very last thing she needed was yet another expense to add to the list of unaffordable jobs. As I’ve said before, we were not financially comfortable. Mum worked tirelessly not just to support the three of us, but to build a home, and I was totally taking her for granted. As much as it pains me knowing I upset her, I’m thankful that mum reacted as she did, and forced me into a momentary ‘awakening’: surpassing my Ego to expose some Compassion.] SO HOT! A Life in WordsI am so behind. english ass., art ass.’s, study + revision, letters to write concerning unis & colleges .. I need more time & money . . . [First World problems. Seriously.]

Wednesday 28/10/87

The radio just said it’s 12:06. I have had such an unreal time! I am still drunk, excuse my expressions! Today was really good. Started off by seeing Stuart, although he didn’t look at me, as he talked (riding to school with jay) God, I could love Him! [Um, sorry, what? You “could love” someone who won’t look you in the eye when he’s talking to you? Elissa, come on. You are, however, writing this in a highly intoxicated state, so your comprehension is definitely compromised…] But Mark & I got on excellently. He hung around Nicole a bit, but he gave me a note tonite (“Mark loves Elissa 4eva”. WOW! I am so drunk. I got barely anywork done- I don’t feel like sleeping -just dreaming. Jeffrey was there tonite- don’t think he likes me much. [But that’s okay because I have so many other ‘distractions’…] I asked David to make Phillip come to the art exhibition. I went to Croc Rock with A. Marie, Megan Sharon (slept in the car) & Chris H. I am so drunk – I must ring Stuart in the morning- he rang me tonite. oh I could love that guy but I want Phillip too. I am so confused at the moment I need to sleep. I’ve had such a GREAT Day! (NigHt actually) A Life in Words[I’m fairly certain this was the one and only school dance I went to intoxicated. I have a vivid recollection of sharing a bottle of Stone’s Green Ginger wine (which I hated, but drank purely for the effects) with a couple of girlfriends on the Esplanade before heading to the dance at school. This is the only fragment of memory – I don’t recall getting to the dance at all…]

Thursday 29/10/87

It’s 11:12. I’m so tired, but I haven’t got even half of this assignment done I should get it finished, tho. (How?) I’ll have tomorrow’s lesson to write it out.) I’m so HOT. I had a good day. I rang Stewart [decided to spell his name differently today?] this morning – he said he’d just rung to talk. (I said I thought it was urgent – bad) & he said “the opposite actually. He drove me to school [oh again! That’s so cool…] we get on so well- so easy to talk. He said sorry he hadn’t rung earlier in the week – he’d been doing a lot of thinking. Now, what am I going to do? I’ve told him to come to the art exhib. open. (can’t wait! There are going to be tonnes of people there! I can’t wait!) left school at big lunch (got material finished printed in art) A Life in WordsBludged at home (should’ve started this damn assignment then) Only started after “MOONLIGHTING” [I loved this show. And it launched Bruce Willis’s career.] 9:30 Shit Thank god mum’s got a book on British History! [Yes kids, we had to use actual books for all our research in the 80’s…] so tired. so hot. I heard mice or rats running on the roof just a sec. ago. [We’d had a pretty gnarly experience earlier in the year (see this post) with the discovery of a dead rodent in a bagful of clothes, so I would’ve been a bit perturbed by the idea of these creatures infesting our house again…] I think I’ll go to bed & wake & finish this in the morning. I want to go out tomorrow nite – so bad! (Get Stewart to) Got on really well with Mark – I have to talk to him soon to find out what’s going on – I think he likes Nicole – I must make him “choose”. [LOL. So very naive…]

Friday 30/10/87

Boring. That’s all that can be said. Got to school rather late: Joannah wasn’t there: I went to the library for only 3 minutes! Did a fair bit in double english, but needed to do more work on the assignment – in art – 3rd, little lunch, 4 & 5th lessons! At big lunch Mark seemed in an untalkative mood. Then Nicole came up (Glyn first actually) & he was fine. He sat on the stone “bench” with his legs apart & she leant on the ledge in between them. when mum picked me up, I just about balled my eyes out. Then we had a 1½hr wait at the hospital, […for what?] before finally leaving to pick up Jules & buy some stuff for the exhib Back at clinic at 3:40, & got in to the doctor at 4:30. [hospital? clinic? doctor? What? Please explain! …I literally have no recollection of this.] Home rather late …few phone calls. Sharon & I went to Playpen (free) [free entry] Jo & Mark [B.] were there (Stewart worked tonite) Sharon & I left. House On the Hill was nearly just as dead. Sharon was drunk & cranky. Nigel took us home. [This next sentence proves I had actually written this entry the next day …which often happened when I had big nights out.] I bombed out & felt very, very tired in the morning. [ [“Very, very tired” on Saturday morning, when I woke up…]

A Life in WordsSaturday 31/10/87

Got up & went to finish buying exhib. stuff – I was so tired. At home, worked very slowly on outfits. [Sewing my creations for the fashion parade at the CAD art exhibition] Sat alone while mum & Julia were at Mike & Cynthia’s thinking about Mark & Stewart & Philip -getting all (very) pessimistic. Jo & Nigel came round & stayed a while – I was boring them. When they left mum & jules came home. I started to get really depressed so I rang Mark. I didn’t want to talk on the phone – he couldn’t get to my place I asked what he did last nite – said visited Steven & he & Cam. went to Deanne’s for pizza. When I rang cameron after, he said they went to Nicole’s. He said Mark does like Nicole (A bit more than a friend) so I only just got off the phone before balling my eyes out. Fi rang & I rang Jude. Picked Jude up about 8:15. Got to the Aboriginal party (Mooroobool) [Irene Street, for those who remember. I think it was literally at Kangaroos Leagues (football) Club…?] & heaps of people, but the party was DEAD. Mark, Nicole, Cameron & CB all arrived together in a taxi, so that really dulled my nite to start with. On the lookout for Stewart, but he never showed

Sunday 1/11/87

→Mark had to come up to me first. I was kind of pissed off or upset – I wasn’t going to talk first. Then, I kind of walked off.. he came up a second time, but I did it again. Then he seemed to be angry with me. He was kind of resisting Nicole must’ve said something cos’ she stayed out of his way a lot. Wonder if he was depressed about me? (Don’t flatter yourself Elissa) Brett took Jude & I to the Hill, Mark was in the car -left Nicole at the party. (That’s not nice, Marky) Wonder what he did after that? HOTH was DEAD too. I had the worst weekend – no one, no body, nothing- just wasted money. I talked to Dean L in Victor’s car (drank goon) a while before getting a cab home. Made myself sick, [as in, vomitted] then bombed. At school, I touched up paintings while Jude mounted her work. A Life in WordsJo came late: Jo, Megan, Jude & I went to Kentucky 4 lunch ..fash. parade practise for Jo at It’s Williams (boring). Our practise at school was FUN! After, mum took Jo & Jude here [to our house] too.. they watched TV while I sewed. I did a lot tonite – shoes done, bracelet done. Brown outfit almost totally complete. It’s really late now- & I’m tired. BUSY day 2morrow!!

More Trauma, More Surgery, More Drugs… (23 February-1 March)

Monday 23/2/87

Shit. I slept well last night…ready to finally go home..had shower, then the nurse took off my dressing for the doctors. They came, Talked. Then looked. MY STITCHES BURST, I HAVE TO HAVE A SKIN GRAFT ON WEDNESDAY. [In other words, I had to go under the knife again: to have the procedure I was meant to have in the first place. Not just insensitive & arrogant, but also incompetent surgeons?] I couldn’t stop crying when they left – mum & Kerri the social worker were with me. A Life in WordsI didn’t realise just how much I was looking forward to going home, till I couldn’t. Bastard. Bitch. I hate my leg… I’m going to have the biggest scars & a totally deformed thigh. it’s not fair. I’ll miss out on the carnival.. wednesday night. I hate my leg, I hate that bus, I hate life. Everything’s going wrong – my health, my “love-life” (Mark), my schoolwork. [Because I was so distraught about ‘everything’ by the end of the day, I failed to mention the tortuous consequence of the failed surgery; the removal of the stitches. It was horrendous, quite possibly the most physically painful experience in my life to date. At least I was in shock whilst pinned under the bus. I was given no local anaesthetic, no heavy-duty painkillers… just a couple of pills (‘digesics’) before the nurse began tugging (albeit as gently as possible) at the sutures stuck in the raw flesh around the entire circumference of the hole in my leg. You have NO idea…] I had a few visitors ..Justine & Angela & their mums, Yru & Mr Gordon & Dad came. [Dad] Got back from Adelaide today. God, I’m hot. And pissed off & depressed. Oh life’s a shit, a bitch. Imagine my scars .. to think I would’ve liked to do modelling [I’m not sure that I had ever really desired that myself: I think this was more of a notion inserted into my consciousness by others…] Everybody’s telling me it mightn’t (most likely it won’t) be bad… [being optimistic for me] They’ll disappear/fade with time. But I haven’t got lots of that. [? What did I mean by this?] It’s not fair. And Mark…that’s not fair, either.. we need to get on better.. I want to walk & go out …SHIT I’ll be here at least another week, I’ll bet. Not fair.

Tuesday 24/2/87

I was thrown into depression again, today. After showering I went with Kerri down to her office We had a talk about the crash etc. Fiona & her mum were waiting for me outside ..walked back to my bed.. A Life in Wordsmum came with the letter from Mark. It said “goodbye” & envelope contained the necklace which he “washed”. [Thanks for the ‘double whammy’, Universe. Talk about Murphy’s Law…] He was really angry about me sending him away. I got rather upset. Fi read it … I wrote a note for her to give to him & the photo of us… I was so upset. The rest of the day went slowly. I watched TV but wasn’t ‘there’. This arvy Miss Stephenson & Mrs Connors came & talked. Mark came up, while they were here. I had a heart attack – honestly, I thought you could see my chest pounding. When they left, we (or I) talked (mostly) He’s coming back tomorrow. We have quite a bit of sorting out to do. He can’t understand that I “don’t trust him”- ANYBODY. I’ve got to explain, but I’m afraid he won’t understand & will say goodbye for good. [Actually, I’m not even sure now what my reasoning was…] Had lots of visitors tonight. Is 9:30. Big day tomorrow – skin graft. Huh. Great. And bloody carnival I’ll miss out on.

Wednesday 25/2/87

A Life in Words
I’ve no idea why I decided I needed to keep this bottle of ‘Hibiclens’ pre-op soap…

I am rather ‘happy’ compared to yesterday & Monday. I slept badly last night – I mean, I couldn’t get to sleep to start with. This morning I had my pre-op soap shower & put on my lingerie (ha, ha!) (op. costume) about 10:00 I think, they started wheeling me away – but I stopped them: I wanted my pre-op needle!! [Junkie!] I got it. Waited less time this time, outside. [By now an old-hat with the pre-op experience, I had decided it was time to try to fight the grogginess and remember everything I could.  The wardsmen had stationed me right beside a tropical fish tank in the surgical waiting area and with my head lolling to the left for better focus on the aquatic life, I remember thinking “gotta count the fish”. Did I remember how many there were? LOL] At 10:55 they knocked me out totally. I remember being put back into bed.. When I woke, Mark was here, with Jules, Leanne (J) & mum. We talked well. He came up during lunch. .spent rest of the arvy with me. said he’s coming tomorrow too! YAHOO! He left me a letter, you see, telling me just how much he loves me. It is a gorgeous letter. Few more visitors today. (Jaque & Trina!!) BLOODY SWIMMING CARNIVAL on TONIGHT I’M MISSING IT. SHIT. NOT FAIR. I’ll be laid up in bed for “about 5 days”. Great. Huh. Little hot. I come out of anaesthetics pretty well, pretty quickly. [Like I said, I was a professional by now…] Am feeling slightly more confident about my scars now. Have a feeling I’ll get rid of them rather quickly! [Hmmm, seems I still didn’t understand the extent of my injury?] Hope so. Damn missing the carnival. Damn. G’night!

Thursday 26/2/87

Mark didn’t come up today. But I wrote a letter for him this morning. Numbness of my leg wore off at 2:00 this morning – I woke – my leg was ‘burning’ – stinging so much it felt on fire. I got a needle & my leg hasn’t hurt too much since. I wrote a letter to Roger [my cousin]. Got a letter from Lucy- she’s coming up at Easter. Nothing much happened … Keith came up! So did some others – mima – told me about some notes [privacy omission] had written in [privacy omission]‘s biology book – something like “I heard Elissa & Mark have broken up- I feel guilty but I’m so happy.” Ha, ha! He loves me! She’s skint! I gave Julia my letter to give to him tomorrow. I wish he’d come up today. I might be out Monday according to the doctors & “how I feel” A Life in Wordsso hot ..have to have washes in bed ..no more showers – & bloody bedpans – I did a poop tonight – hate doing ’em in bedpans. SKINT [privacy omission]! mark – I love you!! Conversation mostly about carnival- I missed one hell of a night DAMMIT!!

Friday 27/2/87

He came this afternoon ..no kisses, but holding hands.. yum, yum, yum ..I’m in love! Julia said she gave the letter to Lynette C to give to him & Sharon told me he got it. (Mima, fi, justine, megan, sharon came at lunchtime) I did a little bit of work today, listened to music, watched TV … all the same boring stuff. Oh, he’s coming tomorrow, too. Can’t wait till I’m out of here. Longing. A longing to be with him as much as possible. My leg’s annoying. Needed a needle last night again . . woke 1st – got digesics (??) [oral painkillers] 2nd time given the needle. Wowee! Police Academy’s on TV now UNREAL!! ♥ Mark. Trina visited. I’m getting used to the food – I eat most of it now that’s how long I’ve been in hospital. Oh dear. All I can think about is Mark. I’ll bet he liked the letter. I hope. YUMMY – hot afternoon. Pain-in-the-arse leg. Oh, I wish time would fly. Am sleeping badly. Lucy’s coming for Easter hol’s – so are Jodie & Michael & A. Hilary & Delanie should have moved back up here my then too! WOW!

Saturday 28/2/87

mark spent about 3½-4 hrs with me this arvy- left at 5:30. (Although Andrew J & Martin J interrupted for about ½ hr – I think I gave them the hint … I didn’t know what to talk about – so didn’t say much… Mark mucked around with the stuff on my bedside table!) [How completely uncomfortable, but inexcusably rude. I am retrospectively embarrassed.] It was funny… affection now & then, (no kisses, though … not even goodbye) but mostly “buddies” …Crabby came up tonight and, believe it or not, Marney & Nola R! But I kept talking to Wayne I don’t believe how well we get on! He gave me a goodbye kiss, cos it’d be the last time I see him for a long time. They’re leaving for their leadership camp tomorrow afternoon. I want to go home Monday, for sure. I want to get better really quickly so I can walk & dance, at least. Even if it’s a limp. I want to go out & get with Mark; something I haven’t down for nearly a month now. I think, in a strange, twisted sort of) way, this crash has made me more “well known”….people being more friendly ..and perhaps (guys) noticing me. But I’m for Mark. I know how [privacy omission] feels now .. heaps of guys you’d love to flirt with, get with for a night – but the one guy you love and want forever. No one will ever replace mark. I wish we could have a future together – I mean life-long, you know. But it won’t happen … I’m sure. [A fairly safe prediction, that one: teenage romances burgeoning into lifelong partnerships are as rare as hens’ teeth] HOT again. Can’t wait to have a proper shower again!

A Life in WordsThe diary I used in 1987 was a generic one (not specific to the year) so it had a page for 29 February (perchance the owner happened to use it in one of those). Since ’87 wasn’t a leap year, I had extra space to write for Saturday… but underneath this very important notation:

Sunday 1/3/87

He didn’t come up today. In fact, besides Justin, Mr McKenzie & his family and  (of course) mum & jules, no one did. Boring! I watched TV, read magazines .. that’s about it. God, I hope this is my last night here. I really don’t think I could stand much longer – one more night. NO! I need to get out ..get better quickly.. I’m dying to go out & do things again. I wonder when I’ll see Mark again . . . would he come to our house? I wonder! Talked about the crash with Justin- I’d love to find out what happened- when. Wouldn’t it be great if we could put back the hands of time. But, no, I shouldn’t think that. What’s done, is done. [Nice little hint of Wisdom there] I hope it doesn’t hurt me to walk on crutches again… I want to be able to do it so I can get out. God, I want to go. I’m still in a bit of pain… but not near as bad as thursday  I still need tablets (digesics) but I can roll over at night again. I’m looking forward to a shower again, too (wash my hair!)

 

Surgery, Seat Belts & the Birth of my Spiritual Belief System (16-22 February)

Monday 16/2/87

Feeling still very depressed. The doctors caught up with me today. (Dining room for breakfast & lunch. were late for brekky …squashy next to 2 black guys ..PAINFUL) [I’m quite certain this was a statement of discomfort rather than racist ‘slur’, for those who may be wondering…] After my shower they came back. Wasn’t too painful… they took out the drains. Redressed  my leg after a while. 2 dressings a day now… this arvy, mima was with me. Fi came in, too. Mark didn’t come today- I knew he wouldn’t. Probably won’t tomorrow, too. But he should come before 3 weeks. See, I’m going to surgery (skin graft for the big hole, stitch up the little hole) on Wed, then I’ll be in about a week after that. Then Drs say I have to spend at least 2 weeks at home. No I won’t. [Um, if the doctors say so…] I’m missing too much schoolwork. & friends. Dad told me yesterday: Jenny & him are getting married in May. I was shocked, but hid the surprise good as possible. Jacque visited. A Life in WordsBoring, depressed.. my  leg feels like no progress still hurts as much to stand now as it did when I first did – I’m not getting used to the blood rushing down, thru’ the sore. Painful, still. Tania gave me a big photo frame with photo of me, moni, fi, sharon &  mima taken end of last year, It’s beautiful. Monique is beautiful. ♥ her 4eva.

Tuesday 17/2/87

I went to the Valentine’s Dance! On crutches!! Tania drove me. I’d had painkillers – walking, sitting etc was a breeze!! [I found another notation elsewhere that also mentioned I got in for free!] Felt so good today… I mean tonight … walking, etc.. I’ve improved heaps – can lift my leg straight, in the air. Just finished dressing …did it when I came back.. (while after) about 9:00. surgery tomorrow. very few visitors. Oh, I’m tired. Sleep well. Ha! Mark wasn’t there tonight, but he’s going to the swim. carnival tomorrow – I won’t be allowed. Have to stay flat in bed for 3 days…will be murder getting on crutches again. The “report” on the bus accident on the Today Show was disappointing. Not much about the actual crash.

A Life in Words
How would seat belts have saved lives in this wreckage?

[Of course by this time there were preliminary investigations under way but very little had been published, since a formal inquiry was to be held at a future date. Naturally there was media & public speculation about the cause of the accident and associated discussions about prevention. The most prevalent opinion was that wearing seat belts would have saved lives. Absolute RUBBISH. One look at the bus wreckage should be totally explanatory. Interestingly enough, there was an article in the Cairns Post on this topic (not however in the manner of my specific argument) on Friday 20 (see below). I’m not against seat belts at all (if it’s even possible – per the article) but if WE had been strapped into our seats when that bus roof sheared off & seats were ripped from their places, the death toll would’ve been much higher…] Oh, I’m upset..Tania said to me tonight – talking to [privacy omission] he said something about Mark wanting to _ _ _ _ me She said they were pretty close… I’m upset; is that all Mark wants?? [Well, he’s a teenaged boy…?] I like him so much.. so very much… Oh, I’m so worried. . . . Too bad if I forgot anything – I’m so tired. Night. . . painful leg – skin graft oooh It’s 10:30

Wednesday 18/2/87

I was late – I mean THEY were [for surgery]. I was s’posed to go in at 8:00, but I got my pre-op(eration) needle at 8:30, and was taken up awhile after that. A Life in WordsI waited for ages, up there, dozing & finally around 10:00 I think I was rolled in & soon after, given the “knock-out” needle. When I woke, drowsy, really drowsy I was in heaps of pain. Finally got back down here around 11:45. Crying & whinging in pain. [I don’t seem to have diarised anything about this but sometimes the nurses would administer needles for pain relief, rather than just oral pills. I can’t recall the name of the drug, but I do remember asking for it on a few occasions. I can imagine this would be one of the moments they would not have denied me.] It soon settled. Spent the rest of the day lazing . . dozed a little around 5:00. Mark came up today – but to see Trina he reckoned. I think he’s shitty with me. (Oh, my leg’s so itchy) Doctor told me I didn’t have a skin graft after all – GREAT, HUH?! The flesh repairing was so elastic they could just stitch it up!! No major scars! Great! [Oh how the tables turned in just a few days’ time…and months later I begged my mother to try to recall whether she had signed any consent forms that specifically outlined the surgeons’ original intentions…] No major visitors (‘cept Mark) …I mean very few but the ones who came were nice. A case of quality, not quantity. [Of course ALL of my visitors were ‘nice’!] Another school kid’s bus crash in N.Z. about 5 people killed… not nearly as badly smashed as our bus, was their’s. [Competitive? Sheesh. Trying to source information about this accident was almost as difficult as it is to find information about ours on the net. This article celebrates the growth & success of one of the survivors of the Woodford House girl’s school bus accident which killed two students, two teachers & the driver. The victim doesn’t recall anything of the accident, waking up with  permanent paraplegia two weeks later in hospital.] It’s just after 9:00. I may be going home soon. Keep thinking about mark.. he wouldn’t be after “one thing”.. he writes too much caring stuff. He doesn’t intend to ever hurt me

A Life in Words
Before I was “reduced to square one -again”

Thursday 19/2/87

A “down’ Day, definitely: few visitors, pain in my leg. Hurts to walk: put it this way…I can’t anymore… I can’t straighten my leg and find it easier to ‘hop’ on my left leg, keeping the right foot totally off the ground. But tonight, after doing my teeth I kept up [stayed up] & went for exercise walk …keeping foot on floor, stretching & bending knee as much as possible. [In hindsight, this makes me cringe.] mima, Fi, Brent, Jason came up at lunchtime – Mark was at school. . he didn’t come up here. I think I should’ve written a note for mim to give to him for me. Of course I care that he doesn’t visit me… I care a lot. Am getting anxious… hope Trish doesn’t get hooks into him. (Tania visited this morning…had to work rest of the day.. BOOHOO! She’s leaving tomorrow-MISS HER! Hope I can get out to see her off – have a prezzy for her silver bracelet (sterling.)) My leg- how can it be – I walk fine Tues. & after an operation am reduced to square one -again: A veggie? Is 9:30. Try to get to sleep. Ate little (cos too lazy to go to dining room for meals – too sore.)

Friday 20/2/87

* Another down day. Still painful…worse to walk. Trina left this arvy, around 2:00 I think. This morning, the doctors came- but not all of them… thanks to the charge sister, Lisa, they decided to take my dressing off  On the way, he [one of them?] called me a sook. Bastard. It stuck a bit & it hurts so much. [I still cannot grasp the insensitivity of these medical ‘professionals’…] So, after, I waited about ½hr before someone redressed it, then, too late to have a shower, I dressed & mum took me to see Tania off. No tears shed. But I’ll miss her. Another friend gone. [Developing a life ‘theme’?] Showered after I got back (had lunch – a pie – got some food) Few visitors .. Mrs McI gave me a beautiful book (for end of 9 yrs of speech-huh? That’s not right…yep! it is!) Mr Paddy & Yru (came seperately, but) talked in depth about the crash..esp. Mr Paddy …he helped me understand/accept death etc .. It’s still scary to me…but I’m sure it’s  a big step to recovery of shock. [I’d never had anything to do with Mr ‘Paddy’ (I got his surname wrong) since he was a Music teacher, but this conversation had an incredibly massive impact upon me. I believe it was the catalyst for the development of my entire spiritual belief system, for life. All he did was offer his ideas about ‘what happens’ after we ‘pass over’ but it put me at ease by intimating that death is not ‘The End’. So I came to believe in reincarnation or at least, endurance of Spirit. One particular suggestion he made actually came to pass just a few months later; it was an indisputable experience and perhaps this is what irrevocably cemented my belief, and therefore eternal gratitude, love & respect for him.] Mark didn’t come. I’m really worried. [Privacy omission] mentioned something about sex today, too… it would absolutely break me if that’s all he wanted – I know it’s not ..I think …some little doubt in side …well, my mind’s made up.. he’s not going to get it, ever . . till I’m ready -and that’ll be ages. [He] told me he did to [privacy omission]..didnt really surprise me much 8:55

A Life in Words
In case you’re unable to decipher the fine print, the article basically discusses the impracticality of seat belt installation from an engineering point of view. While there is no reference to our bus’s detached roof, the displaced seats are mentioned.

Saturday 21/2/87

They told me I could go home today. But I didn’t. I wanted to stay in til Monday. Everyone probably thinks I’m crazy- I s’pose I am – but I’m smart; I’ll stay in just to be sure -no infections. [If there was ever a point in my life up till then that I should have respected myself for heeding my ‘Gut’, this was it…] And besides; my visitors have to be told!! [oh you Social Butterfly you!] On Monday I’d also like to see the physio & drs before I go They took out the drain this morning- my leg’s quite a bit better! Walking a bit easier!! Except for Mark’s visit, today was an “up” day.. he came – we got on alright…but he left the same way he did the  last 2 times..without saying goodbye…just walking off in a shit..I’d said something about him being mean to me [and then] “well you can leave” … [so he answered] “alright I will” ..he walked off & didn’t come back. That upset me. I really am worried about if he does like me. (God it’s hot.) he’s so moody; impatient I can’t understand him. We really need a good talk.. it’ll be a long time though.. you can’t really talk well in a hospital..or even at school. Oh, I’ve a headache… feel hot..feel terrible. Can’t sleep very well. Quite a few visitors..very lazy day.     Oh . . . I fell terrible. Must try to sleep.

Sunday 22/2/87

What a waste of a day. Here I was thinking I’d get hoardes of visitors:- mum, the McKenzies (principal), Justin F & Wayne C. That’s it. Leg’s O.K. I get pain “jabs” – throbbing now & then…but noticed walking is getting a bit better. Totally boring day… so sleepy, but couldn’t sleep. Thinking about mark…. I thought maybe that I’d changed & he’d changed (y’know – from the crash’n’everything) and we just don’t “click” anymore. Oh I wish everything was “normal” again.  home tomorrow – I have mixed feelings about that, too. . . good cos’ I’ll get work done (less visitors) & be able to exercise my leg – go for walks (crutches!) BUT – I’m apprehensive – haven’t been home since before the camp – before the crash that’s 3 weeks exactly…the memories – it’s going to be different – “overwhelming” is the word I think of. [Wow, well said.] Oh dear… Hot (-ish) today. Didn’t see Jules. Mike B went to see her this arvy, mum said. Wo, Jules!! ♥ mark – u poop! DAMN YOU

Her Funeral, the Public Memorial & Raw Meat Pie (9-15 February)

Monday 9/2/87

Mark saw me 2 times today!! Came up in his wheelchair! He was chirpier and only stayed little whiles. I was shitty in the morning – woken early again cos I couldn’t roll over – so bad – makes me restless so I’m still tired & cranky. A shower and I still felt bad – exhausted. But I put lotsa pressure on my left leg – put all my weight on it (nearly) GREAT! (But dad reminded me tonight about the crack in my femur – don’t wanna make that worse.) [In the long term this injury amounted to nothing: at some stage I recall a doctor saying they weren’t even certain it existed: the crack was so fine that it could have simply been a scratch on the X-ray itself] They also dressed my right leg (the deep puncture) today – Tania C (who was here all day – 10am to 8pm!!) and my fav. nurse Alison “comforted” me but I made heaps of noises – it was bad. [I’ve already ascertained that my vocal chords are not inhibited in times of Stress…] My leg was put on an electric exerciser – it was great – bending & moving my right leg!! I was wary at first. God changing the dressing was hell-ful. I also did my first shit in one week or ≈8/9 days. [Ok, for new readers, I need to explain: my family – dad in particular – was not very inhibited with regard to discussing bodily functions. To the point that (perennial comedian he is) he coined a phrase for the phenomenon: the “Coxen Bowel Fetish”. If you care to better understand this unique family trait, there’s a fuller explanation in this post from my 1984 archives] Quite a few visitors perked me up. We watched video of Friday’s school memorial & tree planting. Sound was terrible couldn’t hear anything. Cried anyway. [Naturally] Mark got his tube out of his lung. Am tired now – hoping I can roll over tonight. Glad Mark visited me “a lot”. I really do think he likes me a lot – that letter says it all & so has he. It’s about […and then I forgot to fill in the time..]

A Life in Words
Goodbye my beautiful friend x

Tuesday 10/2/87

I went to Monique’s funeral by car around 2:30 I thought it’d “do the job” – but I still don’t think I’ve cried enough. I realised I lost a true friend – a person I met & related with so soon, but trusted quickly & forever. She lives in my heart & mind. I need her to live with me. I met Kerri; saw Mr & Mrs P. I cry when I see them & Camille & Kerri. [I think this was the last time I would see Monique’s mother for a very long time. Apparently she refused to see me because it was too painful, because it was always with Monique. Of course this upset me, but how could I fail to understand that?] Kerri & her mum came to the hospital tonight. She doesn’t say much. [Kerri was Monique’s ‘previous’ best friend in Brisbane. With hindsight I now understand she may not have “said much” because she too would have been in shock and grieving…] I felt really cranky after the funeral – my leg was sore. people all looking at me [I’m hardly an exhibitionist, but I can tolerate a certain amount of attention. Things mustn’t be ‘rosy’ if I am shunning the ‘spotlight’…] – went home in a stretcher in an ambulance. Rolled over (partly) last night! But woken early by nurses anyway 6:00. ooooh! Bumsore! Legsore! Change of dressing was bad again today. I hate it so much. [I still hadn’t the courage to look at the wound: I have always found that one method of tolerating (physical) pain is to not look at what’s causing it. For example, I still can’t watch the needle piercing my dermis in the act of blood giving, for example…] Tanya (C.) & Alison “helped” me again, tho’ I bit Tanya’s back today. Umah. [Clearly it’s not just my vocal chords that respond to stress: so do my jaw muscles…] Funny – having Tanya in all day. (And yesterday) She’s good company. [She really was one of my Saviours] Mark came up little while once. Tonight for longer … gave him kiss (little) worried – Jaque & Michael B both say Tricia spends 2hrs a day with him. I must trust him. Exerciser again – bending knee higher. memorial service tomorrow. Will it do the final job of recovering me? Will it get me out of shock? [Oh the naivety… if only it was as easy as ‘flicking a switch’…] must be with mark 4 it. about 9:00

A Life in Words
The Civic Memorial at St Monica’s Cathedral spilled out into the street

Wednesday 11/2/87

A Life in Words
A photographer captures my feeling during the civic memorial

packed day. Slept badly again-rolling a little isn’t enough … I went for a shower (reluctantly almost) and stood on my left leg to do so (I went to the ladies for the 1st time – out of a wheelchair – on a seat for the bath.) Then after using the loo- yes, proper loo! for a shit, yes, poo! (Talked to Trina – both of us for 10mins!) Ambulance men came. Mum hadn’t come with my uniform so Jaque let me wear hers. I felt terrible at first. I was smiling & waving at people [well… you were free of your hospital room for the first time in 6 days, and since visitor numbers had declined, seeing familiar faces after ‘so long’ would have been quite refreshing] & couldn’t cry – but later, during the eulogies, it all came out. Monique was my 1st best friend in about 6yrs [I can’t think whom I supposed my previous best friend was… six years earlier I would’ve been in Year 5 or 6 at primary school] – I think my first true one [indisputable]. I love her & I’m gonna miss her so much – not gonna be there (physically) anymore, when I need her… left in tears (news crews there – I was on the news – Mark too & others) They made me get on crutches – walk today. It hurt so much…even more (?? not sure) than dressing the wound ..I screamed but it was better today than “ever”. [“Dressing the wound” was a tad more complex than you might think. Still unable to bring myself to look at it, all I knew at this stage was that they had to ‘pack’ the wound daily with saline-soaked cottonwool, around the two plastic ‘drains’ that were buried in there. That may begin to give you an idea of the extent of the injury…] Lotsa Smithfield people came becca p, Karen & toni & Jo B – gave me a record voucher & chocolates. [Yes, black vinyl. We still had record players in the late 80’s, although cassettes were more predominantly used (in our walkmans, right?) CD’s were pretty much unheard of’.] Isn’t that great? Um, saw mark little – another kiss. He’s going tomorrow. hope he sees me at school lunchtimes. I wonder if Tricia kisses him when she sees him. Bitch – spending too much time with him. [The Green Monster] Hope nothing happens back at school. OH WOE!!

Thursday 12/2/87

I nearly fainted on the crutches this arvy – I decided to try and walk to the loo – but the pain in my leg – the blood rushing to my wound my feet – by my wound – made me light-headed weak, dizzy. After drinking water – I was wheeled to the loo. SHit. I’ve been eating choc-coated peanuts they made me shit 2 times more this arvy. [I can’t decide whether the ‘SHit’ was an expletive because I failed to get to the bathroom on my own & had to be wheeled in, or whether it was an introduction to the statement detailing my bowel movements…] After loo, I went to see Mark – talked & mucked around. He went home. (after long (??) time) But he has to come here 10pm – stay the night so they can check his leg in the morning. Hope he visits me. Said he’s going to movies tomorrow night – & it only just occurred to me: with whom? TRICIA? NO! He CAN’T. WOULDN’T. COULDN’T. might? Oh dear; I hope he visits me lots. I’ll miss him – I already do. Doctors undressed my leg today so I had no painkillers WHATSOEVER. I let out a scream & one doctor revved me. [I was immediately stunned into silence; why did the doctor snap at me? How could he be so heartless? So rough, insensitive & unsympathetic? Aren’t all medical professionals meant to be caring? I was a kid for chrissakes, with a hole in my leg …to which the dressings stuck fast every day. Was I not entitled to react to Pain? I literally dreaded the doctors’ rounds thereafter, and even tried to arrange bathroom sojourns in order to evade them. This experience may also possibly underlie my partial aversion to the clinical medical industry…] I saw the wound – unpacked. Yukky. [That’s a bit of an understatement. A Life in WordsThe only way I have been able to describe it to people is in this light: imagine you took the pastry top off a meat pie, and discovered not only that it was uncooked (red-raw) inside, but that there were also two bits of plastic tubing staring out at you. That was what my right inner thigh (about 10cms above my knee) looked like. It’s a real shame we never managed to take any photos of it.] Then waited ages till the nurses brought the stuff – to repack themselves I was much better today I think. Took stitches out of my [left] knee. God I wish my muscles would work themselves. [That’s what every lazy person wishes with regard to physical activity!] It’s 9:00. I need an early night. So I can hack walking or even standing tomorrow. I hate it. HURTS SO BAD. ♥ u mark!

Friday 13/2/87

My bruising appears to be going down – it’s fading.. I got on crutches lots today… walkies!! and I didn’t scream or even yell when my dressing was done! (I had the Finnish sister – she’s really gentle – doesn’t rip off stuff that’s stuck to the wound- soaks it in NaCl+H2O [saline solution] and gently prys apart.) But the best bit was… MY CAMERA WAS FOUND & THE HORNETTS PROCESSED THE FILM! I Have PHOTOS! 20 photos some good, some boring – but all are great campshots. Not enough of Monique. A few visitors today. Mark came up before he left. 2 goodbye kisses. I’m gonna miss him. He’d better come up tomorrow. If he doesn’t I’ll bash him!! Ha, ha! (Not going to movies- he’s going to dinner with family- “WELCOME HOME”.) Getting rain lots now. Think periods are over, thank god. Ms Mars. came up & gave us (Trina & I) [art] work. Pizza (from dad) for tea. Jaque’s going home tomorrow. Will be boring-er [meaning: more boring] when she’s gone. Yowie fell out of bed last night & Mark almost ran him over today. (in wheelchair) God, he’s lost weight – skinny runt. Restless sleep last night …couldn’t get comfortable – couldn’t roll over much. Shitty right leg. hurry up & heal! about 9:30.

A Life in Words
Sometime after the back-biting incident, I was presented with this teething ring to use during dressing changes. (I think my mum bought it for Tania’s sake!) It was clearly well-used…

Saturday 14/2/87

VALENTINE’S I got from him a red rose, a balloon-on-a-stick (saying “I love you”) and a card (and even a little letter-which is great, considering he finds it hard to write) he came during the last 15mins or so of my dressing- I didn’t know for the first 10 mins. and was babbling on.. Ha,ha. He stayed quite some time- about 4 or 5 kisses altogether today. Love that guy… can’t wait til I’m better & we’re both back at school. Cried more for Monique today. Realised how she’s the only one I’ll really miss – she’s the one who was most part of my life. I love you Monique. I wish you were here. I thought about being dead today. If I’d died, I wouldn’t’ve minded – cos moni’d be with me.. I’d feel none of the pain I get with this leg etc [The contemplation of Death is unavoidable in an experience such as this. You meet with it yourself, you lose your peers to it, you can’t hide from it. Up to this point in time, I naturally hadn’t formed many beliefs (we were never a highly religious family). I hadn’t conceived of much: ‘Where’ exactly do you – did they – Go? Heaven? What is Heaven? Does it even exist? The Fear of Death is simply the Unknown, so it’s clear that in one (very odd) respect I benefitted from Monique’s death: it removed an element of Fear about the Afterlife (or simply, ‘After’). I believed I would not be Alone, and I would not feel (physical) Pain…] ..Few visitors ..boring day cause JACQUE LEFT at 10:30. It’s so different without her. Ate lotsa junk today Hospital food -yukky-some alright. Kentucky from Trina’s parents for tea. I still will cry for monique I don’t think I’ll ever stop – slow down maybe, but never stop. [I was right. But the tears much, much fewer and farther between, because… Life Goes On.] Easier on crutches, esp. tonight.

Sunday 15/2/87

Mark did come in today.. was boring for him, I could tell..reckons he won’t come back or see me for 3 weeks… I reckon he’ll come back. Has to. I’ll bash him if he doesn’t!! [What’s with all this ‘bashing’ Liss? A bit aggressive…] Love that guy. He came in before I went for a shower and had my dressing changed – saw the hole in my leg. Crabbe came in yet again…and Tania, but what’s new? Missing Alyson (nurse) quite a few new nurses now Did my daily exercise – crutch to loo shower, clean my teeth, to the “lookout room” at the other end of this floor & other miscellaneous crutch expeditions. Here I was thinking this diary would be just big enough. Next year I’m gonna get a thick book & write when I feel like it…probly every night, but more often if I feel inclined. Slept quite well last night. Talked to lotsa people, Justin, Daniel A, Dad, mum about their side of the story; what they felt ..what happened to them. [I believe ‘sharing’ experiences assists in the grieving and/or healing process. I have been surprised by the number of readers who have, through their gratitude to me for these blogposts, expressed this. While she wasn’t a ‘diariser’ like I, Mum managed to maintain a journal for a few weeks after the accident and I intend to transcribe parts of that in another, separate post in the near future. Reading it myself is difficult for two reasons: not merely identifying with (or trying to imagine) her experience, but also because she has now passed, her absence (my Loss) is accentuated.] I realised I haven’t dreamt since the accident. 2 weeks almost. Wonder if that’s [a] mental side effect. Will ask a social worker tomorrow. Eeek! Doctors tomorrow looking at my wound. No escaping it! Aaagh! Ate a fair bit today. Ooo-er! Rainy, cool… I think I’m getting better physically… mentally no.. I’m depressed… I’ll be in here at least another week.. I reckon 2. Everybody else’ll be gone by then I bet.

An Anaesthetic Hangover & Getting Out of Bed (7-8 February)

[Having gotten no further than the 6th February in my scrapbook, we now return to simply my diary entries, so here I have included the weekend and as of Monday 9th, posts will revert to weekly publishing again.]

Saturday 7/2/87

I saw Mark for about one minute today. He wasn’t very happy – looked stiff, like in a lot of discomfort. [I can’t imagine sitting upright in a wheelchair with a punctured lung would be terribly comfortable.] This was about 1:30 today. I wish we could’ve had more time and privacy. Gave me a pink teddy (I’ve called Yowie) and a cute little bunch of dried flowers with one red rose. (and said simply “Elissa, get well soon babe, Lots of Love, Mark.” I am really tired now. I went into surgery about 9:00, came out at 10:00 but didn’t wake til about 12:30. [Apparently this surgery was merely a dressing change, on my right leg’s injury. Because it was the first one since my ‘scrub’ surgery when I was first admitted (on Wednesday evening) I have assumed that the medics needed to assess the state of the wound, without the added complication of my ‘response’ in the conscious state. I could of course be completely mistaken…] A Life in WordsCrabbe (Wayne) was here again. Rebecca P even came in too. The effect of the anaesthetic hasn’t worn off all day – been dopey etc. [The state of my handwriting attests to this… see the picture] My drip was changed back to my right arm – now its so painful. There is much less dressing on my left knee – can move quite well still. Gordon C & Clayton E came in today too. Had quite a few visitors again. Slept badly.. woke early again cos of restlessness- inability to move during sleep.

Sunday 8/2/87

A Life in Words
In my hospital bed, with my fav teddies Monique & Yowie

I was in the best of spirits today- my left leg is so mobile!! I can even (with a lot of effort) lift it off the bed!! Slept badly last night – waking up in pain from my drip. [Good god, if it’s not one thing, it’s another…] Moved it again in the morning to my left (elbow) again .. then took it out for good!! I got in a wheelchair & had a shower & washed my hair for the first time in one week!! Then I felt so great & comfortable that the nurses let me go down & see Mark!! We sat – didn’t say much at all. Wondering if he’s shitty with me cause everybody else says he natters away when they’re with him. [Believe it or not, it actually crossed my mind that he might have been ‘shitty’ because I didn’t get Erica off him while trapped under the bus. This is, of course, ridiculous. But it’s the kind of paranoid imaginings a young girl with shaky self confidence and a kind of inferiority complex can have…] Anyway Sandra took me to see Melinda B after. We laughed so much. I felt really great today – no pain when I coughed or laughed. [I was completely unaware that I’d felt any pain of that kind, but I realise it’s almost to be expected: being thrown around like a rag doll is bound to affect thoracic musculature…] magic. more patients came later in the arvy – VISITORS, I mean!! [hasn’t that anaesthetic worn off yet?] I’m pooped now. Just realised how this thing has changed my life – the crash that is. [I’d love to know exactly what I meant by this, what my specific thoughts were. It’s an ambivalent statement, a tease if you will: what Change was my imagination envisaging precisely? I wish I had had the diary space (or merely inclination?) to provide more detail.] I’m not looking forward to the next 14 days – the doctors this morning reckon I’ll be in for another fortnight. SHIT. I don’t know if I will be able to cope with the pain of physio & “dressing changing” tomorrow. [I must have had ESP…] I ♥ u Mark. It’s about 8:50 now I think.

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]