The Dark Room, A Day Off & Friction at the Fete (4-10 May)

Monday 4/5/87

LABOUR DAY Holiday! Well, I woke around what would it have been? …7:30? Yep! And I wasted the day . . did nothing in particular until Mark rang at 11:40. We talked for a while, and decided he’d come over. Aaaargh! I let him read my ’86 diary (tho’ I regretted it) and then he wanted to read my ’87 diary . . I really felt embarrassed (he read the bit about Robbie) [the New Year’s Eve pash] but he ignored it. Took him to work at 2:30. A Life in WordsHe rang me in the afternoon… Then again tonight. And he admitted (with my “encouragement”) that he did like me since I came [to Cairns High]. We talked a fair bit & I’ve decided to let him read my ’86 diary . . I’ll take it for him tomorrow. I trust him not to show or tell anybody what it says. I think he’s becoming more attached to me than ever. . spending much more time together. . getting on even better. Have written about ½ a foolscap [for the youngsters who don’t know what it’s like to write assignments by hand, foolscap is a standard paper size] for english & I have to have it in tomorrow or I’m in deep trouble. Don’t reckon I’ll get it finished. oh shit!

Tuesday 5/5/87

I hate school – at school our relationship is different .. it’s at school all the problems happen. It was O.K. till double bio … he just got “pen-happy”. Nikko [permanent marker pen] all over me. I disregarded that .. at big lunch Keith made a smart comment about a diary.. I thought maybe Mark had said something to him about reading my diaries.. [I would probably have thought the same now too…too ‘coincidental’…] so when I confronted him about it . .he got kind of cheesed off ..”thanks for not trusting me”. Me & my big mouth ..me & my jumping to conclusions. How can I get him to believe that I trust him if I keep saying & doing silly things (like worrying unnecessarily)A Life in Words [but could this ‘unneccesary’ worry be a ‘disguised’ gut feeling?] Because I DO. [Oh you so DON’T!] I’ve got to make him see that. I just worry & think the worst of situations.. something I’ll have to try & grow out of. [So, using Pessimism as the excuse now?] Well ..didn’t do any HW tonite Dad let me invite Mark for wedding! UNREAL, HUH?! (If he still wants to go) [←now if THIS wasn’t a gut instinct…read on…] & in the same room in the hotel!!! [Uh huh…at your DAD’s wedding. Elissa, even if your father was ‘cool’ with it, the likelihood of any young buck having the courage to do anything is pretty slim. What young man isn’t a tad ‘wary’ of his girlfriend’s father?] Julia told me she overheard Nicole talking to friend in H.P.E about Mark .. saying something like how she talked to him & tried to get him away from me. POOR GIRL. Never! He is mine. He loves me (& I, of course, ♥ him!) TANIA’S BACK!!! Late nite. Slept badly last night. Gave Mark my ’86 diary today.

Wednesday 6/5/87

He came late today. In bio, it was not too good, bad [←not a typo, it was actually what I’d written. I would’ve meant ‘but’] was not necessarily bad either .. on way to art was O.K. Not there at little lunch. Before maths, an absolute drag (see, in 4th p. art .. Elisia & I stayed in dark room to process negatives, & were very late for next lesson -english thank god! – so  stayed in dark room with Mrs. M’s consent till 6th p. thought I was late, so ran up & burst into a year 11 class – Mr K (Chris’ dad) the teacher! Shame!) [I don’t remember this at all but I can imagine it as scene in a teen high school movie] I told him about that & he looked at me as if I was stupid so I “sulked” in maths.. am sure at one stage, I caught him looking at me & felt worse, still. Big lunch – [He] went to buy his lunch & when he came back talked little  before going again.. A Life in Wordsback to say ‘goodbye’ v. nicely too. Wow. Aerobics I got a cramp, but was a bit better than last week. Mr G. dropped us home again (I apologized for missing the [english] lesson then) Tania finally rang me ≈5:00 & picked me up. Tea at her place. FOOTSTEPS TO FAME [Cairns High’s annual ‘talent quest’ concert] was excellent! So many people (supportive cos of the crash, I reckon) [highly likely] Mark wasn’t there- said he wasn’t going anyway. When I told him the good news about him being invited to dad’s wedding, he (& I knew it’d happen) said “I don’t know if I should” All this stuff about family etc. [as I said earlier, I had a feeling “…if he still wants to go”…] After all the trouble I went to… [Trouble? Meaning the ‘challenge’ of asking my father?]

Thursday 7/5/87

Today was, indeed, different. I missed the bus, planning to miss 1st period…biology (to do my english assignment & get out of handing in my Rat. prac.) then, when Roger M dropped the car in, mum could take me in. But the car never came. We heard from Roger after 12:00 (too late for me to catch a town bus in.. what’s the point of being there for 2 lessons?) so I stayed home. Tried to do english (I’m really having trouble doing this bloody assignment) but, when I gave up I stuck cards in my camp scrapbook. A Life in WordsA Life in WordsJules came home (raining all day) & told me Mark had asked about me. I rang & talked briefly with Fi. Mark rang around 5:00, I think… was O.K. got ready & he & Keith (K. got his license (P’s) today!) drove round & picked me up. A bit yukky at first, at Earlville, but O.K. after. To town for a pizza, then home around 9:30 I think. Keith & Mark stayed for a cuppa coffee. Cutey. Gorgeous Marky. Left a little while ago (Is 10:35) …actually, about 40 mins or so, ago. Purity [I’d’ve meant ‘pretty’ but deliberately spelled it wrong to insinuate a ‘drawl’ (‘purr-itty’) unaware I was using another actual (unrelated) word] good day. Tomorrow will be even better!!!

Friday 8/5/87

Caught the bus in (Mark came with Keith) Double eng. just didn’t get assignment done, so finished it in 3rd period-art & handed it in at little lunch. Double art next was fun- in darkroom.. mucking round Steven, Jamie D, Keith, Mark. Got dirty – paint on the navy shorts & on my long sleeved grandpa shirt. Big lunch a bludge – can’t remember much (raining lots) Ingrid & I painted the donut sign in 6th & 7th (Mark & Steven visited) waited for the footy match to start..got umbrella off mum. CHS won of course-pouring rain- people huddling under umbrellas. Fete was boring sold lotsa donuts. Went to Fi’s shop & got dressed. At fete again saw Mark — he went to ‘booze’ up with the others. Came to dance again round 8:45. Danced, rested, danced. He went off to the loo .. was gone almost (or more than) 1 hr. Michael B said he saw him with Tricia. I got upset; telling people. When Mark came back, took me outside & revved me about Trust. (Keith’d told him I thought they were doing something) So he got angry & I cried. A Life in WordsHe told me he loved me so much. [Here I basically quoted a lot of what Mark said to me in the talk that ensued and I have chosen to ‘omit’ parts to respect his privacy.] Even Terry said “you don’t believe anything between Mark & TriciaHe loves you heaps.. so much.” Later he’d said things like [apologies, but again I feel I must omit some of the things he said, to respect his privacy] “…[omission]. It was the night I’d hoped to get with you..I so badly wanted you to go to that party. [omission] ..and now more than ever….[omission] This is long overdue .. we should’ve been together earlier.. if one of us had said how we felt ..because we both felt the same .. I stopped reading your 86 diary because I felt [omission] so bad seeing how hurt you were.” Then we danced. Rested. I danced & came back. He was crying. Said he was going & walked home in the→ [I crossed over to the next page…]

Saturday 9/5/87

rain. Wouldn’t let Keith drive him…wanted to  walk. Wouldn’t tell me what was wrong.. left at 12:15 (Beka & Alan D are doin’ great!!!) Looks like Cameron & Nicole too. I think. Slept almost as soon as I got home. Woke around 10:10 this morning … read ’86 diary, up to where Mark said he’d stopped. [trying to ascertain what he may have ‘experienced’ as he read…] Otherwise watched music shows on TV till about 1:30 or 2:00 Thinking about the beautiful things he’d said & I feel really guilty ..I stuff things up all the time. [No, you don’t. It takes two to tango.] I’d asked him why he never admitted that he’d liked me & he said “I don’t know.” He said he’d thrown out his ’86 diary (not a really secretive one like mine, but not just a school diary) but I was all through it. I’m sure people were looking at us. We were just at the bottom of the steps [of Croswell Hall] outside the main entrance during the bulk of the fight. & when I cried. Went to pick up my bag from Fi’s.. could only have a very short talk to her. Read diary at home again – finished it. Did nothing but that all day. Mark didn’t ring me. I rang at 7:30, Mrs W. said he was at Keith’s relative’s 21st birthday party. And he was working from 9:00 tomorrow. So I watched TV tonight. Am kind of upset in a small way that he didn’t ring me. I wish I knew what was wrong. Rainy all day again. very cool. Wasted day, really. Hope he rings me tomorrow.. from work at least. Please, Mark: I love you so much .. let me know what’s troubling you. It’s me, I bet. It’s just after 12:00.

Sunday 10/5/87

A terrible day. I woke, wondering if he’d ring me But I rang him (around 11:30) in the end. And it was a very short call.. just as I’d thought: he was not at all talkative. I hung up disappointed. Cried so much. Then rang him later to get Keith’s phone number then I got upset with him.. hung up on a really terrible note. Rang Keith [seeking answers]. He said he was just in one of his moods..not angry with anyone in particular ..just angry. I felt better, a bit. Went to visit Nana [I’m fairly sure that by this time, she had moved into a nursing home community – residing in her own unit however, not yet interred in a ‘ward’…] (I did nothing today. Nothing at all, except cry & worry) came back wondered if I should ring & apologise. Made mum dinner …finally after 8:00, got on to Fi.. she said ring him. I did. I found out it was me he was disappointed with. So I feel really terrible again. Rang Fi back after & talked. I’m such an idiot. I HATE MYSELF. HATE. [This was written boldly, and the second ‘HATE’ took up two lines on the page. Evidently I felt pretty strongly at the time… but oh, so potentially damaging…] I hurt him. & me. too much. A Life in WordsNot looking forward to school 2morrow. I feel terrible Need lots of sleep. I’m gonna die of an ulcer before I’m 20. [Clearly that hasn’t happened… but I’m surprised! I really was an expert worrier…]

The Seniors Induction & Emotional Rollercoaster Lows (23-29 March)

Monday 23/3/87

Mr Perrem came over this arvy.. stayed for tea. He is very upset still- it’s obvious. He was upset. Said every time he saw me, Monique was with me & told me how she went straight to the phone when she got back from Brissy & was disappointed that I wasn’t home. It was quite sad – but I only cried once. [It’s so good to know that I was important to her: it’s always nice to receive substantiation from highly reliable sources, isn’t it?] Got no HW done consequently. Day at school started off good- A Life in WordsMark gave me a baby picture of him – chubby chops!! (cutey!) 6 months old. Didn’t show many people my leg. Good muck around day. Till after school- – Megan said “Did you hear about what happened Friday night?” I said “What?” – She wouldn’t tell me …then ..Steven & Glyn whispered something. I got all shitty – Mark must’ve done something Friday night .. with [privacy omission](??) BITCH. I calmed down after after school. . it’s his loss.. I couldn’t be bothered ringing him & arguing ..  I’ll ask tomorrow. He’s the one who has to live with the guilt if he’s lying to me. But I know he loves me. I cannot understand you, Mark W. YOU’RE WIERD. [I consistently spelled this word wrong!]

Tuesday 24/3/87

Terrible day. I was preoccupied with my dilemma.. I was a bit vindictive at little lunch- juice (popper) fight. A Life in WordsDuring double biology ..Mark got “picked on” by our teacher .. got shitty after that & I was afraid to talk to him all during big lunch, and after school however 7th period, chem; cameron “told” me he didn’t do anything with [privacy omission]. Megan the rumour-spreading liar [I discovered who was actually being truthful eventually… many, many years later…] I felt embarrassed to have worried at the start. So wrote him a note. Cameron gave it to him.. but he didn’t wave when we “honked” on the way home. & no phone call tonight. Hope everything’s O.K. for tomorrow. Justine came round this arvy. Brent tonite for Fi’s chem book. shame! I’d just gotten out of the shower. must wake early tomorrow -lots to do. Jeez I hope Mark talks to me tomorrow. So tired! 9:30 Uh!

Wednesday 25/3/87

A terrible day; really horrible …he ignored & avoided me. I was so upset at times… watery eyes. A Life in WordsI must’ve pissed off so many people with my mood. In bio he sat at the other end of the bench with Chris (me on my own) & they were saying some pretty terrible things. C: “W, who’re you taking to the formal?” M: “I dunno.” GREAT!! [sounds quite like a contrived conversation?] It got worse this arvy. Fi & Jussy & I helped prepare for the BBQ ..in recreation time – went to Jussy’s to get ready – mima too. They’d [the boys, I assume?] been to the Esplanade.. came around 5:00-5:30. Ignored me ..finally…took me away by the hand…explaining his friends need him ’cause they’re all only just realising about the crash now- upset etc – sorry to “neglect” me ..said he really needs me (thought I was shitty with him.) Ha! Everything’s normal! [Yep… back to your normal gullible self!] – we talked ..we have a “communication problem” & need to “spend some time 2gether alone to fix it.” No HW done – bags under my eyes are disgusting!! Stood up too much today – knees sore. I ran today, too (not fast – not for long) LOVE YOU M&M. [I think M&M meant Monique and Mark]

Thursday 26/3/87

Hung round a fair bit till ½ way through big lunch- he was mucking around telling me not to go near him, talk to him, touch I’m or look at him. But he got too serious for me. [Here we go again…] And now I’m upset. I can’t believe we “fix” it up then something happens again, to break it down. It’s all the other people [oh really?] – we get on better, totally alone. [Well, that’s functional and realistic…] Rainy today ..cool, beautiful. That’s upsetting (not the weather) about Mark, I mean – he’s so nice at times. A Life in WordsI need an early night – almost 9:30 now _ I started a new canvas in art – did chemistry HW this arvy. Am in dire straits, concerning work. I’m not going to do well at all – I don’t know anything .. it’s terrible. [Mum could never have afforded tuition for me, but I probably wouldn’t’ve wanted it being the proud perfectionist I was. Little did I know however, that the entire first term of year 12 was to be excluded from the consideration of my overall achievement for the year, and in fact, my final score was primarily weighted on the second semester alone …thanks to the accident…] Leg’s O.K. getting better slowly, but quickly – swelling no less. Dunno about my hair. I’d like to grow it but everyone thinks it’s better short (mark wants it that way) SHIT can’t we get it right?? [I clearly didn’t know back then that it wasn’t possible to change people…]

Friday 27/3/87

Brent, Glyn, Cameron, Jason (P.) & Mark were away ..at volleyball or baseball trials. A Life in WordsAll got there in time for the induction, however. Rainy & cold (mostly) today .. double english was boring- Nigel & I mucked ’round Mr Grossetti sprung me with bubble gum! “Raced” (ran!!) to art … boring day – painting in art. Induction practise. Was chaotic!! Carrying chairs from the library to the hall! Mark, Cameron & Glyn came just in time. Didn’t see much of them. He’s ignoring me again – shitty. Probably thinks I’m shitty with him. It’s NOT FAIR. WHY, WHY can’t we get along normally?? I love him so much. I wish he’d ring me, apologise & take me out. somewhere. I want so badly to be with him. Stop hurting me, Mark. PLEASE. Love me. [This is so cringeworthy! It is actually ‘painful’ to now see so clearly the poor choices I made, and not even in the ‘name of love’ but simply pure, unadulterated naiveté. Desperately wanting this particular male specimen to be my Ideal, meet all MY expectations… oh I had so much to learn!] Induction – slow & boring, but Edith & I had a laughing fit, though. talking to lotsa people – Mrs B, Cameron’s mum, Mrs K, Mr Roff, at the afternoon tea afterwards. [To be honest, I don’t remember this occasion at all. It’s a formal school tradition, observed annually with each fresh new batch of Year 12’s.]

Saturday 28/3/87

I rang him. It was not a very good call at all..he’s “thinking over” tomorrow & on Monday will tell his decision .. whether we keep going out or not. [You can’t make any decisions, Liss? Beautifully set up for a weekend full of Anxiety…] From what I gather, he is very puzzled as to why I don’t come up to him during school time etc. I said I’m scared ..self conscious [fearing reactions, maybe?] – something he can’t understand. I’m so distressed… if we have another arguement after this that will be the end, for sure Oh, I’m so worried & upset .. I wish we could be on holidays & spend each day together, alone. That’s the best. (Today I slept in late. Did little HW, mucked ’round most of the day – watching TV, eating! Mrs R (Nola) came round tonight – A Life in Wordshad in depth talks about death, eternity & everything. Julia’s at the movies) Got good night’s sleep last night – 9½hrs at least. Rang Fi (before Mark) she tried to help, but I still was apprehensive about calling. It’s 11:25. Am tired, mate!

Sunday 29/3/87

Jeez, I’m nervous. Not too much, but still, I’ll get worse, I know. I have a feeling everything will work out, but I’m still a little worried .. in case it is, by some very slight chance “NO” ..or after it, we have yet another disagreement & that decides it .. we’re through. (I studied bio today – not much (only 1st Ch.) and also went for a swim at Justine’s this arvy – she wasn’t home ..Mrs McP & mum chatted. Otherwise stuffed around) But I woke around 9:30 this morning 9½hrs sleep!! Wow! The day went rather slowly – rainy & sunny – wierd weather. Should have an early night – try to relax ..everything will be fine. I rang Fi & told her- she couldn’t really say much to make me understand him or me. Crikey, I hope it’s O.K. I’ve got to try harder than ever. [Try harder at what?] 8:50 – listening to Take 40 I’ve lost weight for sure – my legs look so slim I must buy high-cut togs – they’d suit me better.

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]

Leadership Camp, Day One (1 February)

Sunday 1/2/87

I still had my cold. It was really hot once we got to school. Altogether we took heaps of stuff. Mark sat next to me on the bus.. mucked round. After discussion on arrival, we put up our tent. I was so hot. It was overcast. [Perfect conditions to increase humidity] We went for a swim and just mucked round. I was cold, then not etc.. [ooh, feverish?] tonight we had bush dancing. A Life in WordsBoring! [Hmm, that’s not what you wrote in the scrapbook…] Mark was rather unenthusiastic Kept looking for me (??) I kept looking at him Later; after lights out, Mark [privacy omission] came to our tent. Mark didn’t seem ‘interested’. But it was good getting with [just kissing, people!] him. [privacy omission] Mark spent his time worrying about being caught too. I daresay that night was bad for the teachers – kids swapping tents etc. Probably got to sleep around 3:00.

[My scrapbook begins to include more text, more detail: I tried to record everything I could recall. But – not surprisingly – there’s minimal personal disclosure, since, unlike my diaries, I was expecting people to read this. It was as much for public (friends etc) as it was for personal posterity…and ‘processing’ of course.]A Life in Words

Erica brought the eski over early – we packed it & luckily, were able to put it on the lorry that the school had hired from the Fishers [our neighbours] to take equipment up, along with our tent. Excitement mounted as people arrived & assembled at Croswell Hall. It was very hot. Our group had a massive pile of gear! (then again, so did some others (not to mention any names, Steven, Mark & Brent) We loaded the remainder of our gear & scrambled onto the bus to get the best seats. Waiting ages in the still heat till we finally got under way. Music, muck-around fights & food all the way there. Once off the bus, people frantically begin to grab gear & best tent spots, but, called for an assembly first, many people had to give up their chosen sites. [From memory, there were separate tent site zones for the girls and boys. Not really surprising.] After putting up the tent, (a very long, tiring task – we were one of the last groups to finish) [I’m fairly sure we had one of the largest tents there, however…] there was freetime. We all went for a (very short) swim, then stood watching some of the guys playing cricket. After our dinner, the air horn was blown- signalling assembly under the covered area. Bushdancing was the activity & almost everyone enjoyed it! [Aha, almost everyone…] For some, this was the longest night (ie. the latest) [….oh? I wonder who…?]