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

Monday 4/1/88

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

Tuesday 5/1/88

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

Wednesday 6/1/88

A Life in Words
my best friend, behind glass…

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

Thursday 7/1/88

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

Friday 8/1/88

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

Saturday 9/1/88

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

Sunday 10/1/88

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

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Romeo Rejections, Dogs In Space & a Police Raid (23-29 November)

Monday 23/11/87

Woken at 8:00, I got to Mark’s and kept on writing the letter, even thru’ our trip (with Cameron) into town & KMart. [I explained what this letter was all about in the previous post but to recap I was trying to pen something (‘massive’ …like a novel) for him to read on his overseas family holiday.] Back at his place, I finished it – 11 pages (not bad considering the time I had)). At the airport, we waited, had a drink. Was kinda sad .. only 3 or 4 kisses (1 long-ish) before he left. Would’ve loved to go with them. [Was it even an option? I mean, apart from being unable to afford it, I don’t even remember being invited…] EUROPE! Imagine it?!!? Wow, I’m so tired. It’s after 12:30. I need sleep badly. Not really missing Mark – had fun without him tonite. [So you’re not as dependent as you thought you were?] A Life in WordsJo rang (well I rang her) at home & we went into town & walked around. I saw Stewart – I know he would’ve seen us- I avoided him …(god, I wish I hadn’t lost that friendship. I do like him more also, I know) Jo came to my place. Reddy [a deliberate misspelling] & went to hair show practise. At awards, Jeffry M actually talked to me, but was trying to con on to CB obviously. Found out thru mima – [privacy omission]‘s got a reputation at Saints and also a rumour that Mark got back with me before he went away so I’d remain faithful to him. Well, if I got a chance at the BIG TIME Stewart or PHILLIP) too bad, Marky!! [Beyond the obvious fickleness and superficiality, this comment bespeaks of indignation (if the rumour was true, how dare he?) and further, a desire for ‘justice’ – or retribution (if the rumour was true and if the opportunity arose, “….you’re history”…] After, went to Backpackers – but mainly SCANDALS. Chris H dropped me home.

Tuesday 24/11/87

Busy day! Rang Fi around 10:15 – (got up at 9:20, or so – long sleep I needed) She picked me up around 10:45, 11:00. We (Mima & Fi & I) went into town.. did nothing spectacular: put film in to be processed . . .  looked around Hilton shops. Went to Earlville for a little while, then (dropping off to get my togs) went to Crystal’s. Sunbaked (so hot!!) only a little while – the shade from trees came quickly. Leaving, NSW guys “dragged” us on Intake Road (oh! Fi let me drive to Crystals [good god, that was dangerous Fi!] -part the way -was good, but gear changes at beginning were – um – funny) […in other words, not great…] Saw David at Redlynch shop, Went to Esplanade Rang mum told her what I was doing (on answering machine). Went to indoor soccer. Cameron V.B’s nice (but Aaron K’s body – YUM!) Saw Cameron, then home by 7:30. Mum & Julia not -house unlocked, no note; I worried [about them] but they came saying Mr B died this morning (cancer) & they went to briefly see Mrs F .. stayed for tea (coffee). I Watched TV tonite. It’s 10:00- I need sleep for tomorrow night BIG nite out! (Hope Phillip’s there. Or Stuart or Cameron’ll (V.B.) do!) Gam On!! [Wow, I thought I’d long outgrown that word! “Gammon” was a term we inherited from Aboriginal & Islander kids at primary school and had a myriad of different meanings A Life in Words(as the Macquarie Dictionary – and Urban dictionary, see pic – confirms) but pretty much all connoting untruth or unreality… In this particular instance I’d’ve meant “As if!”] Mm! Sleep! Gonna get brown & skinny & blonde, I am!! everyone practically says “so are you missing Mark?” I hate to say yes, but feel like a bitch saying NO. [The agony of independance and pride versus compassion and potential judgement by others…]

A Life in Words
The advent of digital cameras (still a decade away at this point in time) erased the pain of ‘memories lost’ due to the sometimes problematic photography equipment on hand the 80’s.

Wednesday 25/11/87

SO HOT! Woke around 8:00…rang Jemima around 9:30 – said Fiona was spending the day with Jason & she wanted to stay home, so I prepared to spend a day at home alone, myself. I sunbaked briefly (& it went a bit red tonite, too!) Mum came home – I got dressed, we dropped Julia at school & I picked up photos- my 36 exp. [exposure] film was … totally BLANK. I was so mad with myself – all those great shots of Monday night, down the drain. [You youngsters will never know this pain; one of the best technological developments ever was the digital camera. It is however arguable whether that function added to mobile phones has been all positive…] SHIT. But the “last day of school” photos are excellent! […I must have put two separate cannisters of film in for processing?] I went to Sahara – tried on my bikinis and had 2nd thoughts- I look disgusting in 2 piece [We are our own worst critics, and I was. Yes okay, I still can be…] (I am so hot) Glyn, Chris & Cameron visited me at home: I was putting the photos in albums. Lazed afternoon away: phone calls to & from people Got ready; mima took me to Jude’s & her dad took us to town. We caught a taxi to the Hill & [privacy omission] only got asked for I.D. Inside there were quite a few but not too many people we knew. We weren’t really raging .. I had an explosion with Jude – didn’t do anything .. then I saw him (with Jemila talking) – (Jeff M & Phil N were there too) PHILLIP C! I went up & talked a little .. then we went & sat near his friends. I talked to Deanne & he went away→

Thursday 26/11/87

→ said ‘Bye’ and kind of held up his hand in a wave. Great! “He doesn’t like me” ..so I went and found Jude & Joannah & I complained. [It’s just wrong that you can’t have everything you want in Life, isn’t it?] But somehow, I found him again. (dancing!) and I stuck with him for the rest of the night! Talking (sitting) The best I got was a brief hold of his hand before a dance.. I tried but he wasn’t responding [oh this is painful!] (doesn’t he like me or doesn’t he know how to act?) [I’ve since learnt it’s pretty much always the former: it becomes pretty easy to discern whether or not someone is really “into you”…] Well outside (he was walking home to a friend’s place) he gave me one little kiss on the lips and said “just get in the car!” [And there it is…] So I did. A Life in WordsThis morning I woke at 10:30.. did nothing till I rang Jo. She came round & picked me up. At her place (I met Sara) we watched “DOGS IN SPACE” (a really poor recording) then went to her dad’s office – to make lots of phonecalls about Kelvin Grove interviews (& her folio) we waited till about 5:30 before Sara came then to Earlville : [privacy omission]! Then out to pick up Mrs C. [privacy omission] had the biggest row in the car .. at Smithfield, Saw Stewart. I didn’t speak .. we were late back to the car ..another fight! At Jo’s place- another fight! [Privacy omission] made dinner, but dropped the dish as she was carrying it out to the table – really upset her. Played cards after a (make-shift) dinner: then fell asleep on the

Friday 27/11/87

→horrible, hard loungeroom floor. Woke so much during the night. Jemima rang & invited Jo (she didn’t know I was there) to her place for a swim (with Cameron, Chris, Glyn, Brent & Fi) then lots of phone calls – one from Stewart. I only talked for 2 mins. I think.. “if I see you out, I see you out”. “Definitely” he said. So I wasted much of the morning playing patience [aka the card game Solitaire. My mum had always called it Patience…] while Jo was in the phone. then Fi came & picked me up after 11:00-11:30 sometime. Watched end of GOLDEN CHILD then Chris, Cam, Glyn, Fi, Mim & I went to Crystals. was really nice – I got burnt – but not so bad it’ll peel… Chris had to leave early for a driving lesson: Cam, mima & I waited for Fi & Glyn’s return (the bitches went to KFC) [!! LOL] at Mima’s Glyn had to leave – but we sat in the pool “playing games”. Then they dropped me home first. I rang Sharon, then Jo. Fi rang said she’d find us in town. Sharon got to my place (I was freaking out about what to wear.) [That used to happen regularly] In town – boring – we went to watch the HILTON OPENING FIREWORKS. Lotsa tonnesa people there!A Life in Words Met Cam & Chris .. we all went to KFC for tea. Then picked up Glyn (dropping off Cameron) At HOTH, [security] were really strict [about identification] (let us sign the book) […this basically being a registry of club patrons’ (who failed to produce satisfactory identification) personal details – Statutory Declarations – which the venue could use to absolve itself of responsibility in the event of a subsequent legal matter.] got a stamp. Rumours that→

Saturday 28/11/87

←there was gonna be a raid . . . boring to start with (I saw that Darren S guy) [a drunken pash candidate from a few weeks back] Finally “upstairs” opened: still no people. Around 12:00, Sharon & I sat with these older guys she knew, and there came the Police. [Two or three uniformed, if I recall correctly] I was a little nervous, but it was fine. Sharon nicked off after that & I got pissed off [with her]. Stewart was there. I stood with him and Smithfield mob – Shane L, Matthew, Axel & his friend Phil, when the Pigs came back in – Sharon virtually “ran” away. I stayed put & they didn’t give me a second glance. Eventually I talked to Stewart (after dancing with Shane) and he couldn’t give a reply. . told him all I felt (in brief – I wasn’t even the slightest bit drunk) [oh dear, really?] and he said he could still fall in love with me, […Liss, if it hasn’t happened by now…] but basically (I made him tell me before he left) [hey, everyone needs closure right?] he chose not to. Just be good friends, really good friends. [Oh E, it’s been obvious for SO long…] So Sharon (got with Steve from the Intern. Hostel.(!!)) & I got a lift home. I woke around 10:00 to a phone call from her. my throat so sore. Jo rang & I had a penecillan. A Life in Words[Yeah, no worries …just randomly pop an antibiotic pill whenever you feel like it. I don’t remember Mum having such a diverse collection of pharma at home.] Bludged the rest of the day: Mike came over in the afternoon – left & came back for dinner. Mima & everyone picked me up just after 8:00. Went (picked up Peter & Colleen) to Esplanade (saw Sharon very briefly & were bible-bashed!!) Party was MASSIVE .. so many people! We went & got VODKA Colleen & I  & I had orange .. Having an excellent time (I’d rung Phillip twice before – he was at the party) & I found out Phillip likes Kate H [I’d gotten the surname wrong…]

Sunday 29/11/87

→the guy (whose place he stayed at Wed. nite) sister. (Gr 10, or so). We talked, anyway (shortly) The party ended at 10:50. cause someone vomitted upstairs. So angry! It was such an excellent party.. so we went in search of irene St one ..Jason P told me Mark R likes me. Ha! [Ironic because I’d had a crush on him a few years back…] I was pretty drunk. Funny- I said “he doesn’t remember me” ..he said “well he dragged me round trying to point you out….” la-de-da! So that party was rather dead, too.. then I fell asleep in Fi’s car on the way home (stopped at 24Hr Serv. Stn). Woke late, round 10:00 this morning & bludged the day, till just after 2:00 (after phone calls to Jo…) I waxed my armpits, then mum drove me to Palm Cove.. Jo shut the shop for 5 mins – we got an ice-cream & went to see the surf-carnival, [knowing there’d be some hot bods there… and some of particular interest…] but discovered on the way it was over (heard the loudspeaker presentations) at shop again – waited outside ..saw Fi, mima, Sue, brent & talked ages to Crabbie. Phillip apparently went past in the McM’s car. At home, rushed ate tea & mima & fi & I went to Drive In. A Life in WordsPolice Academy IV made me sick.. the idea’s wearing very thin. The LOST BOYS was excellent (unbeknown to us, beforehand, it was a horror movie about vampires) […well I wouldn’t really class it as a horror film now…] Scared us shitless! But was excellent (my door slammed shut for no reason & we packed it!) [“Packing it” refers to fright. It seems to be a lesser known slang phrase we used since I can’t find the exact context for it, even in the Urban Dictionary. I guess it may correlate to pooping (packing) your pants with fear..?] I stayed mima’s (Fi, her & me talked about old times for ages, then Fi took Brent home.)

Sweaty Armpits, More Photography & the Scary ‘Lost’ Drunk (18-24 August)

Monday 18/8/86

Nothing else on my mind. I am really sad. Monique said today that Cameron, Him, Seigi S & Nicole C were walking past her place on Saturday night. (They were going to rock her roof, Cameron told her at rehearsals yesterday) Cameron is the biggest snob. He actually sat next to me today in Chem. but didn’t say much. And Mark . . oh! I could cry thinking about him. Why? I think he dropped Tricia today … they didn’t say goodbye to each other this arvy. I haven’t the courage to look at him. I think he hates me. He can’t. I don’t want him to… there must be more parties [like they are the answer to Everything?] A Life in Words(Angie’s next one . . when will it be? After the musical she said, today.) Fuckin’ sweaty I get in my armpits during the day – Dunno why but it’s bloody embarrassing. 9:13. Did no HW. Can’t get motivated. Oh, Mark…

Tuesday 19/8/86

Guess What? It happened. It was bound to. I got my periods tonight. And I have swimming tomorrow! Oh, why couldn’t they have come just one day later? SHIT. Alright day. Saw a bit more of Mark than I’ve ever seen this (or last) week. And, riding home, mima told me how she was talking to him about Tricia. He reckons they’re not “going out” just “hanging around”. And now they’re “fighting a lot lately, not getting on.” Tricia was stoned in art this arvy. Laughed a bit today, too! In fact, laughed quite a lot. Good tho’, maybe that’s all I can do (seeing as I can’t cry over Mark – tho I’ve tried to [you’ve TRIED to?]) I am really worried. Nicole, I see, is almost everywhere, hanging around near Mark. Also mima told me (cos Sharon was in a real mood today) how she was bitching about Mark liking me. “She would[n’t] leave us alone at Angie’s party – he had his arm around me.” 10:15 late: did some HW!!! Gotta do english especially love art at the moment. Hurry up and finish, musical, so Angie’s party can be on!

Wednesday 20/8/86

I didn’t swim, but I went. It was boring. Saw very little of Mark – all of the kids involved in the musical went after 4th period to get ready for their matinee showing. We’d just had art (Mark & Steven mustn’t have gone cos) we were on our way to biology (Donna & I) and Steven looked at me (cos I was looking at them) so I said “Good Luck!” Mark didn’t look at us, but was sort of smiling, looking ahead. Wowee. I made an attempt. But after swimming, when we rode back to “pick up” mima, I saw Mark at the far end of Croswell Hall (waiting to be picked up, I guess) & Nicole was there talking to him. But he was looking in our direction. I kept looking at him too. Wonder if he knew I was looking at him? Wonder if he was looking at me? Oh well. 9:30. Another late night. NO HW done. Sharon’s a bitch. . . she’s so two-faced. About Mark – I couldn’t believe that…….. Riding again tomorrow wo!!

A Life in Words
….as long as it’s not considered ‘creepy’….

Thursday 21/8/86

Alright. Looked at mark a fair bit, and he caught me, too. In biology, I kept looking at him, even when he’d glanced at me and after school, walking up to the bus stop with Fi [uh, so you didn’t ride to school after all?], I saw him riding off and he was looking at me and I kept looking at him. I hope he gets the message that I do like him. [Because guys are SO good at picking up on subtleties, Liss. And staring at someone all the time could ‘never’ be considered creepy, could it?!] Cause there’s a party after Grease this saturday & another one after Grease on the last Saturday night. And I want him to know I like him so he’ll talk to me & not avoid me. Cos Nicole will also be there. And she really likes Mark a lot. Monique said she’s ‘after him’. He’s being a flirt. Then, after Grease, there’s Angie’s party: 3 in a row! Let’s hope something develops!!! I want him. In art I heard Trish, Michelle, Astia & Neville talking. Trish was saying how the first 2-3 weeks were beautiful but now; ” Yes she was talking about him. Looks ‘over’ for them. BEWARE OF NICOLE C. She’s everywhere he is. 9:50. Didn’t ride today. Also did no HW! Bad periods – was lucky tho.

Friday 22/8/86

Mark, my dreamboat!!! Nothing really happened – Yes it did! At lunch time, I was sitting with Donna, Sandie, Moni, Chris & David and Cameron & Mark were hanging ’round … Judy came along with the camera. Cameron got hold of it and kept focussing on me; Judy pulled me away a little while later and said “I sprung (heard) Mark say to Cameron when he got the camera, ‘Get a photo of elissa, for me please.'” WO!! The rest of the lunch hour, they were all hanging round. It was great. But then after school, Nicole was around. Petra & Judy told me how she absolutely hangs off him in rehearsals etc and even dresses with him. BITCH. This party this Sat. night is gonna be ace!! There are 2; I’m going to both; mima, fi, megan, me, sharon, Liam & his friend are gonna be real hoods; drivin’ round in cars getting pissed!! [Yeah, great idea. I really hope the assumption was that the drivers were excluded from the intoxication] And Mark… wo! I can’t wait!!! 10:00. Mum’s at the pub with the Fishers. I am excited about tomorrow night. CAN NOT WAIT (for mark!!)

Saturday 23/8/86A Life in Words

Wendy F woke me at 1:30. “Mum’s sick and a bit upset…” She was drunk, totally off her face. they’d bought her home; she was sick. I said goodbye to them locked up & lay with her. Julia came in. And a drunk man appeared at the windows “Who the fuck are you?” [I spoke, Julia is more a ‘paralyzed-with-fear’ type of individual] “I’m lost” “Go away.” [We both remember this incident vividly: the Fear. Being ‘stalked’ (or, witnessing an adult male figure ‘casing’ your home) is terrifying, especially when your ‘protector’ (Mum) is completely unconscious…] Mum said it was probably Terry S – but wendy said this morning he was driven home. [The thing is, he lived in the very near vicinity so could easily have walked back to our house after being dropped off. Despite being ‘blotto’ I can’t see a reason for Mum to randomly name a male neighbour with whom she never appeared to have had anything to do with in the past.] It was really scary. Today I did my HW, and got really hyped up about tonight Finally I started to get ready (I’d made so many phone calls during the day) We went with Fi. IT [the musical] WAS EXCELLENT.

A Life in Words
Some of the CHS Grease T-Birds backstage

All were bloody fantastic (mark spunky – Julia & Cherie reckon he was looking at me all the time) while dancing. After saw him in dressing room But that was it. He didn’t go to the party. We went to Benji’s, but was boring so we (Megan, Moni, Sharon, Mima, Fi & me) walked to Mik’s at Stratford. It was fucking boring. Sharon & I left at 2:30. Fi & Moni didn’t stay at my place. Mark why didn’t you go? Bugar. Mima told me that on Fri nite she asked M “who do you like?” “Don’t know, Why?” “I’m doing some spying for a friend” “Who?” “elissa” “she doesn’t like me does she?” “I don’t know about that” “Really?” He really thought I didn’t like him after all.

Sunday 24/8/86

Woke at 8:30. Am so tired. Sharon left around 11:00, then mima rode over. We talked and everything and laughed with Cherie, Julia and Petra. Did ‘nothing’. Went to the shop. Bought junk while mum bought hot chips for lunch. PIGGED OUT SEVERELY. Mima left later; She was so tired. We lazed around talking, reading. Then watched TV, dropped Petra & Cherie home. Now it’s 7:10. I’m gonna have my shower & go to bed. Take 40’s on, pity I’ll miss it… too tired. Did not even start one english assignment SHIT. That party was so boring most people left; went home or to Crocodile Rock. Everyone was smoking except me No drink there. Oh Mark, I want you. Mima & Petra telling me how she Nicole flashes all over the place when she’s changing in front of him (they reckon Cameron looks away & Mark gets embarrassed) Mima’s back with Brent. too she told me today he didn’t come cos he had baseball finals today. I’m friggin’ tired. Next week will be excellent. Seeing Mark at school and mima’s & moni’s birthdays & Grease final & the party.

Bludging, Laughing & Raging on the Weekend (10-16 February)

Monday 10/2/86

I do have my black bags back again. Boring day. Chemistry class was split; I’m with Tanja. And that’s it (except for Brent, Cameron & David, our class is full of deadshits – OH Linda & Heather aren’t.) It was so boring. We have Mr Lavers but he was away so we bludged the whole 2 lessons (no teacher told us what to do) I wrote a letter to Fi & mim (that’s 3 classes they have together, now) and also Delanie. Mim & Fi said that they understand all that work now- with Mr Misamis. Lucky. Wish our class was one. I’d rather one of 35 than two of 15 & 20. [When you’re 15 your friends mean more than your education, although I realise now the importance of small class numbers.] SHIT classes. Had to stand on bus this arvy. Valentine’s Day will be sooo depressing for me. Is 9:31. I think I’m riding tomorrow.

Tuesday 11/2/86A Life in Words

I liked today. It was good. I don’t know why, I just feel happy – it was no special day. Biology was a bludge. Maureen, Donna, Angie & I talked. It was quite cool last night – I had only my sheet on & (nothing except undies) used my pillow to try and keep me warm. [I still do that sometimes: if there’s no extra bedding within reach, forget climbing out of bed – use a pillow!] Tonight I’m wearing the old, faded, poly/cotton nightie. Hope it’s cold again. Rode home really fast this arvy – beat Julia’s & our buses home – no sweat! (Well, actually there was a lot!) Just too early to meet Justine & Beka though. Rang Justine – we talked for 45mins!! Mum & Julia got cranky & made me hang up. [This was not the first, and definitely not the last time I would ‘hog’ the phone (remember kiddies, there were no mobiles in the 80’s)…and it’s quite funny considering how much I hate talking on the phone now.] Laughed a lot today (in Maths, mainly) Fi told me about Cameron asking about me. [In relation to being a past neighbour of his father & stepmother – not for the reasons one might ordinarily guess] He didn’t even know I was at this school!! Is 9:30 on the dot!!

Wednesday 12/2/86

Pretty good day again today (I mean not special – but not boring) At lunchtime, Tanja, Fi & mim & I went into a Room & soon all the boys (well, the ones I like) were in there too. [I certainly was impressed by this moment because it’s remained one of my clearest & most favourite memories of my early days at CHS….possibly because it may have felt like the boys were seeking our attention?] I’ve decided the ones I like best are Steven, Cameron & Mark (& David & Ricky a bit) I think (I’m trying not to get my hopes up) Steven might like me. Whenever I see him he’s always in positions where I know he can see me. >HOPE< & ditto (kinda) with Mark and Cameron. Had a laugh in Chemistry with Tanja today over bomby cars!! carblacksmoke.jpgWent home on the Saints bus instead. [Saint Augustine’s was a Catholic boys-only school, and a major ‘competitor’ to Cairns High especially in male-dominated sports. But I guess also, in a respect, a competitor for girls’ attentions…] Chem & Bio Big bludges – teachers are away on YR12 camp. Had no relief teacher for Bio!! At all! I love laughing. [Who doesn’t? Unless you’re being tickled to death and you can’t breathe.] It’s 8:42 – early nite

Thursday 13/2/86

I was naughty today. [Such a strong sense of Conscience] I rode (doubled Fi) to the Trubook Baths in lunchtime (Mima was doubled by Donna & Sharon took Fi’s bike with a guy.) Also Mark F. & Melinda B went too (also some other kids.) Was alright, except for the teachers. They stopped all Smithfield kids from talking to us & one teacher even followed us round the fence-line, warning & telling us to go away. Saw Justine, Richard, Adrienne, Erica, Jay, Anna, Colleen etc. Poor Anna looked so sad. She hates Smithfield now. So much. Riding home, stopped at Stratty P.O. to buy stamps for Mim. Beka got off bus. Talked for a while. All buses passed me. Had religion today too. FUN!! (Blah!) [As far as I can remember, that was the ONLY “religious education” I ever received in my two years at Cairn High. In fact, I don’t recall getting any at Smithfield in the three years I was there either! I guess that’s state school for you? Hooray!] Is a little sticky at the moment tho it’s 8:40. Not hot – just sticky

Friday 14/2/86A Life in Words

VALENTINE’S DAY is sooo depressing! God, I’m HOT And disappointed. I’ve got over my depression but I’m still a bit disappointed.  [Look out for an extra special blogpost, this Friday: I wrote about this ‘depression’ in further detail…it’s incredibly woeful!] But, chin up. Think of the future. (things MUST change) They will. Mima can stay over tomorrow night (I’m trying to get Fi over, too.) Hopefully (I talked to mum) we can go to Anne Marie’s party. Otherwise,we’ll drop in at Mark’s for a while. Fi got 2 val. cards (one from mima – the other from Glen) Brent’s got one for mima. But she hasn’t got it yet. And me? Of course, I got none. It’s 10:41. I didn’t want a late night – my clock just stopped ticking. Hafta wind it up.. That’s betta!! The card for Cameron from julia, everyone (mostly) thought it was from me. SHAME [My sister had a crush on Cameron, spanning back from the days when we lived beside his father & stepmother, circa 1983-4. Because she was still at Smithfield High, I was the courier for her valentine’s card to him and I definitely copped some flack thanks to others’ assumptions.]

Saturday 15/2/86

Tried to make myself do HW before mima came, but didn’t. Sunbaked for 40mins (20ea. side) Coloured a little bit. When mima came, we did HW. 12:00-4:00 No! 5:00! In that time, we rang Fi & she came up and Brent rang twice. After, walked down the shops (at Freshy Creek) and bought …cigarettes. [I’m guessing they cost in the vicinity of $2 for a packet back then (the equivalent of about $4 now), so it wouldn’t’ve been too hard for us to scrape together the coin needed for them.] Got ready around 6:30. Got there [where? Anne-Marie’s party?] at 8:30. Heapsa Smithfield ragers. Stephen N (remember him – blonde-haired spunk) was there. (Everyone thinks he’s cute – Anna, Mim, Fi, Col, & Sally) Went to Suzelle’s & drank Westcoast  (other people’s – got in deep shit) Back at Mark’s all night. Had 3 smokes. Lotsa drunk kids. Gangs around Old Smithy Road corner. Bashed Ward (Mark’s friend) everyone scared. All went – thought police would come. Everyone made to be driven home. Really scary. Neville & Torsten went missing for 2 hours. 12:00-2:00. Were all right. Is 2:30 now. Are all shit-tired!

Sunday 16/2/86

Woke 8:30. Shit! Got only about 5-6 hrs sleep. Shit!! Did nothing while mima did English assignment & Fi some Bio. HW. Fi had to go to work 11:30. We (mim & I) went to Mark’s  – looked at the mess & helped clean up. We even got food & shit in our back yard. A Life in WordsWhole street & park area big mess. Anyhow, cleaned our bikes (after we walked to shop for lollies & dropped mim’s gear off) Got burnt Then made patty cakes. Then iced them. Ate some. Had a big talk in the park around 5:30 to 7:00 after we’d seen Cameron (McK) & 2 other guys riding up the street (But they never came back) Talk was great. Steven B is not a virgin. Mima said so many guys aren’t. So many nice (looking) guys. (Mark W) Pity. Pity. Pity. [Oh this makes me laugh! Was I really SO innocent & naive?!] Is 8:49. Am tired. Must sleep. PACKED WEEKEND: was a RAGE.

The Anniversary of the Fall

A Life in Words
Mum enjoying a spot of sun in my courtyard, just 4 days before her fall

I know it was “meant to be”. And I couldn’t’ve prevented it because Mum was stubborn. It had happened before – a few times at home according to my sister – so was bound to happen again.

She wouldn’t ask for help. She wouldn’t wake her darling daughter, disrupt her sleep, just to go to the bathroom. That’s the kind of mother she was. Apart from being stubbornly ‘capable’ of finding her way to the toilet in the dark, under the influence of incredibly powerful painkillers and with numb feet thanks to the chemotherapy, she loved me way too much to break my much-needed slumber. You never wake up your babies (unless you absolutely have to).

It was a decent distance she had to travel between the bathroom and the couch she preferred as a bed. I’d realised as soon as she arrived that she would never make the flight of stairs to the bedrooms on a daily – or nightly – basis and also couldn’t get up from a mattress on the floor, so we made my generous three-seater her ‘station’. I slept on the mattress on the floor not 4 metres from her, for the sole purpose of being there for any help she needed during the night.

So all I heard was an almighty crash and a feeble wail. More like a pained, guttural exclamation. “Oh, oh, ohhhhhh”

“Mum? MUM?”

Panic & adrenaline flooded me in an instant, as I leapt up and I don’t even remember getting to the bathroom but I will never lose the mental image of her laying contorted in the shower recess.

She had almost made it to the toilet but lost her balance at the final moment, reaching out to her left for a wall, where there was none, and fell straight into the shower recess, over the ledge, smashing her head against the shower wall on the way down.

She lay in a contorted position, half foetal, sort of twitching in the struggle to get up and the moaning…. there were no words.

I can’t recall how I got her up, it wasn’t easy. I was trying to remain composed, but my panic momentarily exposed itself in the guise of a few whimpers and split-seconds of inaction driven by feelings of helplessness and overwhelm.

“Mum, oh mum”

She had soiled herself, naturally. She was after all trying to get to the bathroom for a reason.

Somehow, I did what had to be done. I don’t recall how, but I got her onto the toilet although she barely had the strength to sit up. She flopped forward, until I managed to get her to lean back against the toilet cistern. I cannot remember how I got her cleaned up and clothed in fresh garments but she recovered enough to answer my questions.

“Do you feel any pain?”

“No”

“Nowhere? How about your head?” There was an obvious egg by now.

“No”

This is what concerned, confused and later amazed me. She felt NO pain?

Getting her back to the couch wasn’t easy. I virtually had to carry her, although she must have regained an ounce of strength because I certainly didn’t get her there all on my own. Positioning her more upright, I fetched an icepack to put under her head, then set to work cleaning up the bathroom.

There was no return to slumber for me. Her breathing was laboured but I was more concerned about her head. That was, after all, exactly where some of her numerous tumours resided. I lay listening to her strange ‘snoring’ occasionally sitting up to look at her properly, for closer analysis. I was literally biding time until the clock struck a ‘decent’ hour at which I could ring my sister for advice. 6am. Mum was still sleeping while I spoke to Julia.

We decided it would be best to phone the Nurses Hotline.

There was no blood, she didn’t seem concussed (she knew where she was, who she was, who I was and what had happened) and again, amazingly, no pain. With the details of the (advanced) state of her cancer, and the fall, the nurse advised it might be best to try to get her to a hospital Outpatients. “Not a Medical Centre, but a hospital. Just to be on the safe side. The painkiller may be masking something that she’s not feeling so if you’re already at the hospital, they can act immediately.”

“I don’t think I can get her into the car, I barely got her back to the ‘bed’.”

Ambulance. So I dialled 000 and repeated the story, gave the same background information and answered roughly the same series of questions that the nurse had asked.

They arrived quietly. No siren needed. And in true Ambo form, they handled the situation beautifully, with calm, assured, professionalism and the perfect degree of humour. The story was related for the third time, and while they negotiated her into the ambulance, I collected some things I thought she might need, and was ready to follow them as they pulled away.A Life in Words

By the time we reached the Tweed Hospital, an ambo had administered oxygen to mum, making light of it. But this became the bigger issue. The young English doctor who finally examined mum was very nice but she was over waiting. She rolled her eyes at me when she thought he wasn’t looking. She had extra waits for tests to be run – XRays or CT scans I can’t recall which, but in the end, it was mum’s lungs he was concerned about: nothing to do with the actual fall.

We pretty much expected she would be kept in for observation at least one night. As long as she and I could catch our flight back to Cairns on the 22nd, it didn’t matter.

They found she had emboli (blood clots) on her lungs. Apparently this is a common occurrence with chemotherapy. I wasn’t sure what this meant. They were going to administer anticoagulant drugs to break up the emboli so there was still a chance we could get on our flight…after all, we had nine days?

It wasn’t to be. The emboli slowly disintegrated but it was the tumours that were wreaking the havoc ultimately. So when mum entered Tweed Hospital the morning of 13 December 2012, it would be her final place of residence; the locale of her final christmas and grandson’s 13th birthday. She departed just five days later.