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

Monday 19/10/87

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

Tuesday 20/10/87

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

Wednesday 21/10/85

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

Thursday 22/10/85

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

Friday 23/10/87

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

Saturday 24/10/87

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

Sunday 25/10/87

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

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Heartbreak Week: the Bus Crash Inquest & the Inevitable Break-Up (14-20 September)

Before launching into this week’s entries, I thought I’d include a copy of a letter that our principal sent out to us in the previous week. It didn’t really apply to me because I was summonsed to appear – I had to go – but outside of that commitment, I think I managed to witness most of the proceedings. My mum had no problem with me attending either, because she spent as much time there as she could outside of her work commitments as well.

A Life in Words

I have also included, where possible, scans of news clippings related to the inquest that I’ve attempted (with my meagre means) to make as legible as possible in case you were interested in reading them. I apologise in advance if the quality is too poor.

Monday 14/9/87

At Steve S’s [my solicitor] at about 7:45, we started on my statement. I told him things (answ. his Q’s) & he spoke into a tape. Downstairs, around 8:30 I waited with Trina while Becca was up there. I hated my statement [the perfectionist in me: but I knew this was an extremely important document so had to relate my experience accurately] so, while Becca & Trina & Steve went to the Courthouse, I rewrote my statement & a lady typed it etc & drove me down. It was 11:00 & everyone was coming out – cameras everywhere ..Mr & Mrs Perrem, Strooper & Fisher [parents of the deceased] all trying to avoid them. Court had adjourned until Guy (the driver) could arrive (they’d waited all morning for him- wrong date issued on his summons) so, killed an hour with Trina & Edith. So, actually started again at 12:00 – stopped at 1:00 for lunch (so boring waiting- the detective on for that hour) Mum dropped me at school- got things from Ms. Forbes. Sat Yr 12 area. Mark went to drive in Fri. night & Tamara’s party saturday “Forgot” to ring me. That hurts. And all he could do is laugh. Mum picked me up at end of lunch hour – I bought lunch, then waited outside again (Glyn, Steven, Trina, Edith, Brian etc..) Finally, around 3:00, Yru first one in. In for 20 mins (shitting ourselves) Recess then Steven L, Sean D & me .. not really scary – I felt like laughing- [laughter is my default stress response…] wanted to be asked more Q’s ..got $31 for it! & photo for Courier Mail! News coverage wasn’t “hot” ..Steven, Glyn were in background!!!!!!!

Tuesday 15/9/87

A Life in Words
Part of Tuesday’s article on the inquest in the Cairns Post. Note Detective Brooks’ opinion (second paragraph)

Today, everything ran according to schedule. We sat in the hearing until about 11:00; the machinery inspector (an engineer) (inspector of bus remains) was in for all that time & basically what came out of it was that there was no handbrake at all, the rear brakes were not operational (the adjustment was very ‘out of place’ incorrect) [To clarify: the bus had, prior to its fateful journey, received a service by Northland’s mechanics specifically on the brakes only a week before, after the driver Guy had complained about them failing at an intersection in the CBD. The service (the ‘adjustment’) was improper; the mechanics were negligent] & the whole frame of the bus was rust infested (hence the roof slicing off) […and this was the fault of the previous owner of the bus (who appears on the stand later on). See the news clipping below Wednesday’s entry…] Did my biol. test .. it was rather easy for the little amount of study I did (some things I’d neglected to look at stuck me, tho I know I’ll pass at least). Didn’t talk to Mark at all at school .. went to Home Ec room with Justine & Fi & had some cake. Fi was really interested in what was going on. She wants a copy of the records, too (a manuscript) [I still have the a copy of the findings in my possession to this day…] I missed out on the guy who saw the bus go over the edge [there was only one witness to the accident, who wasn’t actually involved in it, that is…] & quite a few student testimonies, but after lunch another inspector (a mechanic) took up nearly all afternoon, just re-iterating what the guy this morning had said. Made news again tonight. I wasn’t in the Courier Mail today, maybe tomorrow. [Ah, the Ego!] Rang Mark this arvy . . talked long about (well jokes about) me being evil & horrid & satantistic & him being good & innocent (Bullshit!) Getting warmer (courthouse is airconditioned) [← believe it or not, airconditioning wasn’t standard in all buildings in FNQ back in the 80’s, unlike today. We definitely felt summer in our classrooms at school!] Got my shorts from Kaffa but they’re too short – take em back, but you can’t [I think I meant, I wanted to return them, but couldn’t for ? reason…?]

A Life in WordsWednesday 16/9/87

Well, Mark was the first up today; there were quite a few students today -Cameron, Brent, mima, Fiona, jason, bella, jaque & Mark to name a few. The courthouse was packed in the morning (Mark stayed for it) but spare seats in the afternoon – boring mechanic (brake specialist) testimony -went on for ages (he was being rather “evasive” – Mr McKenzie said when we talked to him at lunch & were filmed – yeah! I was on T.V.! (NQ10) Lunch went quickly. Still haven’t started my english assignment. SHIT. Due Friday. I rang Mark this arvy, cos’ Fi told me she heard Tricia talking about the Drive-In (I got worried) but he was at Terry’s. He rang back around 7:30 and it was probably one of the best talks we’ve had for ages . . I mean he was being really nice and he said “I love you” again, which made me feel even better. He said he wants to spend time just me & him together on the holidays.. which I also enjoyed hearing from him. Forgot to  take back the shorts from Kaffa today. Must do it tomorrow. […buuuut I thought you couldn’t?] Wore my white mini skirt in public today – actually felt more confident & care-free than I have ever!! [Perhaps because I was attending an ‘event’ that directly related to my scarring. If people saw it, they were more likely to “put two and two together”…and be compassionate. Not that anyone has ever been unsympathetic (or nasty) to me about my scar anyway…] WOW!! SO BORING IN COURTROOM – MAKES YOU SLEEPY!A Life in WordsThe tone of this article (a recap of Tuesday’s evidence) indicates the bus company and the mechanics were at fault: both a government engineer & a transport inspector saying as much.

Thursday 17/9/87

A Life in Words
This is where the inquest seems to make a turn against the driver. Monique’s father questioned the ‘independant’ brake specialist and some of my testimony features in this article, although true to the media’s form, they spelled my name incorrectly…

A Life in WordsIt’s 11:00; I’ve just finished a few ‘choices’ for my english assignment (descriptive passages) Only 2 that I’m happy with, in fact. But it’ll have to do. Who cares? (Me, of course) Today, Glyn, Cameron, Mark came to see Chris (he wasn’t on til after lunch tho’.) (Cameron, Mark & some others were on T.V, too) Well the previous owner was on the stand today & the prick has pretty well laid the blame on Guy [the bus driver]. I heard Guy could get “manslaughter”. It’s not fair he doesn’t deserve it. [Obviously I personally laid NO blame at the feet of the driver …even prior to the inquiry. In fact, from the word go, I never felt an ounce of animosity toward him (and of all those I knew, neither did anyone else). Why? Well, it’s hard to fathom but I think it basically boils down to pure compassion. Knowing this man would live with the deaths of eight children hanging over him for the rest of his life… that burden would be insufferable alone. He didn’t deserve the added torture of others’ ill-will or negativity. I only ever viewed him as a victim, like us. It was the bus’s fault (and therefore the company’s) …not this man.] It’s because he was in too high a gear (3 hi, instead of 3 low) Big diff, huh? [Well, clearly enough of a difference to be used against the driver…] This shithead owner reckons he could’ve made the trip down safely. [Oh.. would that be the same owner whose incompetent maintenance in the rusted out chassis of the bus resulted in its roof shearing off? Not quite a respected person, in my books…] What a shithead. Poor Guy. [What I failed to mention here is that it only took ONE one hour lesson to get a bus license. This previous owner of the bus – who claims to have expertly traversed the Gillies in that very bus many times himself – also happened to have been Guy’s instructor. (See Friday’s clippings) What I really want to know – and it didn’t come up at least in my recollection – is whether any trainee driver would be instructed how to negotiate a mountain range in one one hour lesson? Somehow, I highly doubt it. Yes, clearly I am still biased towards Guy, all these years later.] Mark was being quite a sweetie today – smiling a lot, a little affection I changed those shorts (refund) & got an excellent pair for $36 at GOOD TIME, get this – with a free tan leather belt (after I forked out $12 for one – shit this free one’s even a closer colour to my shoes than the $12) Saw Vikki & Gemila in Big W this arvy ..they’re funny. Dropped ½ my lunch at the Esplanade today (made me angry) God I need sleep. Ate SNAKES in courtroom. Mark, Cam & Keith told to stop talking or they’d get thrown out.

Friday 18/9/87
[Articles from this morning’s Cairns Post, re-capping Thursday’s proceedings…and looking grim for the bus driver]

A Life in WordsA Life in WordsIt’s SHIT. Results of today were absolute SHIT. First, at inquest, we heard the addresses. It seemed certain Guy would get some charge- almost every barrister was against him. But his representative put up a good arguement. Then Mr McKenzie spoke, accentuating the company’s fault. [After all, had Guy not been made to take that company’s unroadworthy, malfunctioning vehicle up the Gillies Range to begin with, his driving skills would never have been questioned.] Mr Perrem & Mr Strooper also spoke (both nervous – Mr Perrem shaking terribly) After recess, the judge related his findings I cried at the mention of Monique’s form of death + earlier when  her death certificates were handed up as exhibits etc.) A Life in WordsThe stupid shithead found Guy to be driving recklessly, causing death [So the official charge against him was Dangerous Driving Causing Death] Cameras reporters outside. Mum was interviewed on FNQ10 News. [She expressed her dissatisfaction with the outcome.] NO ONE agreed with his decision: the mechanics got off SCOT-FREE IT’S UNBELIEVABLE. What sort of dick, prick, cunt, wanker is Trevor Pollock? [One whom I personally believe may have potentially been instructed by a higher power to find scapegoat. Yes, I have my own conspiracy theory, which I won’t disclose simply because it is – of course – conjecture.] Fi, Jo & I after dropping my eng. assign. at school, stayed in town all arvy.. I got some $15 jeans from KAFFA – need taking in at the waist, tho- but they’re great. Mum, Jules & I went late nite: I got a tape, too. See I rang Mark at home & he wasn’t in a good mood at all – last night [privacy omission] So apparently everyone’s shitty with Mark. not his fault. So I thought “great”, another boring night… depending on his mood tomorrow, we might do something sat. night SHIT

A Life in WordsSaturday 19/9/87

[I chose this particular news clipping from my collection because it was the most succinct article, but also exactly highlights the sentiments of the wider community about the inquest results: shock & disbelief that the mechanics & the bus company were liberated of any responsibility. Monique’s father poses the question that everyone wanted the answer to… see the third last paragraph of the article. (I’ve deliberately broken the  article up into segments (separate photos) so that the text can be more easily read.)A Life in Words

A Life in WordsA Life in Words

Today I did very little. . I re-arranged or, re-organized my drawers in my desk, then wrote the overdue birthday thank-you letters. [Yep, that’s VERY overdue: my birthday was in July.] I rang Mark around 3:00, he was feeling better today – [privacy omission] (Bad, huh?) He said he’d ring me back .. by 6:00 I thought I’d ring him, it was getting late. So we mucked around talking – he didn’t know what he was doing – I got upset -he said he’d ring back. I rang Fi & Jo & decided to go to Judd’s party with them. When Mark rang back he said they were going to Steve’s & then if they went out after, would I like to go? Well I said I’d be at Judd’s. Sure enough, they came & Mark was rather drunk. I kept my eye on him.. I noticed him kissing this girl at the bar & I got upset. He smoked a cigar & I was repulsed. To cut the story short; we argued & he broke us up. A Life in WordsI’ve never cried so much in my life. I begged, pleaded & threatened [crossed over to the next page…]

Sunday 20/9/87

him not to do it, but he .. oh shit, it hurts so much. There’s so many things. He kept saying he killed it: 9 months down the drain with [privacy omission] he doesn’t even know (well I know: Trisha F according to Deanne – St Monica’s slut. And I nearly hit her) […now that I can’t believe…] I tried my hardest to talk it out with Mark. [privacy omission] I had to walk home got to sleep 1:30, woke at 2:30, 3:30, 4 & got up at 6:00 – couldn’t sleep & had no appetite all day (did nothing ..some crash scrapbook) SO WORRIED. SO. DEPRESSED SO UPSET. I planned to go to his place to take his denim jacket back & talk. It was so hard .. he wasn’t going to change his mind. I couldn’t understand what he said. .he, I remember, “forget me, elissa. I’m no good for you. You’re making a mistake.” DON’T MARK. How can you say that? [Maybe because he was being honest?] Finally, I convinced him he said we’ll have a break, till he wants to get in touch again.. but I can’t handle even that. I need him. [Urgh. Those words most certainly do not exist in my vocabulary now.] I was looking forward to the holidays with him, so much. FUCK THAT PARTY. FUCK IT [Sorry honey, but that party – and everything that happened at it – was necessary…]

As an afterthought, I decided to include this article from Sunday’s paper, penned by the father of one of my Year 12 classmates (who obviously had a vested interest in covering the inquest) He highlights what is to me an exquisite and genuine human virtue: Selflessness Sun 20 Sep headline

A Life in Words

Sleep Struggles, Cramming & My First Monique Dream (15-21 June)

Monday 15/6/87

Today was non-stop for me! I had an extremely restless night – finally got to sleep round 11:30 then woke up a number of times during the night .. so tired this morning. [Stress will do that to you…] At school, when Mark came we sat & talked a little – he’s sick again. .. the headache & mainly very sore throat. After parade, had double chem.. catching up on pracs. then maths I busily worked fixing up [computer] programmes. . even worked into little lunch, trying to catch up on one programme (with Mark’s printout) so ½ way thru little lunch, I drop my bag at artroom & race off to give Mark his printout, before he left ..walked back with him to artroom (he needed paint). He left during 4th ..double art I did a bit of painting when Ms Marsland finished talking to us; that (painting) went into lunch hour, so went up to computer room & tried a few little programmes. Bell went; in english I copied out notes on novel & play for revision, then in bio got test (mark) back & fixed up all mistakes. A Life in WordsMum took me home . . I sat studying maths till about 6:30. Rang Mark briefly, then watched TV the rest of the night. So it’s now 9:45. And I’m not at all ready for this math exam(s) I really should’ve tried harder to catch up. my fault. [Ownership!] Big failure tomorrow.

Tuesday 16/6/87

A Life in Words
This isn’t the original portrait, but it certainly is yet another failed attempt…

Man, am I in a great mood! I just had a big (and I mean MASSIVE) attack of laughter (not giggles . . it was cackle) Man, was it fun! I don’t know why either! [And it doesn’t matter! It was scientifically verified quite some time ago that Laughter reduces Stress thanks to ‘positive’ hormonal responses = lifting one’s mood!] See, Maths Prac.. I think I’ll pass (just) because I managed to learn trapezoidal method before we went in .. & that happened to be the Q. [Oh and have I ever needed to refer to Trapezoidal Method again in my life (to date)? I’ll give you one guess…] But, after 2½ hours study time after it (& for lunch) I wrote out the rest of my maths I [this ‘I’ denotes ‘One’ …as opposed to another separate subject, known as ‘Maths II’ …or Maths ‘Two’…!] notes (programmes etc) But to no avail. Come the test, Elissa leaves at least 5 Q’s totally blank & writes crap for all the rest. Fact was ..I wasn’t even worried cos’ I knew from the outset I’d fail (but by how much? – HEAPS, I think) [Lower expectations = less Stress?] Then again So’d everybody else.. not many will pass that exam I think. Talked a fair bit to Mark, “in-between” ..being “sweet” today.. liked it. This arvy (Jason drove us home) did artwork of Monique & Erica, but is nowhere near them, like Mark is of his portrait. [Photo-realistic artwork can be so hit-and-miss…] so I rubbed them out v. angrily. wasted the arvy & night will have to cram for english tomorrow morning. just, really, have to learn quotes, poems & read over examples & notes. BASIC! (Ha, ha) Is 9:10. GOD, I FEEL GOOD!!

Wednesday 17/6/87

This morning I spent trying to find quotes and it was pointless. At the last minute, mum took me to school. Mark came late & sat on the other side of the room  I did not do well at all. It was a very hard english exam (of the 3 I’ve now had at CHS, [one per semester so; two in Year 11 + this Yr 12 first semester = 3] it’s the one I feel worst about.) Oh dear; I’m not doing well! Mark barely talked after – left almost straight away – his sinuses are playing up now. That’s probly why. [Another confusing statement, thanks to poor grammar… I’m thinking I meant he “probly” “barely talked” to me because of his “sinuses playing up” This composition doesn’t really help to illustrate how good an English student I was, huh?] Mum picked me up & took me home. This arvy, I did almost nothing. Tried to do art, tried a little bio study but I was too tired- lay down all arvy. And watched TV tonight (the movie too – umah! it’s 10:10 too late!) Fine today (hot too) Oh, I’m tired – what a fool I am. Thinking about Monique a lot today (dreamt about her for the 1st time since the crash, last night) Dreamt her ghost was with me – everywhere ..we talked & did all the things we would normally do. It’s not fair. She shouldn’t have died. She didn’t deserve it. I didn’t deserve it. I need her. I want her. [Wow, SO many things to address here, relative to the beliefs I have formed over the years: firstly, Death is only ‘undeserved’ if our perception of it is a Bad Thing. And I now think it’s not at all. (Perhaps the way you end life is more frightening than Death itself?) I believe wherever we ‘go’ after is actually our true ‘Home’. A Life in WordsEach life is a journey (of tests and/or merely ‘Experience’). So maybe she DID deserve it? Maybe she had served her purpose and deserved to be free of her “meatsuit” (body) and the trials of mortal life? We (me, her family et al) who she left here could certainly feel jibbed because her physical departure is our loss. The truth is, no one needs anyone. We can certainly want them but the Futility, that only perpetuates Pain…]

Thursday 18/6/87

Well, I’m bugared. It’s about 11:10. I just got told by Julia that it’s time to go to bed. [A wee dig at my little sister, for “bossiness”?!] I am tired, but I bet I won’t get to sleep soon. My sleep has been terrible for the last 2 weeks, or so. And it’s not doing me any good. Well, I stuffed my biol. prac. no way I could pass that (except for a miracle) that’s why I think I “knuckled down” tonight – gotta do ‘excellently’ in my theory to keep me up there. I wasted this morning – didn’t get to do any of my art because there was an art exam in our room. SHIT! I spent the time in the library, doing biol instead. Mark barely talked, but I know he’s not shitty with me. Anyway I rang him tonight – about 20mins- we got on O.K. He’s getting better finally … just his throat (& that terrible cough) now. Good-o! Boring day. It actually fined-up, but raining few minutes ago. Well 11:15 now. TOO LATE A NIGHT! Please God, help me do exceedingly wonderful[ly!] in my biol. theory!

Friday 19/6/87

It’s 10:00 now. I’m not in a great mood today well – I’m a little depressed. Mark barely talked to me today. It’s getting me down; he’s not shitty or angry with me, I know, but he barely talks to me. Anyway, after the biol. exam, he went to study & that’s the last I saw of him. I went to the art room at finished my painting. [“at finished my painting”? No, not a typo, I actually wrote that in my diary.. not thinking clearly?] Left school around 2:50. He was still in his exam. He didn’t ring me tonight (this arv.) So I rang him, around 6:50. Very short phone call. He was going to town with Keith. I can’t explain why I felt so miserable – I was ready to cry. Why didn’t he want to spend the night with me? I’m feeling neglected. I want to be loved. I haven’t had time with him for around 2 weeks.. doesn’t he miss that? I can’t understand how he feels. Jesus, I need a better diary next year. . so I can write as much as I want -2 or 3 pages. Now 10:30 -movie is finished. Got to sleep around midnight last nite (as I thought) &  woke at 6:30 this morning. What’s wrong with me?

Saturday 20/6/87

I wasn’t excessively worried, but a little disappointed (yet just as I had expected) when I didn’t get a phonecall from Mark. I spent the whole day talking to Julia, Amanda (laughing!) watching TV (the sat. morning music shows), after reading the paper (believe it or not) [Even now, I hardly watch TV news let alone read newspapers…] Well, I decided not to vege out at home – rang Fi – she was out, so rang Sharon. I went to her place then we left for the pancake house. Long talk! A Life in WordsLots to catch up on! Then to see Les Patterson Saves The World and Playing For Keeps. Les Patt. is very sick humour – Playing for keeps is O.K.!! At her place, had hot chocolate then bombed! I was so tired! – 12:45. (the day had fined up! sunny! Yay! I did no. chem. study – umah!) thought about Mark a far bit esp. trying to get to sleep- but I always do!

Sunday 21/6/87

Woke around, god, can’t remember, but I had a good sleep there (if only it could’ve been longer ie. gotten to bed earlier! My black bags still haven’t gone – big as ever!) Well, after brekky, went to Holloways Beach for about 1½hrs. (about 10:30-12:00) The back of my right leg is burnt! (scars pink!) Saw Giles S and Brendan L. Talked a little (about the crash) at Sharon’s, before she got ready for hockey and dropped me home on her way there. I knew it – I dreaded asking “No phone calls?” Nope. So I spent the rest of the afternoon doing nothing- the weather was beautiful – mum’s room so cool: I just sat lazing. It was great! Tonite I rang Fi …she said I should ring him. I wanted to, anyway but wanted her opinion. He was in the shower -rang back about 30mins later (I was annoyed!) Talk was O.K. Not exciting, but he wasn’t shitty with me. We are going to the movies tomorrow nite – I had to organise it as usual. Mima & polly just “dropped in” – walking with their family.. embarrassing – I had only my P.J. shirt on – my fat legs showing!! [I wonder how ‘fat’ they actually were? I’m skeptical about that, because of my poor self-image] Watching mini-series now. It’s 9:20 will be another late night.

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.

The Bath Breakdown & A Thunderstorm Shock (2-8 March)

Monday 2/3/87A Life in Words

I AM HOME. It’s not quite as different as I thought it’d be. . . [a great example of the Mind’s potential to create “a mountain out of a molehill”…] but I don’t think I’ve had enough time to think about things etc. I was ‘lucky’ (in a way) to be allowed to come home- I’m not allowed to go anywhere.. I can walk on the crutches for 1 hour per day – the other 23 I have to spend with my leg “up”, relaxing. Great, huh?! Mark didn’t ring – I thought perhaps he might .. But, no. My leg gets funny feelings through it – some painful, some not. I had a shower this arvy (at hospital) – Went home around 3:15 – got home 3:30. Lots of visitors – Fishers, Mandy, mima & family & fi. Oh, now to sleep. I wish I’d seen or heard from Mark- I hope I get some mail from him or something… a letter I’d really like. Oh well. Next monday 1:30→ take off dressing! Until then – boredom at home (?!???!!) Rather ‘doubted’ leaving this morning but Kerri [the social worker whom I had adopted as my counsellor] “helped” me change my mind. Brewers gave us their video & TV. UNREAL!!

Tuesday 3/3/87

In the shower tonight –  I really cried. I think that was my “breakdown” or, maybe the start of it. [I’m a tad confused: I vividly remember suffering a breakdown (a crying ‘tantrum’) but my memory places me in the bath – not the shower – looking down at, and bawling over, my ugly, deformed, scarred thigh (and all the death wishes that went with it)… but I just mentioned that my dressing wasn’t being removed (by the hospital doctor/s) for another week yet. Hmmm. Strange.] Boring-ish day. A Life in WordsSpent my morning hours (alone- mum at work) doing thank-you letters. [It was an etiquette our mother – via our grandmother – had instilled in us] When mum came home, we watched Norman Gunston tapes (on video) – Brewers gave their video to us, with a TV!! Julia came home & the Brewers- Mrs B. Polly & mima and fi came over. Watched Zapped on video. TV watching tonight. Toilet’s easy to go to Mrs McI also came over- Donald [her son] is so tall & skinny (& cute!) [Just to clarify, he was a child so this ‘cute’ definitely did not relate to physical attraction…] No letter, phone call (let alone a visit) from Mark. Hope he does get in (some form of) contact must go to the loo again. Rather warm day, rain & thunderstorm tonight. More visitors (& boring hrs) tomorrow? . . . Who knows. Slept alright last night. . hope so again 2nite.

Wednesday 4/3/87

Got a little upset in the shower again tonight but nowhere (I think) near as bad as last night. Delanie rang!! [Privacy omission] Short talk – she said she’d ring back in a couple of weeks (when I’m able to walk, I gather)→ when I’m back at school. Got a (monstrous) letter from Tania & (small one) Mrs M. Wrote to Tania 10 pages! Watched “Lampoon’s VACATION” on video today & “YOUNG ONES” & “D Generation”. A Life in WordsBig sore zit near my right eye. Jacque also rang – big thunder storm – had to hang up – I saw a spark & heard a “pop” on the line. [That gave me a bit of a fright… our parents had warned us about using the phone during thunderstorms: the danger of receiving an electric shock. Turns out it’s definitely not an Old Wives Tale either: the Mythbusters have tested it (see here) so I guess I was “very lucky” this time…] Oh, wish Mark’d call … or come over. (at least write a letter) Missing him already. Damn it. Hope I can save heaps of money (or win the lotto) so I can go to USA with Mark next year (if he wants me to) – HOPE SO! HOT!

Thursday 5/3/87

Mark rang this arvy – we had a long phone call .. about 1½-2hrs (??) at least (??) NO! about 1 hr at the least. And it started off usual ‘bickering’ but then a kind of “arguement” or disagreement – all about my trusting him & mainly, my ‘attitudes’. [Doesn’t it take two to Tango?] But it ended not so bad. Also, Crabbe rang. Good old talk to him Too (Fi came over this arvy – stayed for quite awhile) Delanie’s coming over Saturday, but so’s Mark. Oh! Boring day today. Watched music video. I missed the Last Starfighter cos’ I was talking to Mark. Another big thunderstorm. Mum was worried – see yesterday, on the phone to Jacque during a storm, I heard a “pop” on the line & it scared me to death- you’re not s’posed to be on the phone during a storm – could get electrocuted – [Uh-huh. So why did you repeat the experiment? I clearly wasn’t frightened enough by yesterday’s experience?] But it was alright – storm went away quickly. I do trust him now. I believe everything he tells me- it’s the truth. A Life in Words[Right. That sounds suspiciously like someone trying to convince herself…] I weighed myself. GUESS WHAT? 55KG WOW! I’m 55kg! shower wasn’t so bad 2nite. talked to Mark about the crash also. He doesn’t really like talking about it.

Friday 6/3/87

Fi came down again this arvy. I also saw Sandra H. I’m busting to go to the loo now! Guess what? Ngaire R is having a party tomorrow night &  it seems everybody’s going. NOT FAIR. Couldn’t they put it off one week? [Sure, JUST for YOU… I so hated “missing out” on things…] Not fair. (Still, I guess I’d look funny turning up to a party on crutches.) [People have turned up to parties looking a lot worse, I’m sure…] Did “nothing” again today (Mrs McI came down- got my [Speech & Drama] certificate – grade 5) besides watch 2 videos. In the morning, I read memorial programmes and had a little crying session over Monique. I even had a little talk to her. I feel guilty that I only think about Monique. [Compassionate to a fault? Am I really beating myself up for loving and missing one soul more than the other seven I didn’t have as strong a connection with? Apart from being too hard on myself it also demonstrates – on the upside – how ‘evenly’ I value all life…] She’s the one I ‘miss’ the most – the only one I think of & really cry over. [I think it’s excusable, Liss] I thought Mrs McI was her mum, this morning (similar car) Had a heart attack! Watched TV movie. Silly. No thunderstorm today. Fi said Mark said he’s playing golf with the other guys 2morrow & coming over sunday instead. No phone call from Mark. Fi said he said he doesn’t know if he’ll go to the party- but thinks yes maybe. Wonder if he will – if so, what he’ll do?

Saturday 7/3/87

Boring! Nah! Justine F & Mr Paddy & Lainie & Leah (& Deborah & Mrs C. later) and Michael B & Amanda (staying the night) & mima & Mrs B. & Dad & Jenny. That’s about it (cherie for a few minutes, too!) for today. (I heard Mark got 4th (out of 4 people) in golf today! Cameron 1st, Glyn 2nd, Steven 3rd & him last!) Wonder if he’s at Ngairie’s party – it’s gonna be so BIG. BITCH that I can’t go. Bloody pain in the tit. [..as opposed to arse. I think ‘tit’ was my mum’s preferred word because it wasn’t as ‘crass’.] I think there’s some ‘discharge’ where the skin was taken from – it’s “weeping”. We rang hospital – said no worries – Dad’n’Jenny said not to worry too. Oh dear. A Life in WordsWasn’t noticeably too hot today. Bloody mozzies. Watched Zapped, Last Starfighter – Young Ones tape (½) & ½ of Singing in the Rain. Also, Robinsons gave us their VHS so we went (well, mum jules & Amanda went) & got out SPIES LIKE US. God, it’s good! One & ½ more days to go!! Yay!!

 Sunday 8/3/87

Mark came around 2:30 and (I didn’t think he was coming) left around 5:45. I think he was bored lots of the time – he did go to the party – left at 1:30, went home. The ambulance man came this arvy, while he was here & we were talking about our position on the bus- I know where we ended up now. [Partly helping to clear up the confusion I experienced while pinned under the bus, looking out a hole in the ‘undercarriage’ wondering how the trees I could see were still standing. I was completely disoriented. If you (somehow) missed it, this link will take you back to the full horrific tale on 4 February.] Mrs Strooper came this morning – talked pretty well! [This was the second time Erica’s mother had visited me; the first was while I was in hospital, and it hadn’t been a joyful meeting (possibly why I didn’t record it in my diary). She was naturally very distressed, her grief was so fresh; she needed answers. All I remember was her asking me lots of questions that started with “why?” …but they were unanswerable. Like, “why did Erica get on that bus?” Understandably, the encounter was very uncomfortable: apart from the natural compassion for her incredible suffering, I felt useless and depressed by my inability to answer her: I was too young and inexperienced to know that I wasn’t ‘responsible’ ..to supply the answers, that is.] (She gave me about 5 photos – most of myself – a ‘big’ one of Monique & Erica (really beautiful) & a beautiful (although blurred) photo of the 5 of us. Really nice. Mark was being rather (concealed) nice ‘fore he left… still no kiss. I think we both feel ‘afraid’ again. I dunno. Watched videos all day. Boring for Mark, I’m sure. I felt terrible (even when the ambulance man was here, talking ’bout the crash) Cameron & Glyn came in for a few secs before mark left. No conversation really. A little hot 2day Slept terribly last night – so restless. Hope it’s better tonight. Hospital tomorrow!!!

A Life in Words
This was the large photo of Monique & Erica that Erica’s mother gave to me. Such beautiful girls xx

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.

The Day After: Heartbreak (5 February)

Thursday 5/2/87

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Monique..”

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

“was one of them.”

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

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

“MONIQUE, NOOOOOO, MONIQUE, MONIQUE…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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