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

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Thigh Numbness, Inquest Prep & A ‘Pissy’ Weekend (7-13 September)

Monday 7/9/87

I got out of doing my bio test tomorrow. I’ll have to do it Friday big lunch into 6th period, tute (CAD for me). But I’m not “off the hook”… my Maths will not be “good” . . I’ll stuff it, I’m sure. If I can learn the theory tonite & try to revise more prac. stuff (problems) tomorrow, maybe I’ll scrape through. Fi, & mima went home at little lunch- Joannah wasn’t even at school. Mark stayed.. I hung around him, Chris, Cameron, Steven at big lunch (laughed so much → my stomach muscles are so sore after the weekend) [!!!] Also, strangely (and fucking very annoyingly & disturbingly & upsettingly) my left knee, above it – inside thigh is numb. Been like that for the whole day (since last night) WHY? Hope its not permanent. [It wasn’t. But my concern was borne of the struggle to accept the permanence of the scar on my right leg. During a consult with a ‘revisive’ (plastic) surgeon only a few weeks earlier (see Saturday’s entry in this post) the penny dropped: it was affirmed, I realised and had to begin to accept, that my body could not ‘right’ (heal) this injury to the extent that it could render other superficial flesh wounds (virtually) invisible over time. The damage was too great, the result was permanent and I, as a teenaged girl obsessed (just like any other) with body image, had to come to terms with this. Any wonder I was nervous?] A Life in WordsActually started Fash. Des. work in art today . [Considering fashion design had been one of my strongest career dreams this would have been exciting for me.] Got separated for talking in english . [Ha! That’s a rare occurrence.] Handed in about 4 pracs in chem this morning. I’ll be so glad when this week’s over!! It’s 10:36 – hope I’m not too tired during the exam 2morrow

Tuesday 8/9/87

Ha, ha. Fail in maths, severely. left out 2Q’s (each worth 4 marks) to begin with (the last 2) & all the rest I practically am “hoping” they’re right. /40 I’ll probly get about 5 -no more than 15 for sure. Did chem HW tonite (nothing really substantial tho’.. must try 2morrow morning, then esp. at night: exam Thursday.) Found out during lunch & 6th on Friday – we’ll be at the courthouse, going thru’ proceedings with police (or whatever) [The bus crash inquiry (“death inquest”) was to begin next week. This was a big deal not just for me, but everyone involved in the crash …and pretty much the entire Cairns community…] Postpone biol. exam yet again! Chem. lecture tomorrow (I think) Wonder if it’s interschool? Hope so. [You wanna perve don’tcha, Liss?] Hot day → cloudy towards the end. I’m addicted to Kit Kats A Life in Words[and I’d say they’re probably still one of my top picks IF I were coaxed into buying a commercial chocolate…] (choc. in general) I must give it up- I’m getting fatter & my face is starting to break out again. Oh no! It’s 9:40 now. Earlier nite than previous 4 or 5 nights. Free dress day Friday, too. I want to party this weekend!! G’night!

Wednesday 9/9/87

Mark was away today. that’s the main thing. Aside from that, the chem lecture was (interschool – only some schools & not many people at all -held at Civic Centre) boring. [I was most likely comparing this event to last year’s, at which (unbeknownst to me, until a few days later) I was ‘noticed’ by an attractive guy from another school. (Check out Friday’s and Sunday’s entries in this post if you’d like the background) So perhaps I had my radar up, hoping for some kind of similar experience?] Cameron distracting. [Just as he was in every all of my chem classes!] Fiona’s going to Saint’s formal too, now. Not fair! Everyone is, it seems! Well I’ll just have to spend the whole weekend with Mark to make up for it. [Well, that’s interesting: it sounds very much like spending time with your boyfriend comes second to attending a social event (at which there’d potentially be many attractive guys) with your friends. Hmm… why are you in this relationship again?] We’ll probably end up going to the party afterwards, anyway. Cloudy day. * More junk today – I can’t help myself. A Life in WordsOn the scales this arvy (I expected them to break) I weighed only 61½kgs- I thought I’d be well over 64! Lucky! [Scales don’t mean anything. Really, how much of that weight is fat and how much lean tissue?] But I feel fat & my skins not too good. [That’s a better indicator of your health. What’s happening at the cellular level?] Wonder why on earth Mark was away? Julia said she saw them driving Sheridan Street just around 3:00 or something heading north cairns direction. Would like to have rung him- had they the phone on at David’s.. . he got 25 for maths exam! (I got 22 so surprised I passed!) Also gorgeous (& funny) photos I saw of Mark (& Steven) that are going in the Euroka [our school magazine/yearbook]. SO TIRED. WILL POSSIBLY FAIL CHEM TOO. Strangely, I don’t feel I will, though. Hopefully…

Thursday 10/9/87

Chemistry? What a frigging laugh! I know I have 3 marks, for sure. I’ll get more than 15 I think, but it’s /50 so that’s not good enough. Mark said he slept yesterday & watched videos & when julia saw them, was when they were going to the “wreckers” to get a something-or-other for the fuel tank (a lid?) So, art was boring cause people were in town doing the fence-painting.. Ms . Marsland interviewing CAD music kids at Trinity Bay. English bludge – Mr G. away: talked to Mr McKenzie. [our principle – he may have been caretaking our class? That didn’t happen often…] Lunchtime was fun : Yr 11 girls/Yr 12 guys feud ..makes me laugh!! So funny! Went late night with Fi tonite (had to do grocery shopping  for her mum – who’s sick) (!!!) Could not find anything I liked, to wear for tomorrow Not a single thing. Fi &I were so pissed off_ we actually had money to spend, but there was nothing we wanted to spend it on. A Life in WordsMark & Keith appeared (pinched my bum hard) disappeared, then reappeared before they left. Mark wanted me to buy him a shirt or something . too bad! Sweetie!!! (yukky word) Cutie! Yeah! [Oh mah Gawd] Well only biol. exam Tues. & english assign. for Friday. ∗ Gonna rage this weekend!!!! [Expectation …can lead to Disappointment…]

Friday 11/9/87

I’m tired – it’s 10:00 – I’m going to do something tomorrow night, no matter what. Pissed off, I am pissed off. I know I shouldn’t be, and I don’t want to be, but deep down I am. I went late nite shopping (with Julia) with Cameron (and as it turned out, Glyn, Deanne & Her sister) and it was so boring. Again, I saw some stuff, but nothing I thought was actually worth buying. I thought it’d be good & get my mind off Mark going to the [House on the] Hill [nightclub] tonight (Glyn was too, I think) Cameron didn’t want to & I don’t know about Steven Anyway, he was quite affectionate (well, his responses to me were very good) after school (when, incidentally, he said he wouldn’t go late night shopping with me, but denied he was going to the Hill. “Ring you tomorrow” he said) Got 24¼/50 for chem. Much better than I thought (almost passed!) [My how attitudes change! In primary school and at my previous high school (Smithfield High) this would literally have been the End of the World. Anything less than a High Achievement ‘killed’ me. I guess it’s a positive that I learnt (by default: losing interest in schoolwork due to my burgeoning social & love lives since the switch to Cairns High) to accept failure/disappointment with less Stress?] Busy day really : appointment with Ms Forbes took a while (I wore all black today) Mark wore his green shirt. I love it – so spunky! Trip to Courthouse was short really.. Trina, Becca G & I will have to be crossexamined cause we didn’t write statements .. will have to tell our story & will then be questioned. SHIT!

A Life in Words
I received my summons to appear in court for the bus crash inquest on 24 July.

Saturday 12/9/87

After a pissy night last night, I wanted a great night tonight –  seems everybody, everything is against me. […here we go…] I went to town this morning with Julia & mum & finally bought some tan shoes from Sportsgirl (you guessed it – to wear tonight) (After last nite – I slept badly waking lots – hoping Mark’d  come to my window, like I am now) So I waited all arvy. Around 3:30-4:00, I got a little tense; still no call, let alone visit. [….and I couldn’t contact him because he was staying at a place where there was no phone…] (I’d seen him (& he saw us) in his car around 12:00, when we  were on our way home & he waved) I’m SO hurt. I couldn’t stop tears now & then. He said he’d ring me & he didn’t. He must’ve forgotten (& that really hurts – to think he could forget me) After being out last night, without me, doesn’t he want to see me tonight? I am so hurt. So, of course, I stayed home even after making a skirt to wear as well. I want to get angry with him but I know I won’t. [Just as well… it wouldn’t do any good. But you have other options…] GOD IT HURTS. How could he “forget” me & if he didn’t , why didn’t he call? There’s no excuse. What’s he doing now? Who’s he with[For all your claims about trusting him…] God, I worry too much. NO! I’VE GOT THE  RIGHT to be worried & HURTA Life in Words

Sunday 13/9/87

I was still pissed-off (hurt) today, but it was wearing thin(-ner). I rang Fi around 11:00 – she said Jay’s BBQ wasn’t very good because Chris H rolled his car (8 or so people in it) at the bottom of Petersen St. Made Fi feel sick after that. [I can imagine: rolling bus, rolling car… too similar a feeling. I still react to excessive speed on right-hand curves to this day. A fast veer left doesn’t ignite a vague, deep-seated panic in me like the righthand turn.] I did nothing, really, all day (should’ve studied biology or done English assignment) Half-hoping Mark’d call or visit. But, alas (??), no. I thought how I’d be angry with him. So we got ready to go to the LeBerhz’s around 4:00 – leaving just after 5:00. Watched TV & video there – also talked alot about the crash, inquiry & showed my photos. Was quite good. At home, 9:30 I knew it – message for me to ring Mark (where?) […was he back at his parents’ house where there was a phone, now?] but mum said it was too late. [Our general rule was no phone calls after 7:30-8pm. It’s one I still follow today and, to be honest, I usually won’t answer my phone if someone calls after those times too. Night time is quiet time for me. (But I’m also not one for talking on the phone much anyway…)] So now I’m ready for bed: not yet too nervous about tomorrow. When will I call Mark? Where do I call him? I’ll see him tomorrow lunchtime : I will be nonchalant to him – but get angry if I need to (ha, ha as if I could.) Well I’ll try. [Entertaining Mind conversations…]

A Break-Up Scare, Birthday Bashes & My Father’s Wedding (18-24 May)

Monday 18/5/87

A Life in Words
Hypnotist Martin St James, whom we were going to see on Friday night.

So much depends on tomorrow. So much. You see, I rang him tonight. Yes, I worked up the guts. .& he wasn’t happy at all… (Today at school he wasn’t avoiding me; he wasn’t talking, though. It appeared to me as if he wanted to talk, but couldn’t) Jemima went to the Cairns Library for the day. I was bored… after school we rode into town & got the Martin St. James [a world-renowned hypnotist] tickets. She came back to my place. we called Cameron. And Mark- but he wasn’t home – I did call back later tonight 7:45 abouts. We had a 1½ hour phonecall and we talked about almost everything This time we came so close to ending. If I hadn’t’ve rung him tonight, he would’ve given me til the weekend, then it would’ve been off..so now, he’s made tomorrow the deciding factor… if we work tomorrow great. [What does that even mean, “if we work”? And why is tomorrow any more important than ‘Now’?] But if not… we’re finished. For good. Even our friendship. Oh, God give me the strength to make it work tomorrow. PLEASE HELP ME. I love him so much. [Good God. Why are YOU doing the ‘work’ Elissa? Is it really worth all this stress?!]

Tuesday 19/5/87

Well, it’s on again- for young & old (Ha, ha!) I was worried this morning – it appeared he wasn’t going to talk to me. So, at little lunch I took the plunge, & went up to him. During little lunch, double biology & ½ of big lunch we were very serious.. thinking, mostly ..sometimes asking questions & discussing our thoughts. He scared me.. he said “who’ll be the bad guy?” I thought shit, shit! but said “you, I guess”. [Of course..] He said “I don’t think we should go out anymore.” I said “Oh” & did nothing. He didn’t appear to be joking- not laughing or smiling.. then he did. “You’re not serious?” I said. “No!” he said. [Games, games, games…] I am so relieved! I am going  to attempt to make it different …. lasting & beautiful. I WILL. I am determined. [Ah, here’s he’s the Control Freak. It’s taken SO long to learn that nothing, and no one, can be controlled…] Did no HW today again. It’s getting cooler now God I’m tired. It’s 9:35. Good night!A Life in Words

Wednesday 20/5/87

Rang him at 7:30. He wasn’t too happy ;had just woken up! At school, he wouldn’t take it, [his birthday present] but I shoved it in his bag in bio when he was talking to Chris. Otherwise I barely saw him; he raced off at big lunch (to do his learners – yes, of course, he got it) & I only caught glimpses of him at aerobics. This arvy Mrs W. rang & invited me to dinner with them. I wasn’t sure whether Mark wanted me to go but mum coaxed me into it. Thank God Keith went too..Mark wasn’t at all happy & if Keith wasn’t there being a clown & breaking the ice it would’ve been terrible. I barely spoke a word! (Fi & Justine didn’t do aerobics today -slacko’s!) At lunchtime before catching the buses, Polly & Juliet & their lot were in our area…Nicole sat with Joannah & Tricia ..down the end. And when she went Tricia said “bye Nicole!” [paranoia plus: my two nemeses happen to be having a chat] Nicole’s been giving me dirty looks (according to [privacy omission]) Maybe they’re scheming together to get him away from me. (Joke) [Yeah, that’s an obvious conclusion. Pfft. Paranoia plus. And an attempt at deflecting my insecurity with the “(Joke)”] I joked to Fi & she reckons “Well they won’t” (get him that is) And I know it. SUFFER! He loves me!

Thursday 22/5/87

Barely talked to him at all. Didn’t think he was coming, but showed up in maths. Little lunch I didn’t talk & at big lunch I had to do my oral practise (it’s tomorrow & I don’t know anything – well, 2 out of my whole 8 lines!) with Donna, Bob & Gemila. A Life in WordsSo after art, I quickly said hi, then in library for english practised again. (Hopeless case!) Only a few silly, crazy) words after school ..mum drove us (we cleaned our teeth first) to the dentist. Mr. Fairweather filed back the chip in my tooth [yet another disfigurement courtesy of the bus accident] & otherwise, my teeth are perfect! [There’s one thing that I have somehow managed to uphold – not that my teeth are ‘perfect’ but all my dentists have applauded my ‘dental hygiene’.] Walked home (talked to Adrienne on the way!) Mima was going to Smithfield, Fi didn’t want to go, so Mark & I went late night (Sandra driving us) I got Julia’s card + present- a cute denim satchel, Fi’s card, Dad & Jenny’s wedding card (& I frigging forgot my hairspray) and a black shirt like the yellow one I bought for Mark, he payed $15 out of it..isn’t that gorgeous. [I probably wouldn’t use the word gorgeous. Maybe generous?] Of course! Can’t wait 4 tomorrow – Martin St. James & then little “party” at Fi’s Mark, [privacy omission] are going to come along too!! UNREAL!! cooler (slightly) weather  Frigging english oral. I’ll fail

Friday 23/5/87

A Life in Words
All dressed up for a hypnotic night with Martin St. James

FI’S BIRTHDAY Ready early; went by & picked my wallet up from Mark’s ..he was still in bed at 8:30! [That IS impressive for a school day…] Our english oral was a bloody scream! Mr Grossetti wants us to do it again Monday afternoon. [I’m gathering because it was such a success? I think I might have enjoyed Acting as a vocation, had I been driven to chase it. Mr G. was undoubtedly one of my favourite teachers, inspiring so much confidence in me; he had previously suggested I could be a impersonator too, because I ‘nailed’ an Irish accent during a class reading of Juno & the Paycock. Here’s the link to the entry mentioning that – see Friday 1 August.] Great. Bludge lesson otherwise- realised I have 2 assignments to do by next Friday. Bloody fantastic. Talked very little to Mark today, again.. at big lunch went downtown- [privacy omission] got passport photos for false I.D. (didn’t get that finished anyway) Was so excited about tonight.. Mark [privacy omission] are coming at 3:00..at home, after a visit from Beka (& tidy my bedroom) packed, got ready for Fi’s. Finished getting ready there. MARTIN ST. JAMES was so good so funny Julie H tried out, but didn’t work on her (we couldn’t make Fi) Crabbie was there too! After, mima, fi, geoff m, cameron v & I went to Yanks [the only “late night” coffee shop in the Cairns CBD at that time] ([privacy omission] were on bad terms then) Spent some time there then taxied to Cameron’s & he (in his sister’s car) drove Fi, mim & I home. We got out the Kahlua YUMMY! mima got sick; I got happy. [I’m thinkin’ “drunk-happy”] [privacy omission] came. But Mark didn’t. I was so disappointed & angry. Really depressed, so I ate nearly all the smarties [emotional eating] – & whinged., while [privacy omission] forgot their problems & Fi & Jason sat quietly joking etc. Finally around, I think, 3:30,→

Saturday 23/5/87

we went in [privacy omission]‘s car – Jas. Fi & I to Mark’s ([privacy omission] & Jason had tried twice to get Mark) but weren’t able to wake him or anything. So after a drive around Whitfield & Edge Hill, went back to Fi’s & I went to sleep, depressed. Woken around 9:00, left soon after. Really didn’t want to go to Port Douglas. I wasted morning time (not much of it) then packed before ringing Mark, around 12:00-12:30. Was on the phone for ages. I really didn’t want to hang up. I wanted to hear his voice – was so depressed that I didn’t get to see him this weekend. IT’S NOT FAIR! (He had been asleep – slept thru his alarm) I cried, I was so upset about having to go. Duffy came just after 2:00 Drive to Port was boring. [But Elissa, it’s so beautiful?] Coconut Groves o.k. joint. “Unpacked” & went to the shop (walked) Really boring. The ceremony was “short & sweet” – photographers (could be in the Cairns Times!) A Life in WordsAfter, watched TV (so boring!) Then attempted to ring Mark (6:30) “at Cameron’s”. There was no one at Cameron’s at all when I rang either so Mark’s at a party. I told him I’d ring. Oh I miss him! Dinner was long & spread out. [It’s called a reception, and it involves lots of talking, so it is by nature “long and spread out”…] Now am watching TV. Am so tired & bored (tired, more so) will probably watch TV all night (dozing now & then.)

Sunday 24/5/87

Fell asleep around 12:00. Woke 8:00. Shit! Carol B was leaving at 8:30! (Thought I missed her, so thought we’d get a lift with Vic M) leisurely ate brekky when Carole rushed in. We hurredly grabbed our gear, said goodbye to dad & left around 9:00. Home early .. did nothing all day, except plant my seeds for bio assignment Got fucking bloody Freddy. Ugh! Saw Justine for a few minutes. Pigged out after a visit to a take-away. Mum finished [painting] our rooms (& I just finished tidying up the mess) Looks excellent! All bright, clean, beautiful white. Around 4:00 (I think) : 3:30 or 3:15 (anyway:) mark rang; talked; he went to the Trinity Bay party (Belinda’s) Keith said (he arrived ½ way thru) mark was bored without me.  How flattering. [Flattering, but not necessarily true?] Anyway, finally got off the phone: got ready & went to Mark’s at 5:30. We went to his work. Watched videos .. didn’t do much. But on the way home we talked & kissed. Oh! That was good. I love kissing him!! I had asked him about where it was he had seen me before. [At some stage in the past he had mentioned he’d seen/noticed me before I had begun at Cairns High. Of course I was curious: how could I not have noticed him too?] He won’t tell me. He said I was with someone he was talking to. Where? When? He won’t tell me. Said “in 5 years time 24th May, I will.” [Uh-huh. And of course, that ne’er happened…]

The Silent Treatment & Visiting Monique’s Mum (11-17 May)

Monday 11/5/87

Mark was away today & I am glad. I don’t know what it would’ve been like trying to talk to him. He didn’t ring me tonight, so I gather he’s still “disappointed” with me. Boring-ish day at school. A Life in WordsTest in biology – no one told me (I was away [the day it was mentioned]) Failed it, consequently. Understood chem. work today..did it with mima. (No Cameron hassling me) Did bio prac. during lunch hour. wanted to go up and do my maths HW- assignment or get cards ([privacy omission] Fi & I want to make false I.D. so we can go out for Fi’s birthday) […we were such Bad Asses!] Talked to Keith a little during art. Found out he’d rung mark last night as well. I said he was wrong & that Mark was “angry” with me. Keith ([I] caught him out!) said “well, he won’t burn your house down”…”it’s happened before”. He’s disappointed & I can understand that. I’m just worried how long it’s going to be before we’re together again. I have a feeling he’ll avoid me tomorrow. Double bio – oh no! What’ll happen then? Tania asked if I’d like to go to Port Douglas tomorrow – mum said no – I’d have loved to – to get away from Mark (she didn’t go [to Port] today). [What do they say about running away from your problems?] Should I have rung him tonight? Oh well, too late now anyway. Please Mark, don’t ignore me or be angry or disappointed with me tomorrow

Tuesday 12/5/87

Well I saw him riding to school, but didn’t wave (in case). […in case he didn’t respond. Because that would be embarrassing…] I went straight into the maths room (Fi & Brent were there) & stayed through form, till double maths. I didn’t think he was talking to me & strangely, I wasn’t upset. After art, I was walking back to area .. in the room by the door he was alone. He smiled ..so I thought “Great!” But during bio it was different again. And ditto for the rest of the day. [Talk about a rollercoaster relationship…] (After school mima bet me he would say goodbye.. he didn’t ..she got Cameron to tell him to.. so Mark snapped “Goodbye”.) A Life in WordsAnd I didn’t ring  him tonight . . I’m not really worried. Why should I crawl back to him all the time? He takes me for granted, I’ll bet: thinking I’ll always be there.. to apologise etc. Well I want him to ring or talk to me now & then to apologise or ask what the problem is ..Show he cares. He said I’ll never get away from him. Let’s see if he’s really bothered to stop us from breaking up. BORING DAY REALLY. SO HOT. G’NITE!

Wednesday 13/5/87

He avoided me totally today … not one word, one look. And I’m not anywhere near as worried as I would normally be ..I’m surprised! (you see I could say I’m not worried at all – but that wouldn’t be the truth – I am just a little, deep down, but as I said .. nowhere near as worried as I used to get.) Today I wrote out all the quotes from Mark’s letters & also things he’s said to me. [Apart from trying to reassure myself about his feelings for me, I’m thinking this would have been a compilation of ‘evidence’ to potentially be used in a future talk, or ‘confrontation’. Not that I’d take the little list along with me; writing helps to better commit things to memory.] Keith, before school, said Mark said he just doesn’t feel like talking to me. Oh that’s great. Just don’t talk to me when you feel like it.. no matter how much you hurt me. So I went through the day ignoring him. Mr Grossetti dropped us home after aerobics again. There was a letter from Kerry A. [the social worker/counsellor I’d come to rely upon] A Life in WordsShe’s gone to Brisbane. Great. I wrote a 5 page thing “to” Mark but don’t know if I’ll give it to him It’ll probably make him angry with my luck. So hot. It’s s’posed to be closer to winter now. FAT CHANCE I’m so tired.

Thursday 14/5/87

Avoided yet again. And that 5 page letter I did (well Fi did) give it to him, in 4th period – no difference ..still not talking. Boring day … art bludge – my painting is hopeless. Big lunch – did chem prac. (for contract), are doing it tomorrow as well. After school, went to see Kerri – gave her a present. Farewell! Saw Tania (& also tonight at Earlville) she’s leaving tomorrow Boo hoo! Everyone’s going! Mima & polly came down & soon mum took us to Earlville. Was good. Got Fi’s & Mark’s presents. [I’m sorry, you what? You’re being ignored and you’re still going to buy a gift? Well, I clearly didn’t think this ‘rough patch’ would result in the end of the relationship. Says something about my level of Hope. Or ignorance?] Yahoo. Keith rang when I got home.. ∼9:30. Talking about different things. I cannot understand Mark. He is taking me for granted. Maybe if I scared him. Ha. That would backfire for sure, I bet. [Yes. Karma. It’s a bitch, apparently.] I wish he was more understanding. I hate school. That causes all the trouble. [Haha, the Blame Game. It’s a Human Condition: nothing’s ever your fault, always someone’s or something else’s…] BITCH. oh well. Is 10:10. NO HW done UMAH.

A Life in WordsFriday 15/5/87

I barely saw him at all today, totally. Mima came around 7:45. Were riding really slow; I was finding it hard to start with. But after stopping to pump up tyres..we were off! Flying! Did really well! Double english was so boring..but in art! I did quite a few [black & white photo] prints [in the dark room]– moni & I preparing at the exhibition; moni & I at the opening that night & Mark & I in hospital. Big lunch spent in lab… did 2 pracs. Have about 5 left. Mucking round – fun lesson of chemistry. Mima & I rode over. Was sad. Mrs Perrem [Monique’s mother] seems much different. I don’t know. Neville & his mum came too.. that kind of spoiled it .. I’d wanted to talk personally [‘privately’ perhaps?].. (y’know). But Mrs P. gave me a mini photo album with monique’s camp photos, artwork, piccys of her & the day at the beach & one of the day when all the guys came over. [I have pretty much posted nearly all of these photos in my blogposts along the way…] I’ll treasure it. We eventually left ..rode to Stereo World around 5:30. Mum picked me up about 7:00. Late night really. A Life in WordsMonique’s room’s beautiful. I loved being in there. Oh it’s not fair. Monique, you were the best thing that happened to me. And I never got to tell you. I love you. So much.

Saturday 16/5/87

I never get any work done on Saturdays- too many music shows on during the day. From 10:00 through (nearly non-stop) till 2:00. And, I usually can’t get up early on this day. Mum woke me this morning- I’d forgotten I had a hair appointment for 8:15. It’s cute! All one length bob- ear level & short fringe – a page Boy cut. Fi rang & we talked abit … I started getting ready around 5:45. The Brewers picked me up ∼7:45. Salad Days was almost as bad as West Side Story. Singing, dancing & acting was better this year but the plot of the story was so damned sick & stupid. Jokes were sick. [Remember, back in the 80’s “sick” didn’t have ANY positive connotations. So I was in fact hating on the jokes, right there…] Anyway, Brewers dropped me home & mum dropped me back at the corner of Cassowary St. Sonia’s party was dying when I came. Sharon had left. I stayed with Fi & Jason P. Cameron, Chris, Glyn, Steven, Mike (I) were there (Fi said Keith had been too) But Mark wasn’t ..didn’t matter.. there were no guys I could flirt with anyway. [You see that? The ‘Jealousy Game’…] A Life in WordsEventually, we went in this guys’s car to Coppelode Lookout.. with all Jason’s friends (Nigel too!) stayed there for a while, music blaring talking mucking around & looking at the beautiful view→ [see pic, left. here I crossed over to Sunday’s page in the diary…]

Sunday 17/5/87

After, went to 24hr service stn & people ate. Then, Jason picked up his car & dropped me home around 3:00. Saw Paul at the party. He stayed Saturday night ..in a combie. I listened to 4CCR for the rest of the time, till 4:00, then “bombed”. Got out of bed around 11:30. The day went surprisingly slow, considering I was up for only ½ of it. I did a little chem. HW but that was it. Did Big Fat NOTHING again. Beka came over late. (around 5:00) talked to her mostly about Mark. Then dad came, dropping Julia home. (I’m not looking forward to next weekend at all ..fi & the rest will be raging for her Birthday.) It’s not fair. Wonder if Mark will be talking to me by his birthday. Oh shit. He’d better be. I wish he would come to Port. I WISH EVERYTHING WOULD BE EXCELLENT BETWEEN US. Why is he not talking to me? Isn’t he hurting? Doesn’t it WORRY him? DOESN’T HE CARE?? Don’t you care, Mark? Boring night – listening to radio … should really have an early night, but want to see if they play “Candy” for once.

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.

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

Monday 16/2/87

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

Tuesday 17/2/87

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

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

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

Wednesday 18/2/87

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

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

Thursday 19/2/87

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

Friday 20/2/87

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

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

Saturday 21/2/87

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

Sunday 22/2/87

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

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

Friday 6/2/87

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

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

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

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