TE Scores, Life Purpose & A Line is Crossed (21-27 December)

Monday 21/12/87

[This post carries over from my previous post: I’d attended a party on the Sunday night, so continued diarising into Monday’s allotted space] [I was] extremely blind drunk. I don’t know why it happened- why I went to Freshwater School with [privacy omission]; I didn’t know what was happening, but the fact was, it did. A Life in WordsI remember crying after it. saying “what am I going to do?” He said “nobody can know about this”. I really don’t remember very much. [But I did recover ‘snippets’ of memory perhaps after the alcohol – or shock? – wore off…] He escorted me home I vaguely remember showering before jumping into bed totally naked. Woke this morning- Julia said “Chris & Cameron are here” & they came in the room. (I lay under the doona) SO EMBARRASSING! [um, yes…] They stayed for awhile: cooked their own brekkys. Watched TV ..Brent rang & the mailman came at the same time. I got 870!! [TE (tertiary entrance) score] Cool! [Privacy omission: here I’d listed some friends’ scores…] Then they left & I did nothing all day – except get extremely hyper [worked up] about the events of last nite. I rang Jo to talk & she helped me a bit. I feel terrible I regret the whole night so much & I feel sick when I think about it. So I tried to think of Jim. [What? Why?] Fi came round & I told her. I hope [privacy omission] doesn’t tell anyone: [well if you had to talk about it – and it IS essential for emotional health – you can’t expect him to remain silent. That’s the pot calling the kettle black.] it’ll be bad enough facing mark about just getting with [privacy omission] to start with let alone him discovering what “else” happened. Fiona sympathized: you just can’t trust your friends even, these days. But, oh shit, she left & I had tea & a bath & [then she came back and collected me and] we went driving for 2 hours: was good – has gotten my mind quite off it now (I WANT JIM C) [This sentiment was a product of my immediate state of mental health: desperate for distraction. KurandaI couldn’t want Mark under the current circumstances… I ‘needed’ something/someone unrelated…] we even went to Kuranda NITE.

[I didn’t realise at the time – nor for very many years after – that what happened to me on that night constituted rape. Back in those days rape was commonly defined by violence, not simply ‘non-consensual’ relations. So, for a long time, I simply considered what happened a breach of trust: a friend taking advantage of me. But I was torn, because I didn’t feel entirely innocent: I had kissed him first, earlier in the night. I had led him on, hadn’t I? Did I invite it? Did I deserve it? Absolutely not …because I didn’t ask for it; I wasn’t given a choice. There was no consensus, let alone consent. I was in a completely defenseless state. We know these days – it’s understood and accepted – that ‘provocative’ behaviour (like clothing) does not – not ever – constitute an excuse to ‘proceed’. It is not an ‘unconditional’ green light. I had only ever kissed the guys I “got with” – I’d never gone any further with anyone, other than my boyfriend. When fragments of my memory returned, I recalled crying silent tears as it happened (not just afterwards, as I’d diarised) and the word “no” scrolling through my mind …but does “No mean No” if it’s a mere thought, not spoken word? Of course it does. I didn’t want it to happen. I didn’t enjoy it. A Life in WordsBut I was too legless to resist, to even realise fully what was happening. The fact that I felt betrayed, that someone I thought was a friend had taken advantage of me in my compromised state, affirms a line was crossed. Whilst I have long since processed the incident, freeing myself from any negative mental or emotional consequences and forgiving the individual concerned, I will never condone his actions nor attitude in this ordeal and fully support the desperate need for change in societal gender issues.]

Tuesday 22/12/87

Well I slept right in today: even past the mailman’s delivery (early today!) Got papa’s Xmas prezzy $20. An electrician was here, putting in a ceiling fan in our living room – Uncle Mike’s present to us for Xmas!! It’s so unreal – cools right down. [I can’t believe we’d lived in that house for three (?) years previously without any fans. These days airconditioning is pretty much standard in FNQ dwellings…] So I bludged all morning – T.V. till went shopping with mum and julia. A Life in WordsBut of course, I didn’t get any personal Xmas shopping done. We got home before 5:00 & I read Dolly all arvy & nite: [privacy omission] rang after dinner. .around 8:00, said he’d come over [privacy omission]– after 10:00. I got nervous sounded like, well, I thought he sounded like he wanted a relationship to arise…[?] thank god it wasn’t that. At first (he came round 10:30) we only talked generally. Actually, that’s all we did, besides slotting in the subject now & then. [Uh, yes, because …it was an extremely uncomfortable, difficult topic for both of us to broach…] He said he doesn’t want me to tell him [my boyfriend] – if he has to know, he wants to be the one to tell him. I don’t know. [Yep, back then I sure didn’t know …didn’t know much at all. I didn’t know that this uncertainty was my Gut trying futilely to override my fearful Mind, to insist that I be the one to tell him. Because, in the adult world, the responsibility lies with the partner – not the ‘buddy’ – due to a thing called Intimacy. In a normal, healthy relationship, there shouldn’t be anyone closer to your partner than you. I had to be the one to open up because I was (or should have been) closer to Mark than his friend. There’s also the fact that whomever doesn’t own up, potentially appears more guilty…] I’m just glad it’s over. [oh Liss, it so isn’t over..] He won’t tell anybody & neither will I. Depending on how Mark & I are when he gets back .. speaking of whom […and here I mentioned his and yet more others’ TE scores…] It’s 1:20!!

Wednesday 23/12/87

I went to town with Jo on the 11:00 bus. Before-hand, Mr B rang and told me Mark was accepted into the B. Business [privacy omission] so that’s good, I guess. I barely got anything done: Joannah did. Saw Jeffrey M & hid. [Wuss] Saw Fi, too! I got Julia’s, Fi’s & Jo’s [christmas presents]. Didn’t get mum’s. Found out Jo’s sister’s best friend bought the shoes I wanted to buy mum. So we caught the 5:20 bus home : and after a long time, got to Ingrid’s (CAD I & II) party just before 8:00. A Life in WordsWas O.K. Not great. Had to borrow $10 from Jude (Mars) to get taxi home. Got ready (pretty drunk) and Fi took us there. No q’s getting in. Just got in the door & stopped there – so many people! Jim included. I thought ‘WOW!’ cause he was talking to Fi & kind of hanging around as a group. But it wore on. Phillip C was there. And Jim told Fiona he likes me (So Peter H told me too) I got to talk to Jim, but he went off with (??) outside Smithy’s & I heard he was talking to Fiona. Great. He likes her. I was kinda down→

Thursday 24/12/87

→for the rest of the night (seemed quite a few people knew I liked Jim) so we left around 2:30, 3:00. Fiona said he liked Belinda, (K). Dean had said to me “he dumped Fiona for Belinda”. Great. That virtually proved it (that it was Fiona above me, anyway, disregarding Belinda) [Ego, Ego, Ego…] Fiona verbally didn’t agree. Anyway, I woke rather late. . . spent the day worrying about what to do for the rest of my life. I have no idea. [This feeling/issue has pervaded my life ever since. It morphed into the larger, more intimidating fear – lack of purpose. A Life  in WordsThis has been the bedrock of my life’s depressions and I am only now – in my mid forties – learning that Life Purpose is a construct: it’s not necessary …and in fact, is not necessarily real.] SHIT Fiona came down. Then mum & I went to town – I got Sharon & Nigel’s prezzy’s; met Jo & took her home – Fiona, me & her all gave each other our prezzies & Nigel came over & gave us his. When everyone left, I got ready. Fi came around 8:30 – Sharon late. After KFC, picked up Sue. The party was full of rev-heads. So went with Wade & Co to Coppelode (I felt so down – out of place) Back to the party to check it out – none other than Jim (& Trevor & Robert M…) & NIGEL! so a convoy of us raced out to Holloways (no party as they said) Jim talking to Fiona. I felt down again. All drove (actually just got Jim’s & Fi’s cars – lost Nigel & Wade) around dropping people home. There ended up Robert Jim & David (J)

Friday 25/12/87 XMAS DAY

A Life in Words

my spunky drop-waisted acid-wash denim skirt

→In jim’s car & Sharon, Fi & I in her car. We decided on swimming at Freshwater Creek. As soon as we got there – Richard O’S & Stewart & Co turned up. Swimming was beautifully cool (cold!) + scary! Got out & all mucked round (laughed so much!) dropped Sharon home around 3:00. And at Holloways, we played Hide’n’seek. Jim & Robert against Fi & I, Stewart & Praybon against Richard & David So I got home 4:45. I had a great time, but I was down inside: Fiona. god she irritated me. I made [tried to make?] her guilty saying things, […which only makes you look like a miserable sook…] but she still stood near him, flirted with him (maybe she didn’t know it, but it hurt me) So I was down. Mum woke me at 8:30. Jodie & Mike gave me a cute denim skirt! [See right. Cute maybe in the 80’s… but downright ugly now.] (At dad’s I got $100 voucher for GOOD TIME) Home again- I nearly fell asleep before Mike & Cynthia came. Ate so much today (Piggy) Fell asleep in afternoon. Rang Fi, Sharon & Jo . . . none of them were home. Uneventful Christmas day really although I’ve made some good (well, pleasing or interesting to me) career decisions And I’ve decided on newspaper or TV (maybe radio?!) primarily Cairns, then Brisbane. Also get a folio of photos – send to a photographic modeling agency!! [Well well well. I didn’t know I’d considered modelling at this point in my life… other than as one of the tools we’d tried (unsuccessfully) to utilise in my compensations claim after the bus accident…]

Saturday 26/12/87

Well what a day! I spent most of the morning in bed – got up round 10:00. Rang Fiona – she said at Sue’s last nite, Geoffrey, Dean & Trevor rang them & asked them to come out. She said to me that they didn’t. A Life in WordsI did ironing after that (previously swimming in the Fishers pool & etc) & Jo came & we went to see her off. She [Fiona?] was there (of course) and told me that the Xmas Eve party was PRIVATE. Back to Jo’s saw Jim & his car was in a deep ditch. Philip N, Trevor & Dean were in a crash. We stayed round Jeffrey’s, talking to them all arvy found out they’d been at Fiona’s beforehand- I feel so betrayed (by her) & sue (cos’ I asked about the Xmas Eve party & Phil & Jim said “No! It’s open!”) WHY? Why did they do it to me? What’ve I ever done to Fiona? […apart from being a whingey bitch?] Let alone Sue? Anyway, Philip seemed to be taking an interest in me (ha, ha!) & he’s going to beach nite! I got home round 6:00→ Sharon & I went to town→got

Sunday 27/12/87

→Bailey’s & milk then went to Playpen. I am still pretty drunk (may tell by the writing) […actually, my handwriting wasn’t nearly as bad as it had been at other times…] Was unreal. Cute Clinton & I talked to Jeffrey M’s friend Heiffer for ages, just before we left. He’s so nice!!!! Now it’s 2:30. Don’t forget Sharon owes me $12.00. [That equated to three or four drinks back then…] Ok? Nite! ∏ Well I woke to the phone, before 10:00. (Angela M – wanting to know if I wanted to go to Magnetic Island on Mon. Tues & Wed) and wasted the whole day. I really wanted to sleep, but couldn’t. A Life in WordsWatched TV (cricket) and finally slept in the afternoon, Sharon ringing at 5:30 to say she didn’t want to go out (sore throat) I didn’t mind (I just hope Philip didn’t go .. cause of me) Fat chance, huh?! Jo & I had a long phone talk during the day (’bout Jim, Fiona & everything else) Otherwise – it was sleep & TV. Boring!! So hot! (But rained all day) Just realized there’s just over one week till Mark gets back … And I haven’t changed one bit like I said I would→ I’m fatter than I was when he left, my wonderful tan has faded (& the rain won’t help me get it back) oh dear! Cannot wait till New Years!! What’ll I do tomorrow? I think I should clean out my bedroom it’s 10:10

 

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]

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.