EVELYN (YEAR 11 AT KOOKABURRA COLLEGE, 199_)
By Nick Lachmund
When Nanna was alive, her favourite expression was: ‘Everything happens for a reason’. Nanna was wrong. Sometimes bad things happen for no reason.
Going back wasn’t easy. I got through two weeks without issue. Then I had my first ‘incident’. In history, my teacher, Mr Wallace came up behind me and touched my shoulder. I burst into tears and ran out of class. It was so embarrassing. I had to sit down with the Vice Principal later. He asked me heaps of questions about Mr Wallace, thinking he was the problem. I said that Mr Wallace had done nothing and I was just having lady issues. He let me go after that.
If only I hadn’t walked home that night. What was I thinking? Why did my friends let me walk home? They knew how drunk I was. I try to blame them but I can’t. It’s my fault. I put myself in that situation and now I’m paying the price.
My friends kept asking why I didn’t go out anymore. They noticed that I used every excuse imaginable to avoid leaving home. What could I tell them? The truth? I’d rather die than let them know the truth. I decided to go to one party to get them off my back. When my friend Karen came to pick me up, I panicked. When I heard the doorbell ring, I blocked my bedroom door and crawled into bed. Mum yelled that I was being rude but I ignored her. Karen eventually left without me.
I tried to tell my mum after it happened. When I started the story about walking home drunk, she got mad. When I said something bad happened, she yelled, “A girl your age walking around at night, what did you expect?” My mum has always had a way of avoiding difficult subjects and making me feel guilty about bringing them up. I quit trying to tell anyone about it after that.
My parents sat me down at the end of term to talk about my grades. I said I was sorry, but they kept going. Perhaps they could tell that I didn’t care. In the end, I got angry and for the first time in my life I swore at my parents and stormed out of the room. In my bedroom, the guilt eventually came. I was the worst daughter in the world.
My nightmares have lessened during the year. I’d be on the ground, next to the river with someone on top of me. Sometimes it would be a boy from school, or my dad, or one of my teachers. But in the scariest dreams I looked up and saw a blank face. It was as if my attacker could be anyone; or everyone.
I watched the kids in my year level as they hugged and laughed on the last day of school. They all looked so young and stupid. Some would be getting crap jobs but the rest would be back here in a few months. I left that day without saying goodbye to anyone. Maybe, after a break, I might come back next year and re-make some friends. I might not feel the urge to cry every time someone touches me. Perhaps the boys won’t call me a frigid bitch next year. Year 12 could be a good year.
Peter was my boyfriend. At an end of year 10 party, he betrayed and hurt me. The scariest thing is that it could have been worse. Another boy found us and pulled Peter off me. The boy was a scary kid I’d never spoken to named Patrick. When he told Peter to fuck off, I thought I was in trouble. I thought Patrick was going to finish what Peter started. I was so scared that I couldn’t talk or move. But Patrick turned and walked away. Both Peter and Patrick didn’t come back to school this year. I know that Peter got an apprenticeship but I don’t know what happened to Patrick. Whatever he’s doing, I hope he’s going okay.