Based on an original idea by Nick Lachmund.

Karen (Year 12 at Kookaburra College, 199_)

By Tobias Madden

For The Trilogy Award Part 3

Read: Part 1 | Part 2


To Karen,

Congrats on your mid-year exams! Two A’s?? Bloody BRILLIANT! Almost makes me wish I was still at Kookaburra slogging it out on the HSC with you all… Almost. My boss said I’m the best second year apprentice he’s ever had, so I reckon I made the right decision to leave. School just isn’t for everyone, like my Dad always says. He’s a painter too, so he’s really proud. It’s nice.

How is everyone at Kookaburra? I miss a few people, but mainly you. Do you know how often I think about that night at Rusty’s party last year. I don’t know if I ever properly thanked you for that… you pretty much saved my life, Karen. So, THANK YOU.

You have a boyfriend?? In your last letter you mentioned him but didn’t give me any deets! Is he from Kookaburra? Or he is a Uni guy? Tell me EVERYTHING!

Speaking of men… I’ve been seeing someone too. We’re not, you know, officially dating or anything, it’s mainly ‘physical’? VERY physical. He works at Coles doing night-fill and I go and meet up with him when I finish work. He takes me into the loading dock and we… well, I’m sure you can fill in the gaps! You’ll NEVER guess who it is. And he’s incredibly hot now. Lifting boxes at Coles has done wonders for his body. It’s Patrick! Remember that weirdo from Year 10 who never talked to anyone?? Well, he’s a great root, even though he’s pretty aggressive and a bit weird still. Sometimes he says this girl’s name over and over again but I don’t know who it is, and I’m too chicken to ask. Was there a girl at school called Leah? Anyway, who cares. It’s AMAZING. I reckon I’m falling in love…

Enjoy your last week of holidays and good luck for the second semester. I reckon you’ve got Dux in the bag!

Miss you,


PS. Did you read the last part of my last letter? Do you know if Evelyn moved house? I sent her a letter but she hasn’t written back. She’s probably just ignoring me. Fair enough. I just really want to apologise. For whatever it’s worth. I was just so confused back then, I thought that if I had sex with a girl it would stop me from thinking about guys all the time. I know I fucked up. But she needs to know I never meant to hurt her. Please let me know if you could pass a letter on to her??

11th of July,

Dear Peter,

Firstly, GROSS. I do not need to hear all of the gory details of your loading dock rendezvous. However, I’m happy that you’ve found someone else that you can share your ‘little secret’ with. It must be hard in a tiny place like this to have to hide something like that. Just be careful about who you tell, I don’t want you to get into any trouble. Have you told your Dad?

My boyfriend’s name is Sam. He just started at Kookaburra. He’s in Year 11 (yes I’m a cougar). That’s all you get to know for now.

And please, you don’t need to thank me for anything. You were a mess at Rusty’s party when Evelyn didn’t show up. I’m glad I could help. I’ve always been a good listener; you should hear all the things I have to help my little sister deal with! She’s going to be a NIGHTMARE when she’s our age…

Holidays are going well, I’m off to the beach with Mum and Dad and Julia tomorrow. Nan has a caravan down there and she’s on a cruise ship somewhere in Polynesia, so we get it all to ourselves!

Pete, about Evelyn. Didn’t you hear? When we came back to school this year she had some kind of breakdown. I wasn’t there but apparently, in English, one of the boys touched her leg under the table and she just went berserk. Started swearing at everyone, and crying and throwing her books across the room. Then she stormed out and never came back to school. I haven’t spoken to her since the night before Rusty’s party last year, so I’m not 100% sure of the facts. But everyone says she just lost the plot. Cindy said that after she left school she tried to hurt herself, and then her family moved to the city to give her a fresh start. Poor girl. I guess some wounds never heal? But don’t blame yourself Pete, you were going through a tough time too. High School is fucking hard for everyone.

Miss you,