Thank you to
my beautiful sons, Anthony and David, who helped me understand how young men
think and speak. Anthony inspired me to start writing and David completed the
journey with the wonderful cover design for this book. Thanks also, with all my
heart to my husband, Brian, for his love and support and all the fabulous
Thank you to
my dear friend, Anne Hutchings for her total faith in me and editing skills.
to all those who read my manuscript and encouraged me to not leave it in the
bottom drawer. My sincere admiration and thanks go to all the many people who
shared so honestly their painful stories. Everyone wants to talk about their
successful children, but those in distress remain unacknowledged. We need to
remember that every young person is precious.
Last but not least, thank you to my amazing parents, Mary and Trevor Pearson, who taught me to care.
was born in
travelled extensively and lived in
She lives with her husband in the Gold Coast hinterland and has two adult sons. Enough! Already is Julie’s first novel.
weather really wasn’t important, but Ron couldn’t have chosen a better last
day. Thunder and driving rain may have better suited the deed he was about carry
out, but the calm that had overtaken him, now he had made his decision, was
reflected in the cloudless, windless sky. There were no second thoughts, no
thoughts for those he was leaving behind; he was convinced they would be much
better off without him. It’s not so much that he wanted to die; he was just
too tired to keep on living.
couldn’t believe how good he felt knowing that the battle was over. All the
anger had disappeared. He had discarded the all black outfits of recent times in
favour of a pair of faded jeans and the Hawaiian shirt that was all the rage on
the beaches of
was fitting they should go together – they had been inseparable for the past
eighteen months. It was love at first sight when he spotted the old Holden ute
in Uncle Joe’s backyard. Joe said, “You can have the car lad, but I
wouldn’t be doin’ you no favour by giving it to ya. When you can come up
with twelve hundred dollars, the car’s all yours.” Ron considered Joe a mean
bastard but the car meant freedom so he was determined to have the money saved
by his seventeenth birthday, the day he could go for his licence. The saving
didn’t go as planned but, as fate would have it, his maiden Aunt Doreen passed
away and left him a legacy. It wasn’t much because it had to be shared amongst
all the cousins but it was enough to satisfy tight-arsed Uncle Joe. Ron
considered it lucky that Aunt Doreen lived in
car was the only thing of importance in his life. He lavished all his spare time
and cash on it to make sure that its performance matched the now immaculate
detailing. First turn of the key every time, the engine burbled into life.
“We’re going for the drive of our lives,” Ron crooned to the space between
the steering wheel and the dashboard. He engaged the clutch and moved the
gearstick into reverse. He always felt a thrill as he eased out the clutch and
pressed down on the accelerator and the car moved – he’d never lost that
sense of wonder. With a light touch, his favourite Heavy Metal CD slid into the
player. The thumping sound emanating from the twin speakers filled the interior
space the way he liked it, loud, invasive, mind-numbing. Soon he was cruising
along the familiar highway.
he kept within the speed limit – the last thing he wanted was to be stopped by
the ever vigilant Constable O’Brien. Not that getting a ticket would have
mattered; he just didn’t want any interruptions to his plan.
the road ahead was long and straight, the temptation too great. Ron took a deep
breath which he released with a sigh, checked the rear-vision mirror, and
pressed the pedal to the metal. He had always wanted to see what the old girl
could do as the needle on the rev counter climbed into the red. He focused on
the road ahead as he felt the adrenalin rush and revelled in the freedom that
comes with not caring. ‘Mustn’t get too carried away,’ he thought.
‘Can’t risk an accident which might leave me injured.’ The thought of
lying dependent in some hospital bed or ending up in a wheelchair quickly
brought the speed down and a concentration upon the original plan.
long flat road now started to wind and climb. Ron’s heart pounded as he knew
he was nearing his final destination. The ‘old girl’ hugged the corners and
never seemed to have performed better. He felt a faint tinge of regret about
what he was going to do with her but the thought of Uncle Joe reclaiming his
prize possession, after he was gone, spurred him on. His chosen place was
closing fast and his chest felt like it was about to explode from the pounding
more bends. Two more bends. Around this corner. Everything was now in slow
motion. Don’t take the next corner – keep the wheel straight. Ten metres,
five metres, two metres, airborne. The tops of the trees flashed past. The nose
of the car dipped and headed towards the ground far below. Tree trunks flashed
past. “It’s like flying.” Three seconds, two seconds, one second...
impact the car continued to roll until it was brought to a sudden halt by the
sturdy trunk of a two-hundred-year-old eucalypt. No one was around to hear the
sickening crunch of metal on unmoving timber. Ron’s brain had ceased
functioning seconds before so did not register the devastating effects upon his
body, which was at first thrust forward, then, milliseconds later, crushed
backwards like a rag doll. Bones snapped, internal organs ruptured and blood
seeped from every orifice. All was calm now, Ron had finally achieved success.
emergency services found the car upside down, wedged firmly against the old
tree. No one knew how long the car had been there, but it had obviously been a
while. The front half of the car was unrecognisable. The force of the impact had
pushed the engine back into the cabin and the driver’s seat was now more in
line with the middle of the tray. The body of the young man was firmly jammed
between a bent steering wheel and the seat. No one moved with any great speed as
it had been obvious, from the outset, that the driver had long since left this
many more young men am I going to pull from wrecks?” mumbled Stan to nobody in
particular. Stan, who had two teenage sons of his own, had been with the
ambulance service since leaving school. He’d thought of quitting on many an
occasion but was not qualified for anything else and jobs were scarce in the
area. The problem was that he knew most of the victims. Woodley was a small town
in that sense. Stan was a regular church goer; coach of the under 14 football
team, President of the school P&F, a member of the local footy club and a
volunteer at the local community centre. There weren’t too many people in town
he didn’t know personally.
hoped this was just someone passing through. The fire brigade were using the
‘jaws of life’ to remove the jammed door. Stan moved towards the body as
they prised the door open. The body was cold and had started to stiffen. The
bright Hawaiian shirt looked out of place in this morbid scene. Stan could
finally see the face. The eyes stared at him blankly from the ghostly white
skin. The lips were blue but Stan could have sworn they were curled into a
slight smile. The bile rose in Stan’s stomach. This was Mary’s boy. Mary
attended mass at the same time as Stan’s family every week.
was a quiet woman who kept mainly to herself. Although she had been branded a
killer, after the death of her husband, she was considered a very good Catholic.
Stan was relieved that it was the job of the police to break the bad news to the
family and not his. Dealing with the mangled bodies was enough for him.
called for a body bag. The boy would be taken to the morgue where an autopsy
would be performed. It would then be left to the Coroner to decide the cause of
death. Pretty obvious to Stan it was just another case of youthful stupidity.
The ‘jaws of life’ were once more engaged to remove the steering wheel as it
had been impossible for Stan to slide the body out of the twisted wreckage.
Stan’s partner loaded the body bag into the ambulance, Stan made a final check
of the vehicle for any personal effects that may not have been on the body. Stan
recovered a pair of sunglasses and an Eminem CD but chose to leave the old
Macdonald’s wrappers and empty Coke bottles where they lay. He was just
manoeuvring his body back out of the car when he noticed the corner of a piece
of paper sticking out of the ash tray. ‘Probably more rubbish,’ thought
Stan, but for some reason he decided to check. He pulled out a small folded
piece of paper covered with spent cigarette ash or was it marijuana? Stan
unfolded the paper to be confronted with a badly handwritten poem:-
The path’s too long, the journey’s too hard
I don’t have what it takes
My mind rebels – expectations are too high
I can’t function anymore
No-one understands the guilt that I bear
I feel alone, afraid ... alone
God has abandoned me, as I did Him
yet, he must want me now
He asks too much
I have nothing to give
stood rigid as though partially frozen by an icy blast. His mind was in turmoil
as the realisation of what had preceded the crash dawned on him. For a Catholic
it was a sin to take your own life. He knew Mary would be devastated enough by
losing her only son, could he add this extra burden? The thought of not being
able to have your child buried in the eyes of God seemed to outweigh what he was
thinking of doing. Stan considered himself a good Catholic too, he would just
have to confess and ask for forgiveness, as he didn’t have it in his heart to
cause any more pain to Ron’s family. Stan’s partner called, “Are you ready
to hit the road?” As Stan turned to respond he screwed up the piece of paper
and thrust it deep into the pocket of his trousers.
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