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ENOUGH ALREADY

Why did the handsome, popular Jonathon, who was studying medicine on a scholarship, choose to take his own life in such an unpleasant way?
Why, only a matter of weeks later did Ron drive his beloved car off the side of a mountain?
Why was Freddie so obsessed with death and ways of dying?
Everyone in the country town of Woodley wondered what was causing its young men to lose their will to live.
This is a story about three very different young men’s lives and the reasons and circumstances that made them want to end them. It is a story about young Australians and the many problems they face growing up – lives that are confused by puberty, peer group pressure, bullying, sex, drugs, racism, violence, unemployment, family pressures and depression. It reflects the difficulty, young people find, of being positive about a future in a less nurturing and more competitive, technological world.

In Store Price: $AU23.95 
Online Price:   $AU22.95

ISBN:   978-1-921240-26-3
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 208
Genre: Fiction
 

Cover: David Edwards


Author: J.A. Edwards 
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: 2007
Language: English

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Acknowledgements  

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 dinners.  

Thank you to my dear friend, Anne Hutchings for her total faith in me and editing skills.  

Thanks also 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.

Author Biography

 

Julie Edwards was born in Melbourne and moved to the Queensland in 1983. She is a trained primary teacher who has taught in Victoria and Queensland in the state and private systems.  

She has travelled extensively and lived in England for two years.  

She lives with her husband in the Gold Coast hinterland and has two adult sons. Enough! Already is Julie’s first novel.

One  

 

The 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.

He 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 Sydney several years ago. When he caught his reflection in the full length window he didn’t recognise the young man staring back. The clothes threw him for a moment, but most unrecognisable was the gaunt face with sunken eyes, framed by the dirty twisted locks of hair that resembled rats’ tails. A smile came to his lips, something else that was unusual, for today looks were of no importance whatsoever.

It 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 Sydney and hadn’t seen him for years. He was sure she would have disinherited him if she had known what a sad excuse for a human being he had grown into.

His 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.

Unusually, 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.

However, 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.

The 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 within.

Three 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...

After 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.

 

* * *

 

The 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 world.

“How 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.

He 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.

She 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.

Stan 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.

While 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

except me.

 

Stan 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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