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General

Mum said I should start a diary.

1st January 100

Mum said I should date my entries.

18th December 1992

Mum said I should use the real date.

Mum said I should write about things that happen to me and how I feel about them.

Mum read my diary.

I hate it when Mum reads my diary and tells me what to write.

*****

25th December 1992

Santa (Mum) got me a Super Nintendo for Christmas.

Santa (Mum) didn’t get me Super Mario World.

Santa (Mum) got the Super Soak 6 cartridge instead. 

So gay it sucks!

Mum (Santa?) says she’ll get me Super Mario World for my birthday.

In June. 

Mum says it’s something I can look forward to.

I hate it when Santa (Mum) stuffs up Christmas, reads my diary and then tells me I’m being a little jerk.

*****

13th March 1998

I haven’t thought about this diary since 25th December 1992 (nod to Mum – dates really are important in diaries). It was in the box of stuff Mum gave me last night when I was loading up the car. 

So was the SNES and Super Soak 6.

I’ll give it another go. You never know, I might be the Holden Caulfield of the 90’s, but without a written record of my urbane wit and teenage wisdom, how will people know?

Mum looked pretty sad about me going, actually. She looked really sad, actually. You could go so far as to say devastated, actually. 

Actually crying. (Note to self – Limit the use of the word actually.)

She expected me to be sad about leaving, too. As if. I’m out of there with a bullet. She’ll get over it. 

She’s a master of getting over stuff.

*****

11th April 1998

Well, it’s official … the roommate’s a complete loser. And he stinks. 

He never leaves the room, I don’t think he’s found his way to the shower yet and he keeps the window shut when I’m not here. 

Came back from the Union Bar last night and the room reeked of dope, stale spunk and the most bitter, throat clenchingly bad BO I’ve ever smelt in my whole life! 

It was like opening the hatch on a submarine crewed by 500 footy players after 6 months on the bottom of the ocean. It was rancid.

Just made it to the bathroom in time to puke all that cheap grog down the bog.

*****

12th April 1998

Got together in Adrian and Toby’s room last night to bash out a few bars. Suggested Cheap Grog Down the Bog as a band name. They’re going to think about it.

Ended up on the piss and came back to the smelly spunk zone to find roomie trying on make-up. His face was covered in creepy white powder and it looked like he’d scribbled around his eyes with a thick black texta. He looked like a sadder version of that freak out of Rocky Horror.

I don’t think Mummy’s going to be happy when she notices all her Avon’s missing. Hmmmm?

Going to spend the rest of the day in bed. 

With the window wide open.

*****

18th December 1998

Spent the day playing Super Mario World with Alex. Retro fun for the whole squad. 

All 2 of us.

Didn’t feel like getting down and dirty to the grungy wannabe heavy metal of Toby and co. tonight. I’ll just wait ‘til Grog Down the Bog hits the big time and then sue them for a cut of the profits. I’ll make sure I invest it wisely. I might get a beer out of it.

Anyhow, got a long drive tomorrow and Alex doesn’t have a license. Surprise! 

Hope Mum’s okay with the extra house guest. Should be fine if I can convince him to lay off the make-up and mix a bit of colour into his black ensemble. A canary yellow scarf would be spiffy!

*****

 13th February 1999

So …. I’ve had a shitty couple of weeks and all I’ve got to show for it is another 4-hour drive in the opposite direction. I’m going back early to get a casual job and find a room to rent off campus before lectures start. I want to get on top of it all this year and I can’t do that while Alex is wanking and moaning in the bed next to me 24/7.

At least I don’t have to put up with him on the way back.  Mum reckons she was always going to come for a visit soon anyway, so she may as well bring him back with her. 

Yeah, right. 

Sure she was. 

At least I’ll have all of my stuff out of the skunk bunker before they turn up. I really doubt she’ll bother trying to find me after she drops him off, so I should be safe for at least another semester.

*****

25th February 1999

Mum found me. Gave me a lecture about how not to treat “friends in need”. Said I should at least visit Alex and let him know if another room becomes vacant in the house.

I said I’d go see him some time before lectures started. 

She acts like she’s got some kind of special gift when it comes to spotting suicidal people now. I told her Alex was just a loner and probably wouldn’t even notice I wasn’t there. He’s nothing like Dad.

In the meantime, ….

I’ve got a hot housemate to get to know ….

*****

2nd March 1999

What I learned today:

There are worse roomies than Alex.

Alex’s new roomie is officially the biggest (and I mean BIG – as in FAT) douche-bag going.

The prick locked Alex out, so I found him just sitting in front of his door with all of his shit thrown around the hallway.  Every dickhead in the dorm was in the hall laughing at his mess of make-up and monochrome threads. One smartarse was parading up and down with Alex’s Jimmy Eat World hoodie on while pretending to put on make-up.

Result:

I have a new old roomie. Christ, what have I done?

*****

25th July 2013

Marion tells me she’s taking the girls to that Protest March on Sunday and she wants me to go with them. The news was full of the asylum seeker boat that sank on its way to Australia, and it’s got her completely riled up again about offshore detention. At least four dead, so far. Two of them kids. 

But what kind of idiot takes their kids on a rickety raft with 400 others and tries to paddle across the ocean? There’s no way I’d put my girls through that kind of hell. 

I told her I wasn’t going to spend my Sunday walking up and down with a bunch of noisy hippies chanting for people who don’t care if their own kids survive the trip. A happy family outing complete with placards and shouted slogans. No thanks.

At least Marion didn’t push it this time, so she must be getting the message finally. Hopefully she’ll stop asking.

In other news ….

Alex and Marion just scored a regular gig at the Royal Oak. She’s stoked. She says the owner has just bought another pub in Randwick with a beer garden, so Marion’s going to hit him up for a Saturday afternoon gig over there, too.  So, it’s just me and the girls every Thursday and Friday night now. 

I might get someone to look after them tomorrow night, though and head on down to enjoy Marion’s singing over a cold one. Or two.

*****

25th September 2013

Marion called. Wants me to have the girls for the weekend. 

Translation: Marion and Alex have organised a last minute a fuck fest at some new age hippy music festival in Kiama. 

Folk by the Sea. Yeah, Sure. 

Fuck by the Sea more like it. With plenty of drugs and willing partners, no doubt.

She knows I’ve got tickets to the semi-finals on Saturday. Two of them. Smack bang on the halfway line to watch The Roosters flog the Sea Eagles. The best tickets I’ve ever scored for a game. I can sell Alex’s when I get there and make a handy profit, too. 

But she doesn’t give a shit, just says if I don’t have them this weekend, she’ll make sure I won’t see them for a month or more

Looks like I’ve got 2 tickets to sell now. FUCK!

Rang Mum. She’s okay. Says she’s tired and lonely. But she says that every time I call. Said it would be nice if I drove the girls over to visit her this weekend. But she thought it was nice when I brought Alex home from Uni that time. 

And look how well that turned out.

*****

 29th September 2013

Got to the game (TICK)

Mum got the girls (TICK)

Made a profit on the spare ticket (TICK)

and THE ROOSTERS ARE THROUGH TO THE GRAND FINAL! (TICK)

Win, win, win and WIN.

*****

2nd October 2013

Picked the girls up from Mum’s and got them back to Marion today. The front of her car did look pretty smashed and lover boy really is in hospital. (My heart bleeds.)

So, she wasn’t lying. 

The girls all bolted in the front door without even a look over their shoulders. 

A quick “See ya Dad! It’s been great” would have been nice.

Then Marion got stuck into me for leaving the girls with Mum for so long. But she knows I had to work. 

School holidays aren’t a good time for me to have them, anyway. The apartment’s way too small for us all for a whole week. But she knows that, too.

They had a better time at Mum’s than they would have had with me, anyhow. When we were driving away, they all stuck their heads out the windows and waved and yelled about how much they loved her until we were at least 2 blocks away. Little maniacs. I’m lucky I didn’t get a ticket.

So, I don’t get the problem. 

But Marion’s good at making up problems. 

And the solution usually involves blaming me.

*****

28th October 2013

Alex’s funeral was today. I guess Mum was right all those years ago. He was like Dad. I just didn’t see it.

Marion was distraught, but she wouldn’t let me leave until she’d told me everything. She said she wanted me to know the part I’d played in Alex’s suicide. Wanted me to understand how much Alex loved me and how tortured he was when she left me for him.

Apparently, he drove into that tree on the way back from Kiama on purpose. He swerved at the last minute, because he didn’t want Marion to die after all. Didn’t want to take the girls’ mother from them.

She said we never should have got together. That it had hurt Alex too much and that he’d never gotten over it, despite what he told us. He put on a show for the first 10 years or so, but obviously, he’d never stopped loving her. And she says she never stopped loving him either.

Then she punched me. Hard. But probably not hard enough. She yelled at me that the girls, our girls, should have been Alex’s girls. Not mine.

FUCK!

FUCK!

FUCK!

Alex hated himself. He always hated himself. The only time he didn’t hate himself was when he met Marion and they were together and young and in love. Really in love. 

He thought he’d feel like that again when they got back together.

I wish I’d been straight up with him. 

Marion and I were over years ago. We really should have been over after our first root, but things got away from us. We were never in love. We were just trying to justify what we’d done. 

And we forced Alex to go along with it.

FUCK!

Mum sat with the girls. They were upset, but hopefully too young to really be affected by it. Sammy probably won’t even remember him.

Chelsea’s just a couple of years younger than I was when Dad did what he did. 

But Alex wasn’t her Dad. 

Mum will probably buy her a diary to help her deal with it, anyway.

*****

10th April 2020

Scored a trip to the hospital in the back of an ambulance today - straight to the brand new COVID-19 wing. Breathing’s getting harder and every part of me aches. They’re going to monitor me closely, but hopefully I won’t have to go into ICU. From all accounts that’s the end of the line.

Oh, the irony. Just spent 7 days in a 5-star hotel but couldn’t use the pool, gym or even room service because I was in isolation. And I leave in the back of a bloody ambulance!

Spoke to Sammy about an hour ago. Actually, she did all the talking. I don’t have any energy to talk. She said the four of them are just spending their days watching movies and doing the Face Book challenges. 

Her favourite challenge so far has been dressing up in one of her Mum’s best going out dresses, complete with heels and make-up to take the bin out for collection. She’s going to send me the photo, but I don’t get it. She told me I should get on Face Book and then I’d understand. She’s only been on it for 2 weeks herself, but already knows everything there is to know about it. My beautiful smart arsed little maniac. The other girls were too busy to come to the phone, but I spoke to Marion and she says they’re fine.

When I told her where I was, she was shocked and a bit mad.  She didn’t even know I’d been in isolation, let alone sick. She said she was going to pack the girls in the car straight away, collect Mum and come straight over to the hospital.

I told her not to bother. They’re not allowed anywhere near me anyhow and all the hospital staff are wearing head to toe protective gear, so it all looks pretty freaky. I told her I’d be better soon and would give her a call.

I’ve got to sleep now. This virus really takes it out of a man.

Same Day – 2nd Entry

Marion called Mum.

Mum drove straight over.

Pointless, really.

She was outside my room mouthing “I love you” over and over through the glass with tears streaming down her face.

I'm watching her now, while they tell her I'm heading to ICU and a ventilator.

I never thought my Mum would be the one to break my heart. 

I’ve only heard her make a sound like that once in my life, and I prayed I would never hear it again.

April 10, 2020 10:51

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4 comments

Rhondalise Mitza
14:14 Apr 13, 2020

Hey, wow. That started off light and ended off kind if walloping but it was still balanced. It made sense. Very well written short story.

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Janet Inglis
23:22 Apr 13, 2020

Thanks, Rhondalise. The story kinda took me by surprise as I was writing it, too. Cheers

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Adrienne Sharp
12:11 Apr 12, 2020

I really liked this. I felt like I really got to know your characters.

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Janet Inglis
12:54 Apr 12, 2020

Thanks!

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