A photo recently showed up in my Facebook newsfeed, posted there by a friend from years gone by. It brought a smile to my face, and a flood of good memories to my mind.

The year of 1990, when I turned 16, I spent a lot of time with these guys, in Bendigo, at Matt’s house in Golden Square. They were a beacon in that dim year, all of them, the kinds of kids that I would want any teenaged daughter of mine to hang out with.

I looked at that photo of those lovely, funny , clever and talented boys on the cusp of everything, and thought that I missed that time in my life, and those boys (and I will always hold the memory of those boys close), but the truth is that year was a dark time in my life, which felt like it had no way forward. Ripped out and transplanted twice to new places, from Bendigo to Darwin, and less than six months later from Darwin to Melbourne, all of my friends removed, I felt displaced and alone where I was.

Far from the cusp of things, I felt rather more on the knifes edge of things.

I wagged school, and walked through Carlton cemetery, or caught the tram to St Kilda, or slipped home to sleep the day away. If anyone noticed that I was barely attending school at all, they didn’t say.

I overheard a girl talking about me one day at the North Carlton High School that I was attending

“I just can’t imagine being friends with her”.

I had friends, in Bendigo and afterwards, at Northcote, but that year, I fell through the cracks, and no one saw.

That was the year that I began to cultivate my musical tastes, reading melody maker and nme, buying all of Pink Floyd’s whole back catalogue with my Austudy back pay (the PinkFloyd influence no doubt came from the boys in Golden Square). I wrote and wrote in a little black ledger. I tried to recreate myself into a cooler image.

I carried on an on again, off again relationship with my first love (also from Bendigo) who set me up for a pattern of waiting, and longing, and never being satisfied, for many years to come. And the weekends were still punctuated by weekends spent away, with friends, in the parallel universe where I was happy.

Until the week day afternoon where I took some 50 over the counter pills and lay back on my bed, with no plans to open my eyes again. The resultant terrifying hallucinations made things take a different turn. I was discovered,taken to St Vincent’s Hospital and my stomach pumped. I lived to see another day.

I lived to see another 24 years so far. I destroyed all of the pages that I had written. I arranged to change schools. I put the Pink Floyd away forever, and brought myself back from the ashes. I learned to read the books which might give voice to my angst, and in such words as those, I truly began to find a life buoy.

I turn 40 this week, and I wouldn’t want to be 16 again for anything, unless it was for one more weekend at Matt’s place back then.

Linking up with #IBOT over at Essentially Jess today







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