Travel has been the last few ‘Slutty Sundaes’ entries.
But today, I felt like telling a bit of a sad story.
One that shouldn’t be shunned away and put in a forgotten cupboard that never gets cleaned.
When I was a kid, between the age of 9-12 I had this neighbour friend. I’ll call her R and she was 9. Same age as me. At least that’s where this story starts.
We were the bestest of mates. Music -mainly Hanson- were our band of choice to idolise. It was the 90’s. Young boys were fascinating yet if either of us had one around we wouldn’t have known what to do.
R had a pool which made summer time a great way to escape. We came up with games, pretending we were doctors of this wicked experiment or members of the Spice Girls. Or mimicking killer whales and humpbacks.
R also had a little sister. I’ll call her N. She was 3 years younger than us.
R, N and myself would play all day in the pool. Sunburnt and exhausted, we would shower together (Not in a weird way) and then cosy up to the Nintendo 360 and play Mariocart. We were ‘Tomboys’.
I distinctly remember eating light and tangy chips, whilst having to juggle the Nintendo controller, driving Yoshi’s car through tunnels avoiding shells. It was multitasking at its finest.
Growing up, I knew I was a bit different. Considerably different in the sense that I was an anxious child. Things scared me easily. Sleeping over was a nightmare and mean people was one of my greatest fear. Namely, R and N’s mum.
I wouldn’t call her a friendly person. She was scary. Completely different from my own mum. An aggressive persona meant that heading over their house was sometimes like treading on eggshells. You never knew when she was going to snap.
Their dad on the other hand was amazing. He was the most gentle man. Tall, dark and handsome. Their small dog utterly obsessed with him always at his feet or around on his lap when driving.
As a time went on as a 10 or so year-old, I couldn’t comprehend the seriousness of the family dynamic.
Once, I was so scared of sleeping over, their Dad comforted me, telling me I was okay and strong enough to stay over but could go home if needed. Whilst his wife, annoyed, I had bothered them at such a late hour to go home. Admittedly, it was two doors down from my house. But, I was a highly anxious
Any excuse to share a movie or new song, I was over R’s house. We hung out as much as possible. She also had more and better toys.
I believe I was 11 at the time they went on a holiday to Bali, Indonesia. I remember R telling me she had a mansion that they lived in with a maid that made any food she requested.
A little envious of their getaway, I was eager to see R and N when they returned to hear their new adventures.
One day, I had overheard a conversation between my parents.
Something had gone wrong.
Asking my mum what she was talking about she sat me down and had explained it in involved R and N’s holiday. It involved their dad.
He had committed suicide.
It’s really hard to comphrehend what all this meant. I remember feeling really confused.
R and N came home with their mum but no dad. It was quite profound.
I’ll never forget his funeral. We went to this spot near the Harbour Bridge.
R’s Dad have been in a coffin for viewing then cremated so his ashes could be spread across the harbour, underneath the bridge.
I walked along with her to the boat when she said something I have never forgotten.
“His face had make up. He looked really funny,” said R looking spaced out.
Inside I felt this was wrong. At least to talk about the dead like that- even if it was your own Dad.
Months had passed, and they had decided to leave Sydney. The pain of their father was too much. Queensland was sunnier, hotter and as far as away as you could go for a new life.
Over the years I saw the girls. R and N but something had changed. Considerably their father committing suicide would have an effect that was deep seeded.
One that meant seeing that same friend they played with ,when their father was alive, wasn’t the most appealing time spent.
The last time I remember seeing them we were 16. N was 13 at the time. But she wasn’t a typical 13 year old looking girl.
She looked our age, maybe even older. Really beautiful. Talking to this guy over her flip phone who was 16. We went to this shopping centre and she was adamant about finding a toilet. There she sent him a topless photo of herself.
I was gobsmacked.
Internally I wondered if she would have acted this way if her father was still alive.
R told me she was suffering from depression and all this medication while N hardly spoke to me.
It was clear we had parted ways.
I always think back to R and N. Imagining what their lives are like. If they’re happy.
One time when I went to visit them when I was 12. R’s mum was angry. We were driving to a theme park but were late. Somehow in her frustration she let out, “Look what your father has done to us,” she said with force.
I found out much later in life, their father had gotten into a car in Bali, and gased himself with the fumes of the car. But it wasn’t just that. He also took pills.
Suffering in silence is never the way to go. Witnessing the effect of this I believe has always struck me. Because I know what it’s like to try and pick up the pieces. It’s hard and torturous.
Nothing an 8-year-old and 11-year-old should experience.
Note: I am saddened that such a gentle kind natured man could feel this was his only escape. Seeking help is an option.
If you’re suffering with suicidal thoughts or are in a place of difficulty. Speak up or call someone.
Call 13 11 14 for Lifeline or 000 if you’re in immediate danger.