Authors: Goldie Alexander
PO Box 7,
Briar Hill, Victoria, 3088, Australia.
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this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or
transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying,
recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of the publisher.
Library of Australia Cataloguing-in-Publication data:
Dessi's romance [electronic resource]
Audience: For young adults.
Books by Goldie Alexander
Grevillea Murder Mysteries: A Trilogy. ebooks.
Your Memoir: Memoir as a literary form
Publishing, 2003 (Republished as
, an ebook for young adults)
Business of Writing for Young People (co
-written with Hazel Edwards)
Hamilton Books, 1991
Australian Story – Surviving Sydney Cove
, Scholastics, 2000
in UK as My Story – Transported, 2002)
Virus and Other Stories
Phoenix Education, 2002
Extract from the
Yesterday was another horrific day on
Victoria’s roads. Just after 3 pm yesterday, a car carrying three young people
avoided crashing into another car by veering into a tree. Though the driver and
one passenger escaped with minor injuries, the third passenger, Desiree Lawrence-Cowan,
was taken by ambulance to hospital after being trapped in the car for over an
I prop my right leg onto a stool and
poke a knitting needle inside the walking-brace boot. It’s early. Just after
nine. My mother, Hannah, is at work. My father, Graham, is hammering in the
backyard. My brother, Jeremy, is at school. The silent TV flickers between
commercials and scenes from a bloody terrorist attack. For all I care, it could
be announcing the start of World War Three...
A fortnight ago all I had to worry
about is which university will give me a place. But last day of school,
backpacks crammed with books and files I never wanted to see again, we were
halfway home when the skies opened up. Wet hair plastered across her face, my
best friend, Emma, glimpsed Jon McKenna’s beat-up car and signalled him to
I grabbed her arm. ‘I’m not
getting in with him.’
I claim Jon should be
forced to wear a sign: ‘Beware. Accident approaching.’ Besides, ever since I
refused to date him anymore
was only because Emma talked me into
it saying ‘he’s so into you, give him another go…’ he always looked hurt
whenever he saw me.
So avoiding eye contact, I
climbed into the rear.
Emma slid into the front
Jon hit the accelerator.
Maybe if I’d sat beside
him, that collision might never have happened. But he kept eyeing me in his
mirror instead of concentrating on the road.
He didn’t see that other
car. Swerving to avoid it, he went straight into a tree.
Emma escaped with badly
Jon was mildly concussed.
But the driver’s seat slid
back jamming itself onto my right leg fracturing my ankle in four places. The
result was two operations, three weeks in hospital and a fortnight in a rehab
inhabited by seniors having hip and knee replacements. I never got to the
end-of-year parties. Never wore the silk green strapless bought specially for
the Formal. And now I’m not going on holiday.
Tears start to my eyes.
I’m like this a lot. Weak and sick from pain and too many medicines, at the
same time breathless with anger and frustration.
Before my face crumples
completely, Dad staggers in with an old leather chest. ‘Belonged to your
great-aunts,’ he tells me.
I rub my cheeks on my
sleeve and hop over to inspect his find. ‘You going to trash it?’
He dusts the top with an oily rag. ‘Some of this stuff might be
valuable. Shame you only knew the great-aunts when they were old.’
about his great aunts Ella and Lilbet. Searching inside the chest, he’s saying
‘Amazing to think how those two stayed here all their lives.’
distracted, I say, ‘Twins, weren’t they?’
married. They were always close.’
I manage a tiny smile.
He frowns. ‘How would I
know? When I was your age, sex was never discussed.’
This time I openly grin.
He’s so sensitive to any criticism of his family. ‘Good of them to leave you
this house,’ I concede. Then, as if I haven’t repeated this a million times already,
‘But it’s still crap living here.’ While I was in hospital, Dad moved us from
our comfortable double-storey house in East Bentleigh to this decrepit villa in
‘Since I left teaching we
need more cash,’ he reminds me. ‘So renting our old home gives us income.
Meanwhile I do this house up, sell, make a profit and we go back home.’
My eyes roll. But I’m sick
of arguing. A bird squawks outside the window. A car starts up next door.
Distant traffic rumbles. My gaze wanders around extra high ceilings, dingy
walls, chipped paint, broken floorboards, cracked leadlight windows, an old
bookcase morphed into a pantry. It’s all too awful.
‘I really miss my old
‘I know. That accident was
such bad luck.’
Bad luck? Didn’t it happen
because Emma was so insistent about getting home to her kittens... because of
Jon’s crazy driving… because... because...
Too late! He’s already out
I grab my crutches and hop
down a narrow passage cluttered with cartons to the most basic of bathrooms.
Though the shaving mirror sits high, I’m tall enough to see a girl with dark
very curly hair, a high forehead, hazel eyes, pronounced cheekbones, the short
distance between her nose and lip giving a soft vulnerable look now emphasised
by a sickroom pallor.
The only positive is losing
the three kilo I put on while studying.
I peer at my teeth. At
least they’re still straight and white.
Exhausted by even this tiny
effort, I hop back down the hall, settle into a chair, and wait for this ankle
to stop aching.
How to fill in the rest of
I know I’ll sit here angry,
frustrated and tearful. I know I’ll end up brooding about not going to the Gold
Coast, and how much I’ll miss Emma.