John Marsden Writing Topic #152

My life was boring until…**

The Branches on My Family Tree

Volume I

My life was boring until my family moved from Sydney to Wagga Wagga.

My father was transferred for work. My mother wasn’t overly happy, but with her job, she could easily work anywhere. It was 1983, I was 15 and about to start year 9, my father’s boss allowed him to transfer during the summer, so it was easier for me to transition into a new school.

Starting at a new school was like being in year 7 all over again. I walked through the school gates, nervous as hell with my school bag and books and didn’t talk to anyone. I tried to pretend that I had always been there and went to my first class, Maths and sat down. It didn’t take long for the class to notice I was new. Luckily I made a new friend quickly in Sebastian Morland, he was red-headed, tall and clearly sporty. I had a crush on him instantly but as I was new and assumed that he would have had a pretty girlfriend, I kept my cool.

He introduced me to another friend of his, a gorgeous thin girl with jet black long hair and blue eyes, her name was Prue. Naturally I assumed she was his girlfriend, but she wasn’t, she was in year 11 and lived two doors down from him, they had known each other all their lives. Despite the age difference, we became best friends. Sebastian alternated between hanging out with his soccer mates and Prue & I at recess and lunch.

I’d always done well with my school work, so it didn’t take me long to settle in quickly. My crush on Sebastian grew stronger every day, but he wouldn’t ask me out until the end of the summer holidays in 1984. We were pretty much joined at the hip as friends, as a couple, we were inseparable.

We had sex for the first time in his small bedroom while his parents were away for the weekend. It wasn’t spectacular like I’d always hoped, in fact it hurt and I wondered afterwards what all the fuss was about. I wished someone had actually been honest with me about the fact that the first time is lousy. As my parents warned me during ‘The Talk’, one time is all it takes to fall pregnant, and for me it did. My life was never boring again, in fact it changed forever.

I found out I was pregnant in May 1984. Both of our parents kicked us out and we ended up living in my cousin, Andy’s, flat. He was going to be overseas for a year, so he said we could have it and he would take care of the rent and bills, as well as our school payments and groceries. Sebastian seemed happy, but I couldn’t help but feel he was pretending. We both did the best we could in school, I went to school every day until I went in labour. Our daughter, Joanna Ashley Morland, was born on December 4th 1984.

We somehow managed to finish high school, the day of the graduation, Sebastian proposed. I said yes with a heavy heart. Sebastian and I cared for each other, felt a little bit of love for each other, but at that point, our relationship was heavily strained and I knew he was only proposing ‘to do the right thing.’ We got married at the Courthouse, just us, Joanna, Prue and Andy.

We of course didn’t live happily ever after, but we did eventually, just not together. Let me tell you our story….


**Reference: Marsden J 1998, Everything I Know About Writing, Pan Macmillan, Australia.

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