John Marsden Writing Topic #168


The Branches On My Family Tree

Volume III

Sebastian and Leah’s wedding was planned for July 17th 1989. I wasn’t going to go, although I was happy for them as Leah was clearly better suited to Sebastian than I was, but he’s still my ex-husband and I didn’t think it was appropriate. However Joanna is flower girl, so I’m technically going to go to drop her off. Prue was going, Sebastian was her friend first and she was more supportive of them as a couple once I was okay with it.

Mine and Sebastian’s lives would change again two months out from the wedding. Prue was a professional photographer and she offered to do the photos for Sebastian and Leah’s wedding. She was driving home from a photo shoot for a magazine, she was on her way home to her dark room, it was raining heavily. Prue was smart enough to be careful on the road but she still lost control of the car and crashed into a tree, she died instantly. Dan got the call to identify her while we were helping Sebastian and Leah with their wedding plans. We insisted on going with him, however Dan wanted to be alone if it was true. It was the longest two hours of our lives waiting for him to come home, he came in the door drenched in tears, slumped over and nodding confirmation for us. We all screamed ‘No!’ at once. He said that most of her injuries were covered by a sheet that was put over her body by the coroner, so all he saw was a bruise on her temple, she just looked like she was sleeping.

The funeral was held the next week, Dan debated over whether to bring then-2 year old Jake. We all agreed that it wasn’t a good decision or healthy for him. We were not only grieving but also contemplating our own mortality as our best friend, Dan’s loving wife of only three years and Jake’s devoted mother was dead at 23. Dan and Jake moved in with Joanna and I, so that they weren’t alone.

Sebastian and Leah contemplated postponing their wedding but we all agreed, Dan included, that’s not what Prue would want. I offered to be Dan’s date for the wedding so he wasn’t alone and he accepted. With Prue’s death and realising how short life can be, I finally let go of the pain and baggage from my own marriage breakdown.

Little did I know that I would the find ‘The One’ at my ex-husband’s wedding.


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

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