John Marsden Writing Topic #235

Write a piece where the end of the story is told at the beginning**


The Day When the Most Unexpected Thing Happened

Wednesday March 23rd 2011


I was at campus, in the communications building, chatting with my friend and classmate; Kelly, awaiting the start of our journalism lecture when you were pronounced dead.

There is a saying that “ignorance is bliss”. Well it was bliss on that day. That day was like any other day; a journalism lecture: 9.30-10.30, a micro fiction workshop: 10.30-12.30 and a writing theory lecture: 1.30-3.30.


I assumed when I got a text from Campus East admin that “a critical incident occurred for CE and to meet at the cafeteria at 1”, that it was another attempted robbery, nothing too serious, I had no idea what was yet to come, I just put my phone back in my bag and continued waiting in line at Subway.


I generally don’t believe everything that I hear off friends, because generally it’s all Chinese whispers-whatever the news or the gossip that is being passed on is altered when it travels down the canal of sound and to the brain. So I didn’t believe Nessa when she told me, I’d rather have a credible source confirm things for me, so when Jacob; an RA and a friend of ours told me the news, I had to reluctantly accept it.

Campus East’s party central atmosphere was crushed by the power of silence caused by grief. No one knew what to say or do and were afraid to move, I hope that you look down from Heaven and can see how much everyone loved you.

But then again how could you possibly know when you entered the ocean that you would be taken away from this world, our world. How can something so beautiful be so dangerous?

I will never be able to comprehend how murderers, rapists and cold-hearted people who take advantage of others can live to the age of 80, but someone as good and wonderful as you dies at 21. I guess it’s true that only the good die young.


I told my parents the news-all the details I knew. They were sympathetic and there for me, but because they didn’t know you, they’ll never fully understand.


Grief and shock have worn me down, but I don’t want to go to sleep, I don’t want to dream of seeing you and then have to wake up and face reality.

1.14pm (The minute before I was told)

I was rushing to the UniShop to get a chocolate milk to eat with my chocolate bar to keep myself awake during the writing theory lecture. I see Alice talking to Nessa, I’m in a hurry, but I won’t ignore them, hopefully Nessa won’t want to have a long chat with me.

I knew something was up when I heard Alice asking Nessa if she was okay as she was giving her a hug.

Her face was red, swollen and puffy and more tears were building up when I tapped her on the shoulder.

“Nessa, what’s wrong?”



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




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