News & Blog
February 17, 2021
Essay of the Month: Creative response to Jasper Jones
Every month, we celebrate the work of our amazing students by sharing one of their written pieces on our website.
February’s Essay of the Month is by Charmaine Pham, Year 11.
Dawn wasn’t quite cold, with the occasional peak of sun warming the bodies of many in the town of Corrigan, but the fortunate weather changed drastically in just a couple of hours. It turned “miserable”, like a ripened fruit into an “awful”, “rotten” one. There had been a power outage throughout the town and families were forcefully confined to their homes. Bizarre lightning strikes and spontaneous rainfall and hail had almost drowned Corrigan’s streets and submerged the floors of many houses. The belongings within our home had been drenched and no longer hugged me with warmth and familiarity like they once used to; instead, they soaked up all the “happy smiles” and only left only sorrow and “tears”. Everything turned cold; all doors were now shut, there was no room to “breathe properly anymore.”
It was that night where I lost all hope for Corrigan and the world. I remember thinking “the world breaks and spins and shakes.” “You’ll never be able to help me,” Laura bawled, “You mean nothing to me!” I tried to “merge my words” but I faltered and my lips began to tremble and my body immediately felt as if I was “drowning”, denying the words that left her mouth and the utmost reality my sister has grown to become. “Get lost! I hate you!” Laura shrieked. “I fe(lt) like I (was) underwater.” I wanted to scream and I wanted to make sure she was right beside me; blaring into her eardrums. “This is all too much” I thought. How did this come to be? That night, my sister and I “somehow (became) enmeshed in this”. Although the cold, lonely storm had passed, the feelings and thoughts that accompanied that night still haven’t left. She knew that I knew, and that I knew she knew, but no one else in the whole world knews.
It feels like I’m in a game of tug-o-war; me versus everyone else. How can one unravel a tightly bundled puzzle, but at the same time have no idea of what they are doing or feeling? I don’t know what I’m feeling; I don’t know what I’m thinking. That night was the first time I heard Laura so… devastated and so glum. She sounded as if she was pleading for me to hold onto her and save her, but my body refused to accept the words that left her mouth. I begin to “tremble” when it hits me. “She (had) already (been) gone” for a long, long time.
Mother and Father hadn’t been home for a couple nights and the house had been nothing but “silent.” Ever since the argument, we hadn’t been able to make up or even dare try to talk to one other. It seemed like our sisterly love had ended; but it felt like it ended years ago. Throughout the humid hours of sleep the kitchen tap continued to drip its murky water. Laura’s footsteps made the floorboards creak. Under the warm yellow light, her “sheen pale skin” made her look so effortlessly angelic and peaceful, yet so lifeless. From a single glance afar, one would be able to sense the serenity in her steps but the “seething” “resentment” in her eyes refused to acknowledge her other persona. I retreat to the corner of my room, almost submerged in the blankets with piles of books surrounding me. This is my way of saying I “surrender.” I can’t do this anymore. I can “barely” stand it. The bravery and courage I mustered up had all left my system when I discovered Laura had vanished.
The thoughts that refuse to my mind; it’s been like this every night, rehashing, churning and searching for answers; from the miniscule details to the overall picture. A bouquet of roses; a harvest of apples; a brick walkway. Blood. A pool of blood. There was blood on the ground and I recognised whom it belonged to. Her makeup was “smudged” and her face had been “beaten badly”, leaving her with nothing but a “bloody” and “bruised” face. Her blonde, voluminous waves and her favourite floral dress were a mess. His signature white singlet was stained and his vintage cup lay shattered beside him. Mother’s once lengthy, luscious hair that had fallen from her shoulders had been painted in her own blood, removing the beauty and masking it with blame and bitterness. Father’s open palm, the one that had once held my hand and promised he would stay with me forever, was motionless and scarred with a cross. Mother’s and Father’s eyes had encountered the murder of their significant other and now they lay there unresponsive and perished; vulnerable. Unreal and unpredictable. They were gone. The kitchen table was shrouded with handprints of fresh blood but the fingerprints were indistinguishable. Our kitchen knife sat on the table in red and pointed towards me. I was the next target.
“I’m hopelessly lost. And afraid.”
“I really don’t want to cry, but I can’t”
I repeat to myself, whilst clawing into my palm, trying to instil what reality has become.
“This is what happened.”
I haven’t told anyone. Not even the police; not even Charlie. I just need to find Laura. The slightest thought of what had occurred curdles by blood and in turn makes my head feel “light.” I pause and freeze.
‘You finally found me,’ a voice murmurs behind a large log.
‘I thought you’d take ages to find where I am, but it seems you’ve figured out the path I’d take.’
This “isn’t a question”, it’s a cry for help.
Something has happened. Something terribly wrong.
“I don’t want to be here anymore.”
It’s Laura, but she’s different. Her indifferent eyes feel stern and emotionless, unlike before. She continues murmuring, letting words slip out of her mouth uncontrollably. From the unexpected encounter, I lose my balance and fall to the ground. Laura is still murmuring things under her breath, but this time she’s walking towards me at a slow pace. Until she stops and offers me a hand. I refuse and get up on my own two feet. The soles of her slippers are ragged and musty red. “That can’t be it.” I don’t want to believe it. It’s hard to “believe” it’s her. No one can “help”. My heart rate begins to increase and “I bite at the insides of my cheek” with “sudden tears stinging my eyes.”
There is an unsettling feeling that comes with knowing the unknown. I knew what Father had been doing to Laura, but I dared not say a word. So, she got her revenge; killing the abuser and silencing the silencer. Father and Mother, what do you have to say now?
It’s true, our family never felt like the typical family – it was all about Father. We were just his props. Laura wasn’t herself, she was “being controlled by some vindictive puppet master.” Her last moments were filled with pain and agony. ‘Save me, Eliza. Come with me’ I could hear her say. And now she’s dead. She has died.
In the midst of the early morning, the empty streets are nothing but fog and darkness. This is the only time I can do this; dump my parent’s bodies into a “hole just deep enough.” I scatter the pile of dirt over them and fill the ditch; making nothing of it.
“It’s my turn” now.