Monday, November 8, 1982
As we sat in the kitchen watching Walkabout on a tiny portable TV, Shelley started playing with a knife, dragging it idly and speculatively across her wrists. Barry turned out all the lights so we didn't have to sit there watching her. And after a while she rose silently and went into the other half of the kitchen and stayed there a long, long time, before stealing darkly from the room. Lindsey went after her, then Penny. . . .
Then, as were just settling in for the evening in Barry’s room, there was a knock at the door and there was Rowan saying she'd “done something.” My heart sank.
She’d thrown all her bedclothes and things from the wardrobe onto the floor of her room and slashed her pillows with a knife. Feathers everywhere. She said she'd spent the past hour crying before exploding in a fit of rage and frustration. She said the Lord's Prayer backwards and put a curse on someone. "When I finished a big gust of wind came through the room." She wouldn’t tell me who she'd cursed.
I felt like running away and hiding, but there was no one else, everyone out of their minds on oil, or asleep. What could I do? I was frightened of her dark looks and strangeness, frightened of her curses and those horrific cat posters, frightened of that weird, cluttered oppressive room . . . I talked to her and tried to help her clean up and she laughed for a long time and spoke about feeling paranoid and insecure.
I left Rowan and gave a hoarsely whispered report to those who were alert. We were shit-scared and I didn’t want to go to bed, fearing a knock on my door in the dark and silence of four a.m. It felt weird and unreal and unsettling; her spells, that unbidden laughter. Pete and I stayed up all night and went out for a walk: there were few people about and the morning was cold and damp. We stole two traffic cones from outside the Humanities Building.
Lindsey is depressed about her work and her financial situation. Then there is Guy and his depression, the court case heaped on his head, Shelley. . . . I can't wait until we're off campus; it's so closed and unreal here, so detached from the real world and things that matter. Pete, Barry and I joke that we are rocks in a sea; we’re hanging on by our fingertips and everyone else is clinging to our legs.
I managed to stay awake long enough to go to my tutorial at 11.15.