She excelled at school. She endured the school awards ceremonies, trying not to visibly shrink from the hand of her father placed on her shoulder while he pretended to be an ordinary dad instead of a monster. In her finals, she achieved a TER score of 99.9, placing her in the top 0.1 per cent of school leavers.
She didn’t tell Luke everything about what her father was doing to her, and the indifference and cowardice of her mother, but she did mention that she wasn’t very happy at home, and Luke, who had also been accepted into Melbourne University, suggested that they share a flat. He explained how she could get Centrelink, and how it would be more if she was “independent”. He was happy at home, but happy also to move into a flat or a shared house.
“I’ll be able to bring guys home,” he said, waggling his eyebrows.
Esmé entered into this game with spirit. “Me too!”
They laughed together. Two more tragic losers you couldn’t hope to find anywhere, she thought bitterly to herself.
She left home without saying goodbye. There was nothing for her there, except wretched memories and deep unhappiness. She did leave a note, though, for her mother. It was short, and brutal. “Ma, I’m leaving home. You know why. I hope I never see you or dad again.”
Episodes 1 to 260 (without pictures, 10 episodes per chapter