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Madeline Truong

Isobelle Carmody Award

for Creative Writing


All you need to know about me:

I am 13 years old

I have Asperger’s Syndrome

I became an only child three months, two weeks, six days, eight hours

and twenty-seven minutes ago

I hate anyone who calls me Jessie

I hate myself


Drip, drip, drip. The rain spattered their plastic coats, one blue, one red – clinging

to the bright material in astonishingly stark contrast to the gloomy landscape

around them, sequinning the girls in glittering, fat droplets. Gumboots splashed

into the once still, murky puddles on the uneven path. Forlorn, soggy autumn

leaves lay patterning the ground. Their wet, slapping hair flew around, clinging to

identical, flushed, beaming faces, giggling hysterically on a joke only they seemed

to hear. Throwing their short, stubby, toddler legs into the sprinkling surface of

the next puddle, they squealed in delight. Twirling in childish dreams.

That was our special thing. You were the only person I ever understood.

Some days, pain just bounces off me. As if my body has been

saturated with it.

The world is more than upside down, that would be too simple to

work my mind around. It’s become a mutation where everything’s

fake and distant. Like the fake cream you buy in aerosols, now

smeared disgustingly over my life. Masking all the damage it does to

you behind foaming sugar churned up into ‘yummy goodness’.

I need to remember this before I go, because it’s part of you, like

you were part of me.


We were born a team. Like the fat, luscious drops you feel in that

exhilarating, tropical rain, alive and bursting with life. The type that

draws you out of your hiding place just to dance under the gaping


‘Everyone deserves a friend,’ you said on our tenth birthday – tumbling scarlet

hair, deep blue eyes – ‘I need you, you need me, it wouldn’t make sense for us not

to be together.’

Three months, two weeks, six days, eight hours and twenty-one minutes ago…