Her name was Maxine Hemming. She was 16 years old and had beautiful brown hair which tumbled down to her shoulder blades. She never wore skirts or shorts as she felt more comfortable about her body in jeans or long pants in general. She never wore makeup as she was told that it ruined the look of her deep brown eyes and she believed them. She was like me. She was the new girl to the school, coming from Australia with her family as her mother was in the Defence Force and had been posted here.
Already fluent in German, she managed to fit in reasonably well but everyone was fascinated by her accent when speaking German and when she spoke English. I found her in the second week of the new semester by herself in the lunch room with her sandwich and packet of chips. They were Smith's Plain Crinkle Cut and the sandwich had something very bitter on it called Vegemite.
Her classes didn't intercept with mine but that didn't stop us from being friendly becoming friends. One night I was invited over to her house for dinner. The dinner was Australian and the desert was German. The dinner was rissoles with barbequed pineapple rings on the side. I had never seen this before but apparently everyone loves it in Australia. Her parents were lovely and welcomed me in with open arms. That was the night, though, that the tall, lean, innocent Australian girl became not so innocent anymore.
As I entered her bedroom, I walked around looking at her possessions and every now and then I picked things up and under a book I found something I didn't want to find. Max was out of the room when I found it so I quickly put the book down and sat on the bed. I saw photos of her friends back in Australia and her family. I'm sure she missed them all and I don't blame her. My first week in Kingship, I missed my friends and extended family back Germany and it was hard. By this time, Maxine had returned to her room and we talked all night till her parents took me home. She walked me to my door, hugged me and gave me a kiss on the cheek. This was when my body surged with butterflies and I smiled at her before walking inside. I had never felt this way before and I really liked this feeling. This feeling was there whenever I saw Maxine and I started to miss her whenever she left.
One night we had a sleepover at her house and we were in her bed talking and I asked her about the scars on her wrists and she went quiet.
"Est tut mir Leid Maxine." I apologize to her as I believe I have stepped over the line. I lie there looking at the roof and I hear her sweet soft voice again and I smile.
"Ginne, das geht." I smile now and turn back to her and that was where the feelings rocketed. That night became the best night of my life after she kissed me softly on the lips before smiling sweetly. Our fingers interlinked and we moved closer together so that we could feel each other. By the morning we had kissed only once more and it was before we had fallen asleep with our fingers still interlocked.
Her lips felt like a soft warm dough that had just come out of the oven and the kiss itself was not my first but it felt better than any first kiss that anyone could ever have. Her hands were small yet slightly rough as she had recently done the dishes and so her hands had dried out. That kiss, the one that I miss every day and will every day that I am in Germany again but at least this plane ride won't be as bad as the last.
Maxine Grace Hemming was diagnosed with depression before she had even travelled to Germany and it grew worse with the move. I had helped it as her friends had distanced from her after the diagnosis whereas I moved closer to her, as a friend and then as a girlfriend. I only helped a little though because once rumours had spread about us, we were constantly bullied and she just kept spiralling. I managed to ignore it all as I was protecting Max. She got even more bullying because she was foreign. I couldn't stop it all and the parts I did stop and shield her from, she found out about when I wasn't around.
Three days before I left for Kingship with my family, I broke the news to Maxine as it would break her heart and it did. I was her only friend and I was the only reason for her happiness, her only reason to live. She had threatened her life early in the year and her parents had rushed her to the hospital. They had called my parents that morning and I didn't know until my parents were driving me to school but then we arrived at the hospital and my worst nightmare had come true.
She promised me a thousand times that it wouldn't happen again but I guess this was just too much for her. Maxine was meant to meet me at the airport to say goodbye to me but she said something had come up and that she was truly sorry and that she would miss me very much. Our flight had been called and we were getting up to board when my mother received a phone call and she dropped her bag. My father said that we had to go but she wouldn't move so she whispered it into his ear. We boarded the plane after my mother hung up and wiped away her tears.
My parents were un-easy, I could see it in their body language and then they calmed when the doors shut and the seat belt sign was turned on. My mother turned to me and grabbed my father's hand.
"Ginne, Maxine ist heute morgen gestorben. Sie hat sich in ihrem Schlafzimmerschrank erhängt. Ihre Eltern haben sie wenig später gefunden, weil sie laut Musik laufen hatte.r, da sie laute Musik angelassen hatte."
There was a note though Ginne...
I love Ginne with all my heart and I will miss her forever. She was the shining light in my life and I see no reason to be on this earth if there is no light to guide me anymore.
I tried to get off the plane but it was too late. The doors were shut and I had to put on my seatbelt. She was gone and I couldn't fly back for the funeral because we didn't have enough money. The only reason we were on this plane is because Dad's work paid for the flight and a couple of months of rent.
The first I want to do when I arrive in Germany is visit her family and then her grave. Maxine Grace Hemming died on the 23rd of September 2010 and I will always remember her and she will never leave my heart.
* est tut mir Leid – I'm so sorry
* das geht – that's okay
*The mothers words translate to - Ginne, Maxine has died this morning. She hung herself in her bedroom cupboard and her parents found her not long after as she left loud music playing.