The whole of Melbourne is numb. Jill was taken from Sydney Road last Saturday night and extinguished by a stranger. After being at Brunswick Green and Bar Etiquette. The most local and friendly places in my Melbourne world.
Three out of my six Melbourne years were spent living within a coee of those bars; I even used to work at Bar Etiquette when it was still Frau Skill. I’ve spent countless nights, and drinks, meeting friends, making strangers friends, laughing, debating, drinking and making plans with all and sundry.
Last night instead of sleeping my mind went back over all of those happy memories and scanned them for a hint of maliciousness. I can’t comprehend what would turn one of those laughing encounters into the series of events that could lead to such brutal murder. Is this something that an angry person would plan carefully and then go out and sully a beautiful innocence? Making someone, anyone, share some mischannelled hurt? Or was it a series of escalating interactions where he ultimately dominated? My mind just can’t imagine how this could happen.
Sydney Road is heart broken, both for Jill and the impending suspiciousness. Girls will think twice before laughing with people they haven’t met, and I’m not sure how long the clouds of distrust will linger. But I don’t think that this sort of act is geographically bounded. Or culturally constrained.
The seed of misdeed grows anywhere it can throw tenterhooks. This is an opportunity for Melbourne, and Australia, to reinvigorate efforts in male mental health. There are so many wonderful programs like Soften the Fck Up, that help men deal with emotions. If you know someone you are worried about there has never been a better time to help them, help themselves, before they ruin their own lives, and drag such beautiful innocence down with them.