the latest thing that has me incredibly pre-occupied is the missing australian britt lapthorne.
i'm not sure why i am so interested. sure, it's a sad story, her family are beside themselves, so i guess imagining their pain and distress makes me feel really strongly about it, but usually it's stories about children who set me off in this way.
i've been thinking about it more today, and i think one reason why i am so interested in it is that i was once her.
i backpacked on my own overseas for a period, meeting up with great people, and having a wonderful time, from greece, to turkey, to israel, to egypt and beyond. while i was older than her (25), i probably wasn't that much smarter. i've done some stupid things (not saying she has) and i've been drunk in foreign places and fraternised with local men (also, not saying she has). jesus, i ended up marrying one.
i've been on the back of a motorbike in bali, driven by a local, both of us pissed on indonesian palm wine. i've been in dahab, south sinai, where everyone was smoking dope, except me, though i did drink. i kissed a kurdish boy in eastern turkey, also while drunk, in a hotel corridor. i've been driven in cars by strangers, met up with people who dialled the wrong number and wanted to take me for a drink, had eyeballs with strangers who i met on cb radio. that was back in the '80s.
all i'm saying is that friends and family would have probably called me sensible, even back then.
and all i'm saying is this is no reflection on britt - i'm just marvelling that i made it through.
here's what i think's going to happen, unfortunately. my reasonings are based on experience in turkey, when my mother was diagnosed with cancer while we were living there. it went from the doctor saying he was pretty sure it wouldn't be cancer, to stringing us along for days beyond when he would have reasonably had the pathology results. i had to push and push and chase for the result, and then be told on christmas night (once, he perhaps thought, we had enjoyed our christmas day, didn't need to spoil that seasonal joy with some bad news about cancer) finally, that yes, she did have cancer. there were no hard feelings, it was just unfortunate, and i really believe that he didn't want to be the bearer of bad news. i wonder if there is a similar cultural thing going on it croatia.
my gut feeling is that the body found recently will be britt. they've said it's too decomposed to be her, that it was highly unlikely (at the same time, notice, maintaining there was still a small chance, ie they couldn't completely rule out that it was her, needed to do dna tests etc) and now there are whispers that they got it wrong with another body found in water previously - that they thought it was an older body than it turned out to be. there are also whispers now that the body they found is of britt's height, has blonde hair and is female.
this is their way of letting the family down gently, not that there is such a possibility. their reasoning is that by saying it's not her, they are being kind to the family, letting them have hope for a little bit longer (all the while knowing or suspecting it will turn to despair). this type of thinking is culturally opposite to the way we operate here. it's similar in japan - traditionally they would outright lie to the dying cancer patient, or whatever, and only tell the family the true diagnosis/prognosis. and everyone would keep it a secret from the one person who ought to know.
it's a similar way of thinking - build up to the truth by a series of lies.
of course, as has been mentioned by britt's father, there are other elements to this story, which is becoming increasingly bizarre.
- the serbian nationalist with tattoos over his body being sent by the afp to help
- the report of the mother of the hostel owner trying to mail an australian passport from the post office the day britt disappeared
- the original baffling question of why people travelling/partying with her, left the day she disappeared, knowing she hadn't come back to the hostel
- why her mobile phone was found in her room, with a call made from it to the hostel owner's phone
- have we heard anything about the cctv footage? i'm smelling a cover-up.
and most freakishly for me, why did one of the friends she was travelling with leave a comment on britt's facebook page saying something along the lines of "that picture with you and the cake is the favourite one of mine :)" TWO DAYS AFTER BRITT DISAPPEARED.
and the whole thing is just awful for the family. i feel for her mother and her father so much.
i think we'll be learning very soon that they've found her, and at least her family can have some peace. they'll be able to bring her home but i don't think they'll ever find out what really happened to her.