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If you have read 'The Fights That Make Us' and want to find out what happened to Lisa after her last diary entry, read on...

11 September 1988

Dear Auntie Stella and Uncle Rob,

Thank you SO MUCH for your letter, I found it tucked in the front pocket of my bag when I was unpacking. It was such a lovely surprise. It made me feel a little better about coming home, like a bit of you had come back with me!

College starts tomorrow. I’ll be too nervous to eat any breakfast, but a good sort of nervous, I think. It’s brilliant being able to choose my own clothes, instead of wearing school uniform. Even better, choosing what I want to study. That’s all thanks to you. You talked Mum and Dad into letting me go to college, instead of doing A Levels at school. I don’t know what you said that made them listen. But it worked! They wouldn’t have listened if it was just me. I’m going to work so hard, I swear, I’m going to make you proud.

I’m also trying to do what you said and give Mum and Dad the benefit of the doubt. It’s not easy, but I am trying, I promise. I think they’re trying too. But I can’t imagine ever being able to forget the things they said when they sent me away. I don’t think it can ever be the same between us. Not after that. I don’t think they’ll ever understand me.

I thought that the worst thing that could possibly happen was being sent to stay with you in Hurston, miles away from Nicky and all my friends. But you made it okay. More than okay. You let me sleep and sulk and cry and sit in my room and draw and go for walks and play with Jenny and, most of all, you didn’t make me say anything until I was ready. And then you listened, really listened, especially when I found out that Nicky was moving away and everything seemed like it was falling apart all over again. You helped me listen to myself too.

And here’s what I think now. I think I might have to be two people for a bit. Lisa at home, the good, studious daughter. But, during the day, I’ll be college Lisa. I don’t know what she’s going to be like yet, but I’m excited to find out. I want to join the college Gay Soc. I know there used to be one, but maybe that’s changed since Section 28 got passed. I’ll have to find out. Even so, I reckon I’ll find my tribe, somehow. Maybe I’ll wear my ‘Stop the Clause’ badge on the first day and see who recognizes it!

You see, I want to recapture that experience, how it felt at that march in London. The feeling of togetherness, of knowing that I wasn’t not on my own, that I shouldn’t let anyone make me feel ashamed of who I was. I was so scared before I went, scared of making a fuss or of getting found out or of upsetting Mum and Dad. But now that’s all happened. And I’ve survived! I’m not scared any more. Especially because I’ve got you two on my side.

Thank Jenny for the beautiful drawing, she’s getting to be a proper little artist. I’ll try and send her some drawings of my own soon. I think the next few weeks will be really busy. Even if I don’t write for a while, I am still thinking of you!

I haven’t forgotten the last thing that Auntie Stella whispered in my ear when we hugged goodbye – to cherish being alive, and being me, and to live my life as best I can, every single day. That’s what I’m going to do. Just watch me!

Love Lisa xx

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