From Innocence Lost: a play about Steven Truscott by Beverley Cooper, published by Scirocco Drama. Sarah was a classmate of Steven Truscott and Lynne Harper. She is now in her forties, telling her version of the story. This piece comes from the end of the play.
Courage wasn’t something I had in great quantity. But I thought about those things Steven had lost – the high school dances, hanging around with his friends, he wasn’t even allowed to have the athletic award he’d won. And it came to me that no one had all the answers. It was never going to be black and white. This story was always going to have shades of grey; the trust I had in the world; in authority; in doctors and lawyers; and even in my own parents, was mostly grey.
One day in June I was coming back from picking strawberries and found myself driving past the old base. The air force had long gone but the houses were still there. The school looked lonely and deserted. I passed Bob Lawson’s farm and for some reason I turned down the county road towards Highway 8. I drove past the bush and parked the car near the river. I got out. And I stood there and I looked life and death right in the face. I looked really hard and tried to imagine that terrible day and what had happened. I saw the spot where Dougie Oates and little Karen Daum had been looking for turtles and had seen Steven and Lynne ride by. While I stood on the bridge a car drove past, heading towards the highway. I watched it carefully, paying particular attention to the license plate. It wasn’t yellow but it would do. As the car turned east on Highway 8 I could still make out the colour of the license plate. It was white.
But there was one last piece of the puzzle for me to find. Only one but it was an important one. And it happened by accident. I was invited to a party at an old friend of mine from high school. It was near Christmas and she hinted at some kind of surprise. I was late getting there – my son had had a hockey game and I tried to sneak through the kitchen to drop off a plate of cookies I had made. Outside the door – there was a man standing. He looked like he was taking a little fresh air , trying to find a place for quiet. I said a quick hello and tried to get past him without disturbing him too much but he looked at me straight on and my heart stopped. Just like it did all those years ago in 1959 when I would steal looks at him through the cracks between my fingers. I paused for a moment and my eyes looked straight into his. And what I saw was... innocence.