A Skylight! Seriously? For fucks sake.
What’s the point in them? They have plagued my entire life and yes I know it’s a stupid thing to hate but I do.
Err… oh hang on a second; maybe I should explain why I hate them.
Well you see, I’m in yet another distasteful room, surrounded by emptiness, the walls are a dirty off white colour and the only furniture is the bed I’m lying on. A solitary bulb hangs from the ceiling and then of course the fucking skylight.
The thing is probably about 18 inches wide and 25 inches long. Such a small size but it’s there, right above me, once again taunting me, it may only be small but I can see so much, some people probably think it’s a good thing, a ray of light through the previously described pit of a room but for me it’s my hell.
Usually when I close my eyes at night or whenever I can even see it then, a square or rather rectangular white abyss lingers behind my closed lids, it doesn’t matter how tightly I close my eyes it just stays there until I eventually fall asleep.
Some of you may be thinking, what can you actually see through a skylight, it’s just a window to the sky, right? Well yes you are right but here’s what you could probably see;
Clouds floating by with not a care in the world,
Colours of the sky changing, depending on the weather which can be quite beautiful, especially at sunset or sunrise,
Birds flying by, free, I mean what more can I say about that, we all wish we could fly, don’t we?
Rain drops creating pretty pictures as they land and form pools or trails and everybody’s favourite rain drop races, although this one is too flat for that,
And last but not least sunlight, brightness, beauty, if you’re lucky,
Yes basically that’s all I can think of right now and yes they are all good things right? Well, this is what I see;
I see a teasing shape that is an exit to outside but you can’t get through it,
Clouds floating by? Yes clouds, a form of nature laughing at me, sometimes taking on shapes of horrible things that frighten me,
Colours of the sky? Yes usually black in my experience,
Birds flying by? Yes showing me the freedom they have and how I have never even been close to freedom in my 23 years of this life, they are once again objects of nature laughing at me,
Rain, well there’s dozens of things I could say negative about rain, it’s cold, wet, once again teasing when on the rare occasions I just want to be out in it, ignoring the cold and damp but enjoying it washing away the filth that surrounds me,
See, that’s what I see when I look at a fucking skylight, right now all I can see is black, mostly because it’s night time but to me it’s just an empty hole that serves no purpose, what the fuck is it about skylights?
Hmm right ok my apologies, I guess maybe I should explain myself, I mean no offence but there’s nothing else I can do, so I might as well bore you.
The bed I’m lying on is cold and hard, I have a cuff around my left ankle and a separate one on my left wrist, yes that’s right I’m chained to a wall, I can make it to a toilet and a sink but that’s it, the door to this room is metal, with a barred window and tomorrow is the last day of my short life.
You see I am basically a prisoner on death row but it’s not the government or the law that has sentenced me to death it’s my ex-husband. Hmm allow me to start from the beginning.
My name is Jade Marne and yes Marne is my maiden name, I stopped using the pricks name 2 years ago, the prick by the way, my ex-husband, his name is Tommy Garcia, or should I say was, yep he’s dead, dead as a door nail, thank fuck but I know he’ll be waiting for me in hell to make sure I suffer some more, you see it’s my fault he’s dead, no I didn’t kill him, ‘I wish I had’, I think it was my forever returning best friend David or Davy as I like to call him. It’s funny really, we went from seeing each other every day throughout school and beyond to barely seeing each other once a year but whenever we did see each other we just slipped right back in to whatever conversation we we’re discussing the last time we saw each other, bizarre really but true. The only precious things I gained from my marriage was my daughter, my beautiful Eliza-Jane, she’s 2 years old, she’s my entire world but I can’t be with her, she’s safe, I had to protect her from her own father and my other precious gift is the tiny bump I am carrying right now but unfortunately when I die tomorrow so will he or she.
Ok make yourself comfortable, make a cup of coffee or something and put your feet up whilst I take you in to the crazy world of Jade Marne, maybe then you will understand why I’m here in this hole looking at the fucking skylight.
I’ll begin on 4th January 2000;
It was my 10th birthday, one that I’d been looking forward to for a long time, not because I was having a party or anything like that but because I was in double figures and I thought that maybe my parents would treat me a little less like a baby.
Hmm my parents, there’s a love story for you, childhood sweethearts since the age of 12, they were never in the same school or neighbours or anything like that and they never knew the other existed until fate brought them together.
Yes fate, that’s what I said, I am probably not the kind of girl who you would think would ever believe in stuff like that but I’m glad to say I do, it’s true, it’s real and it happened to my parents.
My mother had been hit by a car, luckily she only suffered a broken leg and some bruises but still a scary thought none the less. My father was a patient in the same ward at the children’s hospital, ironically he too had been hit by a car and broken his arm and because my mother was confined to her bed my father had walked to her bed every day they were in there and chatted to her, trying to cheer her up, when they we’re released from hospital they had stayed in touch and their little love story was born.
Their first child, my brother Alec, was conceived out of wedlock but they never allowed anybody to tell them it was wrong, they had two children before they got married, didn’t even tell anybody they just went and did it in our local registry office.
My father Eric Marne became an orphan at the age of 6, he was raised in children’s homes, one of the lucky ones some might say, although he was never adopted or even fostered to a family he still had a better life than most of the other kids he grew up with, including his younger brother Drew, yes my father was so independent, so street wise, it must be where I get it from.
And my darling mother, nurturing, to a fault most of the time but her family are her world, my biggest regret when I die tomorrow is never getting the chance to tell her I’m sorry. Yes my mother, Heather Grace, only child, raised in the posh side of the city, wealth, popularity, beauty, she had it all but she gave it all up for my father against her parents’ wishes.
Oh I do apologise, I’m floating off track a little, god I love my parents, I just hope they know that, so anyway where was I, oh yes my 10th birthday.
The weather was cold but beautiful, I was sat in my bedroom that I shared with my two sisters, Jenny and Dana, I also have another brother called Phil, Jenny and Phil are twins, their personalities completely different but their looks identical. It’s probably a miracle I exist to be honest, four other children and the most recent ones twins, my parents must have been mad to have me. All of my siblings are older than me, I’m the baby but I’ll tell you more about them later,
I was sat on my bed; I’m dressed in my trademark pale blue jeans and my favourite green hoody. I’m pulling on my trainers when I hear a cracking noise against my window, a noise I’m very familiar with, it was Davy, my best friend announcing his arrival. I doubt my parents ever knew about his unique way of calling for me, my father would probably have a few choice words for him if he did.
Scurrying down the stairs I swung open our porch door then the front door and I am greeted with Davy’s smiling face, adorable, I didn’t fancy him or anything, Eww boys, gross, no, no nothing like that I just adored him in a friend type way, you know what I mean, anyway;
We had planned to do lots of fun things to celebrate my birthday but just me and Davy, nobody else was invited. I had grabbed my coat from the bannister and headed out the door;
“Jade, where do you think you are going?”
I had frozen to the spot then groaned before I turned to face my father, such a handsome man,
“Dad I told you, I have plans with Davy today, it’s my birthday”
“I know it’s your birthday young lady, I created you, with a little help from your mother of course”
Davy’s disgusted expression mirrors mine, only to be greeted with my fathers’ laughter,
“Sorry Jade but listen you haven’t even had breakfast yet or opened your presents”
“Presents!! Oh my god, I totally forgot, can Davy come in with me?”
“Sure, come on”
My father held his hand out to me but I ducked under it and headed back inside, I’m 10 years old now, I don’t need his hand, right?!
My living room was full, my 2 brothers and my 2 sisters sat smiling holding out cards and gifts to me, my beautiful but ditzy mother, rushing around straightening things up, not that it needed it. Davy had followed me in but stayed tucked behind me, the only time I ever see fear in his eyes is when he’s surrounded by my family but as always my mother had ruffled his soft but messy dark hair and kissed his cheek, my mothers’ kisses are the only ones he doesn’t wipe off, I don’t know why.
My living room is filled with balloons, all over the floor, multi-coloured but pink dominating, only because I’m a girl not because it’s my favourite colour, pink is far to girly for me my favourite colour is green, probably because my name is green, I don’t know but anyway;.
I spent the best part of an hour being smothered with love from my family, thanking them for my gifts but I am well aware of Davy’s impatience, he’s not used to this kind of scene. He lived with his Aunty Joan, both parents had died and he had no brothers or sisters all he really had was me and his pet hamster Bruno.
I had tried to escape the happy little unit several times in the past hour but my family’s love was locking me in their embrace, their smiling faces and cheers as I blew out my 10 candles on top of my home baked cake, I felt sorry for Davy but I couldn’t let my family down.
Another hour passes by, Davy has ripped a sheet of my discarded wrapping paper in to confetti trying to contain his impatience and boredom, my mother had giggled and handed him a plastic bag to place his rubbish in.
“Alright baby girl, I can see that you and your handsome friend have places to be, off you go, make sure you are home by 6pm and please don’t do anything stupid”
She aimed her glance in Davy’s direction at the end of that sentence, his face still pink from his embarrassment of being called handsome brightens to a perfect ruby red before he jumps down off the arm of the couch and rushed out the door with me in hot pursuit.
We don’t stop until we reach our haven, our field surrounded by woodlands, our playground,
“God Jay, doesn’t all that ‘lovey dovey’ family shit make you feel sick?”
I nod my head but I don’t mean it, I adore my family but I know Davy finds it difficult to relate. He smiles at me and tugs at my pony tail,
I chase after him, I have no hope of catching him let alone beating him but I’m exhilarated by the challenge.
We cross the threshold of the trees and slow down to a stroll, we know every inch of this woodland and I mean every inch. We know where the comfiest places are to sit, depending on the weather; we know the best hiding places when we feel like spying on the older kids who also hang out in our woods, we know where the blackberry bushes are, we pick them at the tip of their season and my mum makes a delicious jam to accompany my dads’ scones and tarts. Our woods is the best place in the universe, yes that’s right I said it, OUR woods, anybody else who comes in here are just visiting as far as we are concerned, we have a handful of friends who we hang out here with but we don’t even tell them all of our secret places.
So am I boring you yet? No? Ok then, I shall carry on,
So we walk deeper in to the woods and check all around us, I think Davy has had more than enough socializing for one day so we are relieved that they appear empty. I follow him until we reach OUR tree, it’s huge, well it seems huge, we were only 10 after all, well he’s almost 10 his birthday is exactly a month after mine.
We climb to the very top and perch on our usual branches, below us we can see the pond, the newt pond, we had caught many tadpoles and frogs in there but we always put them back. To my right, (Davy’s left) is the motorway; distorted by a feeble wire fence that is supposed to stop people from climbing over and walking (or falling) down the steep bank to the roads edge, and to my left, (Davy’s right) is the rest of the woods, we can just make out the vast field that sits proudly opposite our houses.
So many memories engulf me when I’m here, lazy sunny days stretched out on old blankets from my parents airing cupboard, games of Rounder’s with the entire street, bonfire night parties, wrapped in layers and baking potatoes or melting marshmallows as we watch the fireworks all around us, Halloween dares that only a handful of us would be brave enough to try but only because as I said earlier, we knew this place from top to bottom, even in the dark and of course snowball fights…
“Jade, you ok?”
Davy’s words pulled me from my daydreaming and I turned to face him, he was holding out a parcel wrapped in newspaper, I looked at him confused, Davy never usually bother with presents,
“What’s that?” I asked him
“It’s your birthday isn’t it, open it”
I could feel my cheeks burn but excitement took over, I took it from him and smiled,
As I pulled layer after layer off the parcel Davy is giggling, I started to get annoyed because as far as I could see there’s nothing in it, it’s a trick, a rather mean one to pull on your best friend but as I was about to snap at him he took it from me and pulled the last layer off and handed me a tiny bracelet, it was homemade which touched my heart, it was a braid of brown and black cotton and in the centre was a solitary jade green bead,
“Wow Davy, did you make this for me? That’s so sweet” I’d asked him
“Nah, I asked Abbie next door to make it but it was my idea, I picked the colours and everything and I paid her for it”
He pulled up the sleeve of his own hoody, green like mine but much darker and revealed an identical bracelet on his left wrist,
I smiled, speechless, yes it would have meant more if he had made it himself but the simple fact that he thought of it, he’s got a matching one and he used my favourite colours still touches me, I leant across to him and kissed his cheek which of course he immediately wiped off but he then smiled and tied it to my wrist for me.
Hmm such a sweet story that isn’t it, I promise I’m not always this sloppy although I do dream of romance, I have only ever really experienced it once, I wish I could again but I guess now it’s too late.
The bracelet? Yes I still have it, it’s hidden somewhere safe and only Davy will be able to find it, I hope he goes and looks for it when he learns of my death tomorrow.
Did you like that little story? Would you like some more? Ok well I’m going to free flow so try to keep up.
Let’s fast forward a few years because my childhood was pretty repetitive but awesome all the same. You know when people talk about their happy place? Well that’s mine, I’m back up in that tree with Davy watching the world pass us by, god I miss him, I visit it regularly, in my mind of course, I guess it’s the only thing that keeps me sane in this hellish life I live, or rather lived, I hope I can find my happy place tomorrow when I face the firing squad.
By the age of 13 we had drifted apart, only slightly mind but it was still too big a gap for me, we had gone to different senior schools, made new friends but every Wednesday night without fail we still met in OUR woods, new additions came and went but by the end of the evening it was always once again me and Davy till 10pm when we had to be home, he always walked me home first, gentleman would not be a word that anybody but me would use to describe Davy.
By the summer of 2004 I was in love, well at least I thought I was and no it wasn’t with Davy, so our Wednesday nights had become a thing of the past.
My love was called Henry, quite a shock to be honest, he was one of the popular guys in my school, despite my average looks he had chosen me over the foolish screeching pretty girls that tried to follow him around all day, or maybe it was me who was the fool but anyway;
It was the spring of 2004 when he had asked me to be his girl, I swear I almost fell over backwards with shock, literally but he had gripped my arm gently to steady me and I was hooked, my hero, my love, my world. Everything else in the world took a back seat in my life; I was driving forward, fast, with Henry strong and dominant right beside me. He was sweet and gentle with me but people feared him, I liked that, most of the time, sometimes he could go over the top with his power, silly things like a sideways glance at me, a huff at him for choosing me over other girls had him raging like a bull and the fists would fly. I had lost count of the amount of black eyes or split lips he ended up with but he always emerged victorious. As I said earlier it was now summer 2004 and we had been together for a few months, that’s when he met Davy. We had been sunbathing on the field surrounded by our mutual friends when Davy had casually strolled over, I hadn’t seen him since the Easter holidays so I had leapt up and greeted him, as always with a kiss on the cheek and a crushing hug, yes he still wiped it off, if Henry wasn’t angry at our greeting he was angry now;
“Aye knobhead, who the fuck are ya and why did you wipe your face then, she’s not a fucking leper ya know”
Davy’s face remained placid and as I was about to try to put Henry right I was pushed aside and a fight broke out, my heart didn’t know what direction to take, I was mortified, my friends had ran to me to ensure I was ok after I had landed with a thud on the floor but all I could see was my two favourite people rolling around the floor hurting each other, I cried on my friend Taylor’s shoulder but I couldn’t take my eyes from Henry and Davy punching fuck out of each other. The fight seemed to go on for ever but eventually all went quiet and one of them stood up, it was Davy, he had brushed off his clothing then stumbled towards me as Henry got to his feet, I quickly placed myself between them, refusing to allow them to continue to fight,
“What the fuck are you both playing at?” I had growled at them, they were stood either side of me at arms-length gasping for breath, the fight had been pretty even, both had cuts and bruises and had their eyes on each other passing silent glares as though I was invisible,
“Jay, who the fuck is this dude and what’s his fucking problem?”
“Who the fuck am I, who the fuck are you ya mean?” Henry bit back
“Both of you shut up” I had screeched,
Gasping for breath exhausted somehow, strange because I hadn’t done anything but stand myself back up after being pushed to the ground, I had no idea who had pushed me but it didn’t matter,
“If either of you had given me a chance I’d have introduced you”
They continued to glare through me so I continued,
“Davy, this is Henry, he is my boyfriend”
Davy had laughed mockingly and I could feel Henry’s chest tense and push against my outstretched hand but I stood my ground,
“And Henry this is Davy, he’s my best friend and has been for a very long time”
“Best friend! Are you taking the piss?”
“No I am not, I hugged and kissed him because I have missed him and he wiped away my kiss just like he has always done, not because he doesn’t like me or anything, both of you need to calm down”
“Best friend?” Henry had repeated, “your best friend is a dude, I don’t fucking think so Jade, you have to make a choice, it’s me or him”
I had frozen to the spot, faced with an impossible decision, how was I supposed to choose? Both of their dark eyes had gone from each other and on to me, placing me under more pressure,
My mouth froze, jaw dropped for several minutes until Davy stepped away from my outstretched arm,
“I’ll make it easier for you Jay” he had stepped towards me, kissed my cheek, (for the first time ever) and walked away from me and out of my life”
I stood, staring at the gap in the bushes which Davy had just stepped through and stared at the now empty hole, a tear had rolled down my cheek and Henry cheered victorious. He wrapped me in his arms holding me closely and bouncing up and down on the spot, with our friends laughing and cheering around us, I just felt numb, it was as though a part of my body had been sliced off and disintegrated in to a cloud of dust. I knew Davy would have done it to safe me the pain of making the choice but doesn’t he realise his action had been just as painful if not more so?
I stayed by Henry’s side and allowed him to sit us back on the grass and continue the sunbathing. Chatter and laughter floated around me but all I could see were my favourite places in every part of our field, our woods, it seemed so empty without him.
I lasted as long as I could, I didn’t want to anger Henry. As night fell and our friends slowly began dispersing I stepped from Henry’s arms, made an excuse of tiredness and allowed him to walk me home. He kissed me goodbye as though nothing had happened and headed off to make his own way home. I ran up my stairs and fell face first on to my bed as the sobs poured from me. I texted Davy several times but they went un-answered.
Wow it is true, your life does flash before you as you approach death, ok it’s not quite what they mean, in my case it’s sort of flowing rather than flashing but it’s pretty much the same thing.