Monday, May 17, 2010

Hev99 Week 2 Entry: The Message

Hev99's Pick: Pic 2


The Message

The blazing sun hung high in the sky; it's silken rays landing on my bare legs, no longer casting the long shadows of the corn stalks that grew all around me. I watched as a blackbird hopped merrily amongst the golden crops, pecking at the ground for fallen seeds, his bright yellow beak standing out in vivid contrast to the sleek black of his feathers. His soft twittering was the only sound, save the breeze that rustled through the dry crops, whispering it's secrets onto the wind to be carried far away. I wondered whether the wind would betray me. If I told it my secrets, would it carry them away and tell somebody in a distant land? Or would it hold them forever, never telling a soul, locking them away until they faded like a wave on the shore.

My mobile phone was clutched tightly in my hand, the message written then deleted a hundred times over. I glared at the screen, almost willing it to make the decision for me. Send or delete? Tell or hide? One message. That's all it would take. Just one simple message. Three simple words and maybe it could stop. Maybe it could all stop.

I couldn't hide out in this field forever. It was only a matter of time until somebody caught on. It was just a question of who would notice first, the school or the farmer. He had to harvest his crops eventually and when he did there would be nowhere to hide any more.

I would miss this place. The small clearing in the middle of the field where the flattened corn stalks provided a comfortable space to lie back and just be. There were no sounds here but those that nature made. The birds singing busily in the trees, the crickets chirping happily in the bushes which bordered the field, and my favourite sound of all, the wind. The sound it made as it brushed through the crops and danced around the leaves of the trees was the most soothing music that nature had provided, like water, a stream trickling and tripping over a rocky riverbed.

The sky was pure, bright blue with a few soft clouds scattered around, suspended in the heavens like billowing cotton wool balls. I watched their progress as they sauntered lazily across the hazy sky and disappeared behind the tall corn plants and out of my sight.

A flock of birds, flying in a perfect V shape swooped and wheeled across the sky, never breaking their formation as they sped around, perfectly free. In my mind I soared with them, high in the heavens, above the planet below, completely free and completely content.

But humans don't fly, and of course the tranquility couldn't last. The peaceful silence that had enveloped me since I had dropped to the ground as the school bell had rung elsewhere, was suddenly shattered by the ridiculous ring-tone my stupid brother had locked onto my phone when I turned my back on him and his idiotic friends for one minute. There was a flurry of wings batting against the leaves of the tree as the shrill electronic sound broke the silence of the afternoon, the small screen flashing with my mother's number. So, the game was up. The school must have finally noticed I was missing, two and a half weeks later.

I pressed the pad of my finger against the silence button, not ready to talk to her yet. The text message still sat, unsent in my phone, waiting for the perfect moment to wing it's way into being and then they would know. I held my finger in place, watching the screen flashing for a few more moments, the handset vibrating softly in my hand before it stuttered into darkness once more, the message 'One Missed Call' appearing on the screen, undoubtedly sealing my mum's anger.

Her moody, erratic and irritable daughter was now also a truant. I could already imagine the disappointment that would be etched onto her face when I saw her after "school". Her eyes would be soft, hurt. Her mouth would be turned down sadly at the corners and the lines that were there more often than not since dad was taken away in the back of a police van, would deepen into a full frown.

I could bear anything from my mum - anything but disappointment - anything but that feeling of having let her down. She would be heartbroken. Every morning she dropped me at the school gates, all I had to do was walk inside. But every day for over two weeks, I had watched her drive away, seeing her bright red car disappear round the corner before I turned around and headed for this place. This special place where nobody could find me. Because in school they always found me. Every day.

My phone bleeped once more, quietly this time; just a message coming through. Mum. Of course.

Jennie, where are you? Call me. Please. I'm worried. I love you, Mum x

Guilt swept over me like a tidal wave as I realized that she wasn't just angry, not just disappointed, but she was very probably worried sick.

I slumped back onto the soft ground, my phone still held tightly in my hand, as a whole new set of clouds drifted overhead, a thin vapor trail weaving a path across the heavens, evidence of people being carried far away. I wondered about the plane that had left it's footprint across the sapphire sky. I wondered where it was going? Who was onboard? Why were they leaving? Or were they going home? Was running away ever really a viable solution to anything?

I remembered that line from my mum's favorite film, The Sound of Music. "You can't run away from your problems, you have to face them."

I could picture myself as a small child, curled into my mum's side as we watched the film, singing tunelessly to the songs as Julie Andrews' perfect voice crackled out from the elderly television.

Pulling the message up onto the screen one more time I stared at it for countless minutes. Three words. Just three and she would maybe understand. Not long words. Simple, easy. And yet so hard at the same time. My finger hovered over the send key, hesitating. Putting off the inevitable for just a bit longer, holding out for just a few more moments of paradise.

Then out of nowhere, the beautiful blackbird broke all the rules. It pecked around, every day. But never approached me. Never came to within less than 5 feet of me. Yet it chose that moment, that moment when my finger was on the button to peck at my finger. Startled, my thumb squeezed against the phone key just hard enough to send those three words into cyber space, to betray me, not onto the wind but to somebody who would actually read them, understand them and be forced to react.

The words were out there now and there could be no taking them back.

My phone chirped again, another message coming through. My fingers shook warily as I fumbled over the keys to open it.

Come home, sweetheart. Come home and we can talk. I love you, forever. Come home. Please? Mum x

Sighing, I scrambled to my feet, looking around one more time at my favorite place in the world. The place that had offered me sanctuary every day. My place of peace and tranquility, where nobody ever found me.

When the bullies found out that I told, things were bound to get worse - they always did, didn't they? But I would always have this place, this little piece of paradise that was all mine. No matter what they did, they couldn't take that away from me.