Since I had to cancel last Friday’s reading/signing due to the flu, I thought I would release what I was going to read aloud for my fans. Here, indeed, lies the prologue of my latest young adult book, All About Jane. It can be purchased a little over a month from now, on May 29th, via ebook at http://www.marketingnewauthors.com/fiction.html. Please leave a comment on the blog and start the conversation with your predictions for my most recent work. Thanks for reading.
My jaw is clenched more often than not lately. Lately as in the last five years. But time, in my case, is irrelevant. There’s no need for a watch, a calendar, or a phone to monitor my endless days. All there is, is time. Continuous, monotonous, suffocating time.
Often, which is a redundant transition in this case, I catch myself humming that sixties tune, “Time is on my side, yes it is,” even though it never really has been. It wasn’t with Jane either. It was never the neon Timex smile glowing to ease the darkness for either one of us.
I wonder if I should explain her story before mine, that way my tale appears entwined, and more reciprocal with the facts on that cold December afternoon. Perhaps I should just state it as I recall, some years later. Regardless of the style or order, here are the facts, and as the intelligent reader knows, facts tend to be skewed given perspective, background, and bias.
*Jane Robins was in my English Lit. class. She despised our handsome teacher, Mark Gurd, but loved Hamlet. “It’s just so beautifully written,” she had stated to the entire class when there was a substitute and they were all goofing off saying shit like, “Have you felt any girl up like Hammie has with O-feel-ya?”
*Jane Robins was not my friend. I had failed English the year prior. A long story, but mom said just to blame it on my immune system, or lack thereof, and we did not have the money for summer school. So here I was, stuck with underclass idiots reading the exact same stuff we had the year before, in the exact same order, with the exact same drone, albeit handsome, Mr. Gurd.
*Jane Robins left school at 11:00am Tuesday morning, December 2nd. She told the office attendant she was sick. She told her one friend, Tera, good-bye. Looking back Tera would report that it was odd. She thought Jane was just skipping her afternoon classes. It was gray and cold, typical Michigan weather. Sans snow.
*Jane Robins proceeded to clean her bedroom at 11:33am. (This all garnered from police interviews and reports that my journalist loud-talker of a mother retrieved due to the Freedom of Information Act, and information that I found years later). Jane left a note for her parents on an old antique dresser they scavenged from the flea market and had initially used as her changing table. The note was stapled. It lay perfectly square where they once folded her cloth diapers. The note was labeled to her Mom and Dad, even though Mom had been gone many years. The note referenced part of Hamlet’s most famous soliloquy:
“…and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to,—’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die,—to sleep;—
To sleep: perchance to dream” (Shakespeare 3:1).
*Jane Robins left a note for her boyfriend, Kyle, of two years lassoed around the neck of the pink hippo he won for her on their first date-the infamous Holy Redeemer Festival complete with greasy elephant ears and a faulty ferris wheel. Those Catholics know how to fundraise. No one ever leaked what was contained inside this letter.
*Jane Robins then picked up her boom box, which usually lay on the floor beneath her window, and carried it into the garage. She put her favorite Beatles mix tape inside the audio cassette tray, patiently fast-forwarded to the song, “Julia,” and pushed play. This again, according to police report, not eye witness account, and not my memory as memory fails with trauma and age.
*Jane Robins then threw the rope she had prepared into a noose days earlier over the garage rafter. Gingerly she pulled up a folding chair they had stored for spontaneous games of Euchre. Using effortless balance she tied off the rope end so that is was taught against the beam. Then she placed her pale, placid, sophomore head directly into death’s open arms.
*Jane Robins forgot to close the garage door, so her body swayed similarly to her last slow dance with Kyle at Homecoming months prior. She did not close the garage door that faced the prepubescent minds of the middle school. She did not close the garage door, and the local police had just enough time to cut her down, like the fall harvest, before the final bell shrilly called out that the day was done.
*The fact is, Jane Robins hung herself that cold day in December. Half-way through the worst school year of her miserable life.
And I was to blame.