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Diary of Jane
Author's note: Based on a few songs and real life experiences. Not only did I base this story on things in my own life, but so that other people could relate to it as well. Even in high school especially - when you find out who's really your friend. However, a child's ignorance is bliss.
My eyes almost instantly catch the sight of the little blond girl standing in the sunlight, giving off a radiant glow in that sparkling white dress she's wearing. I hesitate going over to meet the new girl on my block; she'll be living in the new, freshly painted white and sky blue house. The girl and the house both look as if they came from a fairytale. Nothing like me.
My deep blue eyes scan over her small frame (similar to mine) and her porcelain skin as she hauls a box of toys onto her porch. Suddenly, she notices me on the sidewalk, and I freeze. The tap shoes on her tiny feet barely make any noise as she walks across her lawn towards me. I sigh. I've changed my mine - I do not wish to be seen with the new blond girl in the perfect white dress who lives in the new perfect house. I bite my lip nervously as she continues to approach me. A few steps away, she waves politely, "Salutations, my name's Bailey."
I raise an eyebrow and mutter, dumbfounded, "Salu-what?" The girl giggles.
"Salutations: it means 'hello', 'greetings'," she explains.
"Oh...well, I'm Jane, nice to meet ya," I respond in my North Jersey accent. I force a half smile and hold out my hand. Her hand is surprisingly bigger than mine, but I can feel my strength exceeding her's as we shake hands. I see her eyes widen as she feels the experience on my skin - the scars, booboos - and suddenly, it's like we're opposites ready to attract. I smile wider and without thinking, suggest, "Let's be friends."
As she pulls me into a tight hug, ruffling my shaggy black hair, we laugh. "You'll be my first," she says.
It had hit off the moment we met. Of course, there were others who hung out with us as well. Everyone liked Bailey - plain and simple. However, I know for a fact that if there was one person Bailey liked the most back then, it was me. She always told me how nice I was being that she was the first one I looked to whenever a group of us were getting together, the one I would ask to sleepover when everyone else had gone home after a play-date (though her mom didn't like her being anywhere near me or my apartment), or when she was the first one to get a phone call from me even if it was simply "How was your day?". Who would've thought that a scroungy little tomboy such as myself would get along so well with the sweet china doll that was Bailey? Somehow, it did not matter in our eyes - perhaps because we were children. Although despite being from different worlds, we were the best of best friends there was, and we spent the rest of our summer days together.
We spent most of our days at the beach. Here, we were able to meet without our parents caring. Bailey was very mature for a 7 year old, and her parents were able to trust her. All she needed was her cellphone so she would be able to call them every few minutes. To be honest, I had bad parents, and they didn't care what I did. It was no trouble at all if I just walked out to see a friend without telling anyone. Besides that, those days at the beach truly made an imprint in my mind.
It was the first day of September, and the sun was just beginning to set. Bailey and I sat in the sand building what we thought was the greatest sand castle ever. I wore an indigo muscle shirt and red swim trunks. My hair fell in front of my face as I patched the sandy chunks together in formation. She was wearing a floral sundress. She smiled warmly as her eyes fell upon me and the expression of determination on my face.
"Hey, Jane," she spoke softly to me. I looked up at her angelic face.
"We'll always be best friends forever...won't we?" she asked cautiously. I grinned cheerfully.
"A' course we will; forever, fer sure," I showed her my pinky finger, and she connected her's with mine. It was an official promise: we would be friends forever. I got up to my feet and ran towards the water. Lying down on the border line of sand and sea, I allowed the water to wash up to my knees before it was pulled back into the ocean.
I gazed out beyond the horizon to a glorious sunset; the orange clouds surrounding it formed a halo above the fireball. I turned my head as I felt Bailey's hand rest on my shoulder. "It's so beautiful, isn't it?" she cooed as her eyes that twinkled like stars watched the slowly disappearing sun. I nodded in agreement. Then out of nowhere, a wave came over me, pushing me back about a yard. When the wave was drawn back, I shook the water from my hair in a dog-like manner. Bailey was laughing; only her feet had gotten wet. I began to laugh as well. That's when I decided I didn't want to lose this moment.
I stood up and told her, "I've got an idea." She watched me curiously as I reached into the pocket of my swim trunks, pulling out a disposable camera. She gasped happily. "I wanna be able to 'member this." I ran over to her and wrapped one arm around her neck while holding the camera out in front of us with my other hand. I smiled widely, she giggled, the camera flashed. Perfect. "I can't wait to get this devel'ped!" I exclaimed, stepping away from her. She looked sweetly at me. Walking past me, Bailey ran her fingers through the hair that fell over my eyelids.
"Once again, I had fun today. I'll see you tomorrow," she told me with a wink. Taking out her cellphone, she continued to walk away from the beach.
But summer ended quickly. It was soon the start of the school year as summer turned into fall. I was just starting first grade while Bailey was going into second. It made me very happy that her class was next to mine though. I wasn't the best at reading or writing, so whenever I was struggling, they'd bring Bailey over to help me. She was a genius at everything. I also give her credit for being so patient with me. True, I was a slow learner, but half the time I only pretended to be slow to keep her there longer.
Eventually it was December and fall turned into winter. School had let out for Christmas break, and I hadn't seen Bailey in a week. During this time, I tried to find her the perfect gift. On the last day of school, she had told me how much she wanted a real diamond ring. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to afford something like that. Instead, I made her a friendship necklace. I prayed it would be good enough for her high standards.
The day after Christmas, I threw on my green snow suit and red scarf, and headed out of my apartment carrying a little box; I didn't even bother waking my parents. Once I was outside, I untied my bike from a tree, put my gift in its basket and hopped onto it. I began pedalling as fast as I could across town. On my way, I passed decorated shops and houses; everyone was still in the holiday spirit it seemed. Even the people on the street were kind and friendly to each other. This was always my favorite time of the year, and now knowing Bailey, I had someone to spend it with.
After a few minutes, I approached my friend's magnificent fairytale house. From the first time I laid eyes on it, it never lost its charm. The snow framing it only complimented its structure. Dismounting my bike, I grabbed my present from the basket and raced through the blanketed lawn, up to the porch. Anxious, I excitedly knocked on the glass door and waited. No one came. Thinking I couldn't be heard by simply knocking, I pressed down on the doorbell beside the knob. A loud jingle filled the air; I held my breath and waited, yet still no one came. I looked down at my feet nervously. That's when I noticed the note.
At my feet was a piece of paper with elegant handwriting. The paper read:
'It hurt me to keep this a secret from you, but my dad recently got a job promotion, and we're moving to California. I didn't want to tell you because I didn't want to see you hurt. All I wanted was to use as much time we had together to the fullest. I'll miss you so so so so so so SO MUCH! I'm sorry, Jane! Goodbye.
My eyes shot wide open. "No..." I muttered. Then from the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of the garage door opening. My body shuttered as I looked up in time to see a fancy black SUV pulling out of it. Inside, I could see Bailey sitting in the backseat - her expression was emotionless.
"Wait!" I cried, dropping my box as I jumped off the porch. The automobile was out of the driveway and onto the road in seconds. I ran after the car as fast as I could. "Bailey, don't leave me!" I shouted helplessly. Just when I thought I was catching up, I tripped and landed face first onto the pavement. When I looked up, the car was nowhere in sight.
10 years later.
"C'mon shawty, gotta be fast'r!" I clutched tighter onto the pink backpack and dodged into the classroom.
"No fair, Jane!" the petite brunette whined as she chased after me. I bumped into the teacher, skidded across the front of the class and swerved right into my desk. From there, I tossed the backpack to my buddy, Max, who sat in the desk to my left. He mischievously hid it under his chair, making it difficult to see.
Out of breath, the brunette came through the doorway and stomped over to my desk, fists clenched. I couldn't help but snicker as she narrowed her eyes at me. "Can I please have my backpack now?" she huffed. I rolled my eyes playfully and gestured to Max. He sighed reluctantly, picked up the bag and threw it at the brunette, causing her to fall back into her chair which was in front of my desk.
"Sorry, Tay," I laughed, "it was just too easy." She turned back at me and pouted.
"You're suppose to be my friend, not pick on me," the brunette, Taylor, sneered. She had a point; after all, I did owe her for what she did for me. My smirk soon turned into a sincere smile.
"Don't take it to heart, Tay. You're like my best friend. 'Sides, ya saved my life," I responded. I then lightly placed my finger on the black eye patch over where my left eye used to be. About a year ago, I was in the school courtyard, ready to begin a much anticipated fight. I had under estimated the bear-like kid of the time - he had a gun. Before I was able to make one move, he pulled out his weapon and shot me in the eye. As I collapsed in my spot, bleeding out, my only thought was how cowardly his move was. Taylor had been nearby, watching from a window. The first thing she did was call the Po-po. Next, she had rushed out into the courtyard and tackled my opponent from behind. She became a distraction to him as she held onto him with her life until the Po-po showed up.
Taylor smiled innocently back at me. We were at good terms when our teacher yelled, "Doe!" I exaggerated a sigh.
"Yea, Scraps?" Her name was really Ms. Scarpari, but 'Scraps' was what the majority of the class called her. She glared at me angrily.
"Lunch detention with me tomorrow," she hissed. To be honest, I didn't care in the least. I got detention all the time for these kind of things. However, Taylor frowned at me. Ever since we became friends, she's been begging me to change. I'll admit, I have become a better person deep down. If only...
"Class! I have an announcement!" Scraps boomed, interrupting my thought process. By that time, the class we full, and most eyes were on her. Announcement, eh? I wondered if it'd actually be anything relevantly interesting for once. She stood proud in front of her 26 students. "Today we have a new student." She gestured to the door. "Please welcome...Miss Bailey Benjamin!"
My heart stopped instantly, and the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end. Bailey and I had been best friends when we were kids until she moved out of state 10 years ago. I wondered if she remembered me; however, when she walked in, I was awestruck. She looked like a million bucks! Her blond hair flowed majestically down her back, her face matched that of a pixie's, her eyes were amber stones, and she wore clothes that appeared as if they came from the most expensive designers. Though I did notice her mouth was in a straight line, and she didn't look very happy to be there.
Scraps, on the other hand, was absolutely ecstatic. "Well Bailey, why not tell the class what you do?"
"Whatever," she murmured. Then, holding her head high, she proclaimed, "I, Bailey Benjamin, am the founder of Bailey's Bras and Bodyworks." Everyone gasped and eyed her in disbelief - even me. Triple B was the number one shop for women in the nation. It's competition use to be Victoria's Secrets, but Triple B had blown them out of the water sooner than expected. And yet I had no idea the store was run by the Bailey I knew.
"Bailey, your seat will be behind Ms. Doe," was the next thing Scraps said. I gulped as the new beauty strode gracefully past me and sat down. As she began to take out her belongings from her tote bag, I grabbed my English notebook and flipped to the back - that's where I kept the picture of us at the beach from all those years ago. I then hesitantly turned around to face her, smiling sheepishly.
"Hey..." I had to whisper since Scraps had started teaching. She gazed up at me with harsh, colds eyes that I did not recognize - eyes that made me want to cringe.
"What do you want?" she questioned. What do you want? I hadn't expected that. Perhaps she needed someone to refresh her memory.
"'Member me? Jane...Jane Doe?" I asked. Her intimidating eyes scanned over my features, but her expression was unreadable, unchangeable.
"I've never seen you before in my life," she finally said. What?? How could she possibly not remember me?! I then frantically grabbed my notebook and held it to her face, showing her the picture.
"See? From when we was kids," I tried to convince her. However, she barely glanced at it before pushing it away.
"Get that away from me," she ordered monotonously. My heart failed me at that moment. Maybe I mistook her for the wrong person. Maybe she wasn't the Bailey I knew. No, this wasn't her. She might've been the same on the outside, but on the inside, she was entirely different. I'm not able to explain reasonably what happened next: For some reason - maybe it was from stress, disappoint, temper or all three - I extended my arms and lunged at her.
"What's wrong with you?!" I shouted as I gripped tightly onto the collar of her silk blouse. Before I knew it, she propelled herself out of her desk, wrapped her arms around me and got me into a headlock. Nothing could've prepared me for that!
"Me?" she retorted, "What's wrong with you?!" As I struggled to get out of her grasp, I noticed everyone in the classroom was watching in astonishment. What struck me most was the empathetic look on Tay's face. There was no doubt in my mind I had let her down. Everything was silent for a second until Scraps finally snapped.
"Doe, Benjamin, Principal's office - now!"
Being to the Principal's office was not something I was unfamiliar with. Heck, the faculty even took the chair from my 9th grade desk and its now my official seat in the room. Going to the office and getting into fights as well as detention had been typical for me ever since I joined a street gang. It was something I was used to, something I didn't mind. Why should I when I really had nothing to lose? Although this time I did have something that was lost - my friendship with Bailey.
I sat in my usual chair, looking down and playing with my fingers; she was on the other side of the room, arms folded with fierce eyes. I was already aware of the fact that I would get full punishment, and she'd be let go with only a warning. Not only was she a new student - she was famous! Of course the administration would see it being all my fault. However, they would never know the whole story.
"Hey, freak." I glimpsed up, my black bangs hiding my one good eye and eye-patch, at the source of the voice. To my surprise, it was Bailey; the one she had called 'freak' was me.
"What?" I mumbled.
Nose in the air, she continued, "How about this: instead of pointing fingers like children, we tell the principal it was a misunderstanding then settle it amongst ourselves like adults." I could hardly believe it. Had she been planning it all along? I nodded carefully in agreement to her suggestion.
About a second later the principal poked out of his room and gestured to Bailey, though he was glaring at me. I swear, the only people that didn't give me dirty looks were Tay and Max. Still, Bailey managed to stand up, elegant as ever, and followed the principal calmly into his office. When she was gone, I reached under my chair where I had placed my backpack, opened it and pulled out a pen along with a small worn out notebook - my diary. From my pocket, I removed the picture of me and Bailey from when we were younger. After I finished making notes on what was happening that day so far, I slipped the photo into my diary, then my diary into my book bag. The remainder of the time, I awaited my new found rival.
Hours later, school ended. Max and Tay were at my sides as we exited the building, talking about going to the movies that night and maybe adding our own commentary to whatever film we decided to see. At one point, I looked ahead and spotted Bailey walking a few feet in front of us. Earlier that day she used all the charisma she had while talking to the principal, and he actually let us off the hook. Still, neither of us were finished just yet.
"I'll be right back," I informed my companions. Quickening my pace, I soon caught up with the stuck up snob. "Hey you," I called to her, grabbing her by her shoulder. I had not noticed before, but she was a lot taller than I was! I guess that's why she was so easily intimidating as she glared down at me.
"Oh...its you," she snarled. I gulped nervously but narrowed my brows, refusing to back away.
"We was suppose to talk," I told her. She sighed reluctantly and rolled her eyes at me, annoyed. I bared my teeth and growled, "Who are you?" Bailey held her head high and stood erect.
"I am Bailey Benjamin - child prodigy, founder of a successful company, and one of the most intelligent students in the states of New Jersey and California," she announced to me. Her words pierced like knives in my heart. The Bailey I used to know spoke humbly with a soft tone; however now her voice was heartless and full of self-pride.
"You egotistical b****..." I grumbled.
She scoffed and hollered, "Excuse me?!" Before my brain could comprehend what was happening, my fist slammed into her face. There was a cracking sound, but she did not yelp. Instead, she grabbed a chunk of my hair - the hair that she had once soothingly ran her fine fingers through - and kicked me in the stomach. I clutched my stomach in pain and doubled over. She was much stronger than she seemed! As people started forming a circle around us, I knew I could not be defeated. I had a reputation as a feared gang member to maintain. I couldn't be defeated by that whore.
I lunged at her and tackled her to the ground. For the next minute, all I could see was our fists flying, clumps of hair, blood and the face of my enemy. Eventually, a teacher came by, pulled me off of Bailey and split us apart. Both of us were panting and bleeding from various places; even my eye-patch was soaked with blood.
The teacher went between us and yelled, "That's enough, you two!" She then turned to the teens around us that were now quickly putting their phones away after recording the fight and continued, "Go home, all of you!"
The crowd soon dispersed, but Bailey and I wouldn't take our bruised eyes off each other. Tay and Max quietly ran up to me to make sure I wasn't beaten too badly. Unfortunately, even with Max's hand placed comfortingly on my shoulder and Tay's small hand holding mine, I couldn't focus. I was blinded with rage. Bailey and I could've stood there all day, but at last, her limo arrived in front of the school. Then as if nothing happened, she dusted herself off, fixed her hair a bit, pulled a handkerchief out of her pocket and cleaned the blood from her face with it.
Next, she coolly made her way over to the limo. Opening the passenger door, she tilted her head back to me and whispered just loud enough for me to hear, "So much for settling this like adults, you animal." That's when she got into her vehicle and drove away.
I was left standing with my two silent companions. Somehow the words escaped my lips:
The next day at school, I made it my mission not to talk to Bailey. Even as we shot death glares at each other, I chose not to speak. Inevitably, the obnoxious ringing of a bell marked the end of an uneventful school day. Lurking near the entrance of the building, I waited for Bailey to leave first and, without Tay or Max, followed behind her quietly once she showed up. She went to the curb, awaiting her limo, and I hid in a bush not too far away. Just because I hadn't talked to her all day didn't mean I wasn't planning anything to say to her in private.
Soon enough the limo came to pick her up in style. She got in, and the vehicle drove away. That's when I gave chase. Though the limo was fast, I was never far behind. Life on the streets turned me into a great runner which was why following Bailey's car three blocks to the same house she lived in 10 years ago felt like a breeze. Coming to a safe distance, I then hid behind a tree and examined the vehicle as it crept into the garage. There must've been a door on the inside because before the garage closed, no one came out.
Exhaling shakily, I left the tree and slowly made my way to the front porch. The path I took to the entrance felt way too nostalgic for me. My hands at my sides opened slightly, as if they were holding a small object - a small box perhaps. The empty handed feeling soon led to an empty feeling in my chest. Now face to face with the door, I hesitated going inside.
No. This had to be done. I took a deep breath and rang the doorbell. Within seconds, a mean wearing a suit appeared. A butler? Impressive, but I wasn't surprised. "How may I help you?" he asked. I blinked twice, almost forgetting what I wanted to say.
"I...I came to see Bailey," I stammered. He looked me up and down, spotting my every imperfection - my short split-end hair, scarred skin, old blue shirt, ripped jeans and cracked converse. At first I was afraid he wouldn't let me in; however he did step aside and allowed me to enter. Practically tip-toeing my way in, I scoped the room in awe.
Never had I actually been inside before; then again, Bailey's parents made it well known they didn't want me to be. In the past, I overheard them tell her things like "Make sure that stray doesn't come in and dirty up the place!" or "Just being near her could put your health at risk, darling!" It made me sick. I wasn't a stray, a had parents - parents that never cared that much for me - but I had a place ready for me with a roof over my head at the end of the day. I was still human. Still, I always imagined what the inside looked like, and now, I could see it all: if the outside of the mansion seemed to have come from a fairytale, that was definitely the interior palace. Want to know what the inside of Bailey's house looked like? Imagine Cinderella's Castle at Disney Land.
The servant began trotting ahead of me towards a marble staircase and beckoned for me to follow. Doing so, he led me to the second floor that opened up to a hall with multiple doors. Approaching the fourth one on the left, the butler peeked in and announced, "You have a visitor."
"Bring her in," a female's voice replied. It was Bailey, speaking in a demanding tone. The butler stepped back as I neared the room. When I was in, he closed the door behind me and left. The room was not a bedroom, but in someway, an office. Pictures of Bailey along with other models plastered the walls, an enormous closet flooded with clothes and sewing supplies to my left, a desk covered in papers was to my right, and a vanity was placed in front of me where it was propped against a wall of glass.
Bailey, sitting at the vanity, turned around and faced me. "I've been expecting you," she said with a sly smile. I looked at her, raising an eyebrow.
"What for?" I questioned. She got up and walked over to me until we were only a foot apart.
"I called both your parents; Taylor and Maxwell, also," she admitted, "I figured if you weren't with any of them momentarily, you might've been trying to find me." I cocked my head to the side, bewildered.
"So...why was you tryin' to contact me?" I asked.
Still with a smug expression, she answered, "I wanted to set things straight."
"Oh?.." I responded, placing my hands on my hips, "What kind of things?" That's when she took her fine fingers and, gingerly brushing my bangs aside, stroked my eye patch. For some reason, I couldn't move; every bone in my body was frozen.
Staring into my one deep blue eye, she said, "Why we're no longer friends." Body suddenly warming up with rage, I pulled away from her touch. I wanted to slam her so bad! The only reasons I couldn't: 1) she'd probably be able to get me arrested for it in her own home, and 2) I actually did want to hear what her excuses were for becoming my enemy. Clearly trying to hide a smirk, her lips formed a forced straight line as she snatched my wrist and yanked me to her cluttered desk to have a seat. Once I was seated, she stood solidly in front of me, so I wasn't able to go anywhere.
"Time changes people," she started by telling me, "It changed me into a successful businesswoman and you into..." She gestured to my appearance, intentionally trying to offend me. Lucky for her, I let it slide. Then without even attempting to make insulting me less obvious, she continued, "Anyway, we're too different. I'm a celebrity, and you're just a...stray. We've chosen different paths, and that's why we can no longer be friends." Are you kidding me?! First of all, that was the most ridiculous, stuck up thing I had ever heard anyone say! Secondly, it was such a stupid reason! Could she really be that shallow?!
"No!" I shouted in defense, rising from the chair she had put me in. "When we was kids, we got along great! We even pinky-promised we'd be friends forever!" I snapped back with, "And those things are legit, Bailey Benjamin!" The house had been so quiet when I had entered, but now with my yelling, I wondered if everyone in it could hear me. Though, I quickly realized I wasn't the only loud one. Bailey was suddenly howling with laughter at my outburst.
When she finally collected herself, she wiped her eyes, shook her head and smiled. "Oh, Jane," she sighed contently. "Let go of the past already. We were children then, and children say and do dumb things that they know they won't mean later on in life. If only you knew how childish you sound right now." I looked down, making sure my hair covered my face. It was official: I was defeated. Her words to me made little sense, but I was fully aware there was no point in arguing with her anymore.
Without saying another word, she turned to leave to go to another room, but grabbing the sleeve of her red sweater, I stopped her. "Wait..." I whispered. She looked down on me pitifully, however there was still one thing I needed to know. "In school yesterday...why did you say you'd never seen me before in your life?"
Her attitude by now had faded, but her speech was cruel once more. "Like I said, we're opposites. I know you won't understand, but being around you would put my position in danger. I can't be around you in public." I had my answer. Letting go of her sleeve, I allowed her to leave the room. She was selfish and self-centered, and there was nothing I could do about it. The Bailey I once knew was dead and gone, and so was a part of my heart.
In the days that followed, things went from bad to worse. Day after day: constant fighting. At times it appeared we'd just fight whenever we were bored, or just for the fun of it - like we were wrestling. Each time however, we'd tie. Either we were split up by a faculty member, or we'd both get tired and call it even. It was never really even though because the battles weren't just physical, they were mental too. Never before had I been so hurt by anyone's words. Just randomly she'd mock me or point out a flaw of mine. If it were anyone else, it wouldn't phase me; but because she was my ex-best friend who played such an important role in my life in the past, it did.
I hated Bailey Benjamin, and I wished she would die.
I remembered when she mentioned she didn't want to be seen around me, so why did she always come look for me? Freakin' sadist. She was more than a bully - she had fun with the game she was playing, and I was simply her toy. She was just like every other prick nowadays, looking for someone to torment just to make themselves look like big shots. In this case, she didn't want to be seen around me in public as an acquaintance or anything, but instead me as her victim. That was all there was to it.
But through it all, I had Tay and Max giving me support. They were helpful especially when informing me of what was being said about me throughout the school. For example, it was said that I was a poor excuse even for a gang member - that I was the lowest of the low. Let me get one thing straight: the people in my gang are not your everyday, orthodox thugs. We're just a group of kids who are lost, in need of support, in need of company, with no future who are seeking out adventure. Sure, we fight for the fun of it, but we never mean anything by it. Picture a group of lion cubs play fighting - that's us. Of course, not everyone knows that. They expect what they see in the media. So when word got out that I had joined a gang in the 8th grade, everyone acted like I joined a cult or the Bloods or Crypts or whatever.
With Bailey being the source of my trouble, I began cutting school more often than I usually would. She could have her popularity, her easy living, her fame and her money - I could care less. I just wanted to be left alone, an average Joe. She had no soul as far as I was concerned. If you're someone who is as sick and sadistic as Bailey Benjamin, but are still proud of yourself for your accomplishes even if it means stepping all over people, I have one word to describe you:
It was a chilly Saturday morning, and a cool mist lingered in the air. I sat at a lonely and quiet train station with my golden retriever lying beside me on the old bench. There was going to be a fight that day; not between Bailey and I, but between gangs. Apparently some of our members trespassed on another's territory, and if we were going to do that, territories had to be reclaimed by fighting. Honestly, I didn't want to be involved. I wasn't in the mood, and the fight would be meaningless anyway.
After about an hour of waiting and reading a newspaper while listening to my iPod, the train arrived. As it came to a stop, I carefully pulled my dog to her feet using her leash, and together we made our way on board. After giving the motorman my ticket, I wandered around wondering where to sit (I'm very particular with being near the window). At first glance, it appeared the train was empty. At last I spotted a young woman in a business suit, typing away on a laptop with a briefcase at her side - figures it was Bailey.
Just to try to piss her off, I sat next to her. She ignored me. I patted my knees, and summoned my dog, "C'mere, Bailey." Yeah that's right, when I got my dog 4 years ago, I named her after my to-be-rival. Excitedly, she wagged her tail and leapt up onto my lap. Petting her, she curled up into a ball and fell asleep.
The 'human', Bailey, finally acknowledged me after the mentioning of her name. "You named some flea-ridden mutt after me?" she asked with a bit of disgust in her tone. I wasn't in the mood to argue either, so I simply nodded in response. She rolled her amber eyes. "Why? Because you think I'm a b****?"
"Because I like the name, and her fur matches your hair," I snapped back. The antagonizer didn't reply after that; instead, her eyes returned to the laptop screen, and she began typing again. I sighed, facing the window and looking out. Just one more time I yearned for the chance to have a decent conversation with her. Not knowing if I'd ever be able to again, I decided now was the time.
"So where are you going?"
Seeming edgy, she shut her laptop, slipped it into her briefcase, and without looking at me, answered, "I've got a conference meeting in New York; I'll be there for a few days. Lucky for you, that means you won't have to put up with me in school." That was somewhat of a relief. Not being tortured and having a little peace? I wouldn't mind that.
My mind was left wandering. I lifted my arm and rested my cheek on my hand, oblivious to what I was revealing by doing so. At that moment, Bailey's eyes flickered up and she was able to catch a glimpse of what was on my wrists.
"You cut yourself...?"
My eyes shot wide open. That was the last thing I wanted her to see! Despite the fact it wouldn't make a difference, I hid my arm behind my back. "Why do you care? What're you gonna do: call me emo, freak, laugh at me?!" She narrowed her eyes seriously and held out her hand.
"Give me your wrist," she ordered. I shook my head. "Let me see!" she insisted more commandingly. Giving in, I reluctantly placed my wrist in her hand and watched as she lightly touched my scars and examined them. "Moron, why the hell would you do this?"
Instantly, I pulled my arm away and told her, "It relieves stress - stress that you've caused!" She appeared as if she was going to say something in protest, but she ended up turning away haughtily. I groaned, fed up.
"Bailey, why do you hate me personally?? This time I want a good reason!"
She did not answer. Perhaps she was too stubborn, too proud, afraid, or maybe she didn't have an answer. I don't know. Whatever it was, I decided to play along with the 'making-each other-angry' act. My dog still in my lap, I shifted my body so my back was pressed against her side. Crossing my arms, I waited for her to push me away.
She did not resist.
We both sat there in silence, waiting for each other to speak. Inevitably, neither of us did. What was probably merely a few minutes felt like hours to me. I had not gotten much sleep the night before, and eventually and on accident, fell asleep in the terminal with my head on her shoulder. In my subconscious, I dreamt we were friends once again, and we were enjoying one another's company at a local park. On our stroll she would ask me odd questions; for example:
"Who are you taking coffee - no sugar?"
"Who are you echoing street signs?"
"Who are you: a stranger in the shell of a lover, dark curtains drawn by the passage of time?"
After each question, the words would fade together like sweet sounding rain.
Some time later - I'm not sure how long - Bailey tapped on my shoulder and aroused me from my nap. "Is this your stop?" was the only question she asked now in reality. I peered out the window and recognized it as my ending point. I woke up my dog, and after she hopped off my lap to stretch, I rose to my feet. However, I didn't give a last word to Bailey until I got to the train's exit where I looked back at her.
Ready to leave, I said, "I'll see you around," and in seconds, I was gone.
Entry #10 ?
-5 days since last entry.-
When I was little, my mother always used to tell me that when it rains, it means the angels are crying. Crying for what exactly? This time I found out my answer when I got back from my conference meeting.
To anyone who's reading this, you can probably guess I am not Jane. My name is Bailey Benjamin - the stuck up b**** Jane decided to mention in her entire diary. She could've written about anything else - her friends, so-called 'family', street life - no, she decided to write about what happened between us. There is something I will say in respect to her though: everything she has written thus far is true. I'll admit, she did a good job at making me the villain in this little story of her's, too. However, now it's time for me to continue it.
The rain was indeed heavy on my way back from New York, and the sound of it pounding against the roof of the train was the only noise throughout the entire ride. It was eerily lonesome without her there. There came a point when the train had stopped at the station Jane had originally arrived on. I perked up a bit to look, but she was not there. Instead, I saw her dog. The golden mutt sat motionlessly on a concrete bench in the pouring rain, alone. At first I thought, Dumb animal didn't even want to be seen with the stray. Must've had enough smarts to runaway when it had the chance. I glared at it again and something about the creature caught my attention. Was it staring at me? It couldn't be. That would be absurd. And yet, it's eyes seemed so fixated...
The train kept moving.
The stupid dog was now lingering in the back of my mind. Where was Jane exactly? Now, every time the train made a stop, I found myself glancing up at the door to make sure she really wouldn't be coming. She never did. She would never walk into that train, nor any other train, ever again. She would never be able to sit by a window and watch the world go by with that faraway look in her eye either.
I wouldn't discover where Jane had gone off to or why everything seemed so off and out of place until the next morning while I was skimming the newspaper in my office. 'TEENAGE GIRL SHOT DOWN OUTSIDE TOWN' was what the headline read. Her yearbook picture was beneath it along with the caption: 'Jane Doe, 16, died Saturday in fight with rival gang'. My heart skipped a beat, and I dropped my mug, spilling coffee all over my $200 dress. Saturday was the day the two of us met on the train. Did that mean if I had not waken her up in time to get off on her stop...she would've still been alive?
And why was I feeling bad? I was the one who picked on her day after day, I was the one who led her to cut herself; I was the one who denied our friendship. Would I have led her to kill herself eventually? Why was I feeling as if my heart was sinking? All those thoughts ran through my head. There could only be one explanation: guilt.
Later that morning, I skipped school and made it my objective to visit the local church. There, I confessed to the priest all that was on my mind regarding the death of Jane, and how I felt responsible since I had tormented her. He said I would be a forgiven, and that took some weight off my shoulders, however I wasn't totally convinced. As I walked away to leave, he did say something interesting though. He told me not to fret, for I had a guardian angel following me.
That stuck to me even as I departed from the church to my humble smartcar outside. My day wasn't over, and I wasn't going home yet - I was going to see Jane. On my ride to the graveyard, it began to rain; lightly at first, but it soon started pouring down in bucketfuls. If it weren't for headlights and wind-shield wipers, I would've never spotted the cemetery gate. Deciding to leave my car where it was, I grabbed an umbrella from the glove department and headed out. The gates were tall and rusty, but I had the determination to shove them open enough to squeeze myself through. The ground was wet and slippery, but my now destroyed high heels pressed forward.
The cemetery in this town has a tradition: if the person who has passed away has a diary or journal they are able to obtain, they place it in a steel box beside the tomb. The purpose of this is for others to be able to step into that person's shoes and see what that person's story was. I'm surprised there weren't a dozen people at a time trying to view the diary of Jane. Walking deeper into the final resting place for the deceased, I eventually came across the grave I was looking for.
Since it was a fresh burial - due to the rain - the dirt was turned into mud that surrounded the headstone; it nearly hid her box from sight. Reaching down and getting muck all over my hand, I grabbed the container and pried it open. Inside, I found her small, black, pathetic looking diary. I was actually surprised she did have one; in my opinion, she didn't seem like the type that would. I opened up to the first page where I found a passage that read:
"Through the wind
and the rain,
she stands hard as a stone
in a world that she can't rise above.
But her dreams give her wings,
and she flies to a place where she's loved..
On the next page, she began telling the story of how we met as children. Skipping to the last page, I discovered her last entry was about meeting me on the train. I shut the book. I absolutely did not want to put it back, so I decided to keep it in order to read it in detail. Putting down the empty box, I slipped the diary into my coat pocket and headed back to my car. I would later find the diary possessed lyrics, poems Jane had written, as well as the picture she had taken of us from all those years ago. It appeared as if her entire soul went into these entries...
...and I don't mean that metaphorically.
I had returned home with the diary, and the rain was finally letting up. Approaching the door, my foot kicked something unusual at my doorstep. Peering down, I noticed it was a small box. I assumed it was a piece of jewelry I had ordered, scooped it up and took it inside with me. Upon entering my dry mansion, I made my way into the kitchen and placed the diary and the box side by side on the marble slate counter. Figuring it'd take me a while to go through the tiny book, I decided to check out the box first.
Lifting its lid and examining its contents, I was bewildered. There was a scrap of paper with writing on it that was barely legible - it said:
'Sorry I couldn't get you the diamond ring you wanted. Hope this is good enough, and Merry Christmas :) - Jane D.'
I was taken back a bit, not sure what to make of it. Was this somebody's sick idea of a joke? Crumpling the note, I tossed it aside and spotted what lay beneath it. Resting at the bottom was a necklace with beads and plastic charms strung onto it. I removed it from its packaging and held it in front of my face, but was startled by the sound of a voice coming from behind me.
I dropped the necklace and spun around to see who it was; I gasped sharply, and my body trembled at the sight of the figure. It was Jane standing in the doorway with a foolish grin on her face. Impossible! She was dead! I desperately rubbed my eyes and blinked a few times, hoping I was only imagining things. Opening my eyes wide, seeing clearly, I realized she was not a mirage of any kind, though her form was blurry. Was it possible for her to have become a ghost - did such things even exist?
"Is that...really you?" I stuttered. The apparition began walking closer to me; I attempted backing away but was stopped short by the counter. Seeing I was uncomfortable, she came to a halt.
"Duh, it's me," she replied. I hesitated; then, wanting to make sure one last time I wasn't going crazy, I swiftly turned away and tried pretending she wasn't there. Almost instantly, she shouted, "Don't ignore me!!" At that very moment, a loud crack of thunder broke outside, and suddenly the rain fell heavy once more. Shocked, but now certain, I slowly turned back to face her. Her fists were clenched, and she appeared angered. That was the same appearance she had most of the time she had been around me at school.
Wondering what exactly it was she was doing at my house anyway, I cleared my throat and spoke to her, "Why are you here? Have you come to 'bring me down with you' with your supernatural abilities?" She rolled her eyes, annoyed at my comment. However, she did leave to go to living room. Entering the room shortly after, I watched as she plopped down onto my perfectly clean couch and waited to talk to me. At first I wanted to scold her for getting her dirty self all over my furniture, then I realized...
"Big Guns upstairs says I can't rest yet," she informed me.
"Big Guns?" I asked.
She pointed up towards the ceiling. "God."
"He's not letting you into Heaven?"
I paused and thought deeply for a moment. Even I have to admit Jane was not a bad person; misidentified and misunderstood, yes, but not exactly a villain. Based on what happened between us, if either of us were going to Hell, it was me without a doubt.
"I'm stuck here - with you."
I woke up early the next morning to the smell of something burning, the sound of things breaking, along with the immediate thought, "What the hell is she doing?" That's right - she- as in Jane Doe. When Jane said she'd be staying here with me, she literally meant in my house! Unfortunately, she wasn't able to move on to the next life peacefully until I apologized and became her friend again. I couldn't bring myself to do it just yet; perhaps I was too proud or too stubborn. I honestly didn't even know. Thus, I began thinking of other alternatives such as moving to a different location, which she told me wouldn't work. Apparently there's a difference between haunted houses and haunted people.
Sighing deeply, I groggily escaped my satin bed covers and got up. Going over to my Snow White inspired mirror, I slipped on my pink robe, checked myself over and made my way downstairs. I was on the landing when, from the corner of my eye, I witnessed that my kitchen was an absolute mess! Racing to the cooking area, I was appalled. Cabinets were wide open and disorganized, broken glass and silverware were everywhere, 'food' painted the walls, and the oven was overflowing with smoke! At the center of it: a certain ghost girl wearing an apron and angrily juggling a spatula.
"Jane!!" I roared. Instantly, she dropped the cooking utensil and stared at me like a deer caught in headlights. I folded my arms across my chest and tapped my foot irritatedly. "What do you have to say for yourself?" She avoided making eye contact with me as she fidgeted nervously.
"I...I..." she stalled. Then, biting her lower lip and gazing up at me, she explained, "I was tryna make ya breakfast."
I raised an eyebrow questioningly. "Seriously?" She bashfully nodded. Making breakfast for me - how ridiculous. From the looks of things, I doubt she had ever cooked an actual meal for herself from scratch. I would've liked to slap her for wrecking my kitchen, but I would not allow myself. She did, after all, mean well. Anyway, even if I tried hitting her, my hand would probably phase right through her.
Shaking my head, I got down on my knees and began picking up glass. After a minute of hesitation, Jane knelt beside me. "I didn't mean it, y'know. I was having' a hard time holdin' on to the stu--"
"Get out." I didn't want to say it, but the words fell out on their own. Her expression seemed sad as she scanned my face to make sure I wasn't kidding.
"W-what?" I couldn't deal with her at the moment. In a few hours, I had to make an appearance at a local Bras and Body Works store, and my maid wouldn't arrive until two or three hours later. For the time being, I had to get things done.
I made no mistake; staring her straight in the eye, I ordered, "Just get out." She was quiet then. Head low, she stood up and disappeared into thin air, transporting herself to another area of the house. What? Think I didn't feel bad? Though sometimes I may not act it, I am human. Denying the friendship we lost long ago wasn't exactly simple. When she was alive, I treated her like dirt, and I still regret it. I had changed for the worst, and I knew it. However, the first time I saw her in high school, I was too self absorbed to want to be seen with someone like her - that's why I started to hate her.
The past 10 years, my life had been such a blur that I hardly remembered the time I spent with my old favorite companion. But due to recent encounters, the sisterly love I used to feel for her had been stained by hatred. Why did I have to lie to myself? Perhaps it was because I had become the media's puppet. The fame, the fortune...it made me detest the poor and lowly. Even worse: it made Bailey Benjamin hate Jane Doe. Jane Doe, someone who was dead, someone who would leave if I said "We're friends", and life would continue normally without anyone knowing what happened. So...why couldn't I do it?
For the next couple of days, we made little contact with each other, despite the fact the place Jane called her temporary home was where I lived. I would either be at school or dealing with my company while she would be left wandering around my house searching for nothing (none of my maids or servants could see her, so she wasn't a bother to anyone else when she was alone). Was she really searching for nothing, or was she waiting? My conclusion: waiting.
Each time I would return home - whether it be late in the afternoon or midnight - she would be laying on the couch watching T.V or entertaining herself near the door. It was especially apparent she was trying to get my attention when she was near that damn door; she might as well have been saying "Say that we're friends so I can leave already". It was never going to be as easy as that. Still, impatiently waiting wasn't the only thing that bothered me - to some degree, it also bothered me that she wouldn't talk to me. Reading back on her diary and recalling my own memories, it's obvious why she would avoid me, but things were too quiet without either of us bickering. I was craving an argument with my foe. I don't care if that makes me sound like a sadist, it'd give me some normality to hold on to.
Then again, maybe 'argument' was the only way I was able to identify conversation with her. A possibly phrase of what I proposed it could be short for:
"We're both lonely deep down, and let's face it, we both want to talk to each other."
3: 30 in the morning, and I was woken up by cold air. Gripping my bedsheets tightly around me, I slowly opened my eyes and saw what I at first presumed was fog. Rubbing my eyes, I was able to make out a blurred figure standing at my bedside - Jane. Her head was down; her bangs covered her eye and eye-patch. I groaned and propped myself up using my elbow. "What do you want?" I yawned, half awake. She looked down at me with a pathetic expression.
"I can't sleep...legit...I haven't slept since the I was on the train, and you have no idea how exhausted I am, dammit!" she cried. I gazed at her questioningly.
"And what do you want me to do about it?" Don't get me wrong, I felt sorry for her, but why come to me with a problem like that? I soon found out.
"Let me sleep with you..." she pleaded in a quiet voice. My eyes widened in surprise; I was wide awake at that point. Us - in the same bed?? That'd be like letting a stray cat sleep with me!
Narrowing my brows, I asked, "Hold on...what would that change?" If she couldn't sleep on the couch, what made her think she'd be able to fall asleep in my bed? She was silent.
She eventually replied, "I just wanna try..since the last place I slept was leaning 'gainst ya." She was absolutely pitiful. I rolled my eyes and moved over, making space for her. Hesitantly, she got into the bed and laid beneath the covers. Much to my own amazement, the blanket did not go through her. At this state, she was neither a solid nor gaseous being. The cold air emanating from her began to disappear as well. She appeared calm when I watched her eye lids close. Shortly after, she miraculously fell asleep like a regular mortal.
For the next two hours, I wasn't able to sleep; not that I wasn't tired, I simply chose not to. Instead, I watched Jane rest peacefully with her nose nuzzled into my armpit. While she slept, I noted how untidy her black hair really was, how obvious the bags under her eyes were, and how worn out her little tomboy outfit had become. There wasn't a hint of sarcasm on her lips, nor pained look in her eyes - I started to wonder if Jane could only be truly happy in dreamstate. The thought of it, like everything else about her, bothered me.
Once I finished examining her features and ended thinking about everything that revolved around her that bothered me, I glanced over her shoulder to view my alarm clock on the bedside table. It would be going off in a matter of minutes, and the first rays of sunlight were already calling to me from under my curtains. Outside, the everyday sounds of suburbia were beginning to come to life. Even though Jane would be able to sleep through the noise, she'd probably have to get up once I got out of bed. This also meant I'd have to wear the fake frown and empty eyes that had become my habit with her. It hurt us both.
Knowing she couldn't hear me, I allowed a weak sigh to escape my mouth. In my mind, I prayed for patience with her and to somehow manage to be more gentle with her. Things could not go on the way they were. Unfortunately, that pride of mine would have to be something I needed to get rid of first. But I decided to let the depressing feelings wait until later; I wished to be content. However, I regretted making the wish when I unwittingly closed my eyes and fell into a deep sleep.
My eyes shot wide open, and I found myself face to face with the ghost girl who was on-top of me - too close! Shoving her off of me and onto the floor, I sat up and checked my alarm clock : 1 in the afternoon! Not only was school over in an hour, I was going to be late to a meeting in Hoboken which I had nothing prepared for in less than 2 hours! "Why didn't it ring?!" I yelled as I sped out of my bed towards the closet.
Rubbing her head, Jane answered, "It woke me up, and I was still tired, so I shut it off."
Stopping in my tracks, I looked back at her in disbelief and shouted, "Are you kidding?!?! Jane, you just messed up my schedule for the entire day - thanks a lot!" Just when I was ready to give her a chance, she gets on my last nerve. As if she had any consideration for anyone else's responsibilities!
Frozen, she spluttered, "But Bailey...I...I didn't mean to.." I was losing my temper, my control; that's why I continued to knock her down.
"Ever since you've showed up at my house - in my life-, you've been nothing but a nuisance!" Simply saying that made me aware that I was letting anger get the best of me. Didn't I tell myself I'd try to be more gentle and patient with her only a few hours ago? Even so, it was too late to take back what I said. She sat down on the ground, unsure of what to say.
"No! Get out of my house! Get out of my life! Don't you dare show yourself to me again! Can't go to Heaven? You can fall to Hell for all I care!" No..no..STOP IT! I heard a voice cry out from inside of me. It was my inner child - the one that loved Jane Doe, the one that hated what her older-self had become. Suddenly, I felt as if the room was spinning. I was overreacting - every word I threw at Jane was a lie! Overwhelmed by memories, good and bad, of her and I all at once, I wanted to scream.
Then it stopped almost as quickly as it started. The room no longer felt like it was spinning, the pressure that weighed down on me had passed - there was silence. I saw her still on the floor, cringing as if my own hand had slapped her right across the face. I watched, heart pounding, as her eye began to water. Next, she scurried past me and raced out of the room. I stood there, pondering what to do. Go after her! my conscience demanded. I did. As fast as I could, I spun around and followed her. On my way, I tripped down my marble staircase, causing me to slide into the living room where I discovered her.
She sobbed in a corner, her blury body disintegrating to the ground like snow; the lower half of her form was no longer visible. I opened my mouth to call out to her but was interupted by an ear-splitting crack of thunder coming from outside. Looking to the window, I saw angel tears...no...rain falling from the sky in thick sheets. It was an inconvenience, but I tried to ignore it.
"Jane!" I picked myself up off the floor and rushed over to her, planting myself in front of her. She kept her head down and covered her face with her hands.
"I'm...I'm sorry!" she apologized, choking on her tears, "I know ya hate me...but you'll never have to deal with me again."
I desperately tore her hands away from her face. Surprisingly, my grip did not phase through her; it was like touching a living human. Staring into her watery eye, I told her, yelling over the sound of thunder, "I don't hate you! I didn't mean anything of what I said! I need to have you in my world! You're my best friend! More than that: you're practically my sister!" Her crying ceased as she looked back at me in astonishment, and outside, the thunder became a soft rumble. Her expression was fearful as she anticipated me to go on.
Near panting, I exhaled heavily and placed my hands on her shoulders. "This isn't right. This should've never happened - any of this. I shouldn't've pushed you away. This is all my fault," I explained truthfully. "I figured it out: the real reason I couldn't accept our friendship is because I knew you'd leave, and I can't let that happen." I then took a step back from her. Everything I said that time was true, despite the fact it was selfish. She didn't speak, but that was when I noticed something odd - the lower half of her form was returning.
"You're not going to Heaven...?" I prompted.
"When I told you I couldn't go until you said we was friends. In reality, I can go whenever I want if I just look for the light. I hoped maybe though...you did care about me deep down," she clarified. I'm not sure what came over me, but after she said that, I wrapped my arms around her and pulled her into a tight embrace. Welcoming the hug, she buried her face into my chest and let a few more tears fall.
'When I was little, my mother always used to tell me that when it rains, it means the angels are crying.' Running my fingers through her coarse hair, I noticed what was seconds ago a raging storm had turned into a light drizzle. After carefully examining the change along with Jane's mood, I leaned close to her ear and whispered, "It's time I set you free; you've been through so much and deserve to rest in peace."
She gazed up at me and wearily asked, "You won't forget me right?"
"Of course not," I assured her with a soft smile. Seeing me smile made her face light up.
"Well then...can I be your guardian angel?" Jane ventured. I allowed a playful expression dance across my own face.
"I'd be insulted if you weren't," I giggled. It felt like forever since I had seen her that excited, and seeing her happy made my cold heart happy as well. However, a minute later she pulled away from my embrace and grinned warmly at me.
"I s'pose it's time for me to go now," she said.
"Heh, suppose so," I agreed. I knew I'd miss her, but this would be for the best. Like they say, if you love something, set it free; it was my turn to do so. She waved and at and I waved back.
Next, something glorious happened. Right before my eyes, Jane slowy turned into something that appeared to be sparkling ashes, that ascended like mist up, through the ceiling, and to the Heavens.
I was so captivated by the sight, I didn't even know I was crying until after she was gone.