Sleep is over rated.
There is so much more you can get done in this world if you learn to forgo sleep. Ignore the pull of melatonin on the mind and the lull of relief on the body, in order to keep putting one foot in front of the other. There are so many things one can push to the back of the mind, choose to make irrelevant in order to keep the mind numb of all thoughts except those needed to just keep going.
Sleep is irrelevant; who really needs it.
Besides, with sleep, comes dreams.
Dreams are a nuisance. They bring you fear and sometimes they give you hope.
They make you wonder what they mean and if they relate to your life at all.
Are they somehow distorted visions of your future told in images much like the
Shakespearean language, where one word can mean so many different things?
Perhaps our brains are tuning into the frequency of a higher power’s television,
and they mean nothing at all but entertainment for those already passed on to better things.
I dunno. But after three days of no sleep, one begins to wonder, or at least
second guess one’s sanity.
I could handle the loss of sanity, but it was the possibility of hope I could not bear.
Hope crept in during those moments when I first woke up and temporarily forgot how tragic my life had become. Instead, all the possibilities of life hover there in the hazy state of not quite awake, but not all the way asleep. Then it all comes rushing back, like a stab to the heart and a punch to my gut.
The only thing I really knew, after what happened in my life, I would never be the same again.
Jilly and I had been spending much of our time Skyping and texting, all excited about the upcoming weekend sleepover for my birthday this summer. Each day she would rush home from school with some new suggestion she wanted to share, which usually started with “What would Jin think of this?”
You see I was allowed to go, BUT Jin had placed all these heavy restrictions and rules surrounding the weekend, taking away a LOT of the fun Jilly and I could be having.
1. I was to stay at Jilly’s for the whole weekend.
2. He would prefer if no one else came over.
3. If Jilly had other friends over, I was not allowed to be in any pictures/videos.
4. Jilly’s family could take pics, under their promise not to post them to any social media.
5. Jilly was not allowed to tell anyone who I was: no last name. Just Jade.
6. Jilly’s family was not allowed to tell people I was there. No publicity basically.
7. Lastly, NO BOYS!
Jin actually really liked Jilly’s parents and they had several phone conversations regarding the weekend. Jin very quickly figured out, that Memphis was just as overprotective and strict a parent as he was with me. With that came a mutual respect for each other. Jilly’s parents thought Jin was an exceptional young man, for stepping up and caring for his sister. Jin and Liev both had investigative/police backgrounds, so they always had plenty to talk about. So my meeting Jilly, provided friends for my parents as well. Everything was good and all were happy.
Jilly and I had fumed over the rules and even laughed at them. For fun, we even plotted ways to get around them too.
“We could try sneaking out if we’re extra quiet.”
“But how would we do that?”
“My room is on the second floor, but we could step out onto the roof of the porch down below. From there, it’s just a short jump to the ground.”
“Sounds like some thing you may have done before?” I said to her wiggling my eyebrows.
She laughed. “I’ve only ever done that once because Leo was sneaking out and I wanted to try and stop him without both of us getting caught.”
“But what if WE get caught?”
“That’s a good question. My mom is the type that would call Jin, and oh, maybe even send you home.”
“I believe that! But I live an hour away! It’s not like Jin could just come and get me in 5 mins. However, at the same time, if she did send me home, Jin would be ten times madder than he would be if he found out after the weekend. Maybe we should just stick to the rules.”
“You are probably right,” Jilly responded to me with a sad face. “Besides I don’t really know where we would go or what we would do anyway.”
“What an exciting life you lead then! Maybe you and I should switch living arrangements!”
“Haha, no thanks! But just think – only two more months to go.”
Two months seemed like a lifetime to me.
It was during those moments talking to Jilly, I was able to forget what had happened in Moonlight Falls………. until the phone rang again and Jin was yelling, tearing another reporters head off. Or another talk show host, or whom ever it was on the other end of his phone. Would this ever end? The kid is alive, I never hit him, the stories previously printed were all lies. How hard was that to accept?
Our quiet life on the island, picked up in activity when the quads reached six months old and their first teeth began to bud.The monsters were the most miserable I had ever seen them and even Mama was struggling to keep her sunny disposition she had displayed before. We were once again running on auto pilot, sleep walking through each moment of the day and stumbling badly. As bad as that seemed to be, our biggest challenge was that Alex wouldn’t allow anyone but Jin to take care of him. I want to be clear before I say this, that Jin loves all his children, I have no doubt. Yet like I had become particularly attached to Bella, Jin spent most of his time with his one and only son. Because of that, we ladies spent much of the time walking the floor with a screaming baby who wouldn’t settle, till Jin finally came up from the basement to take over.
Why was Jin in the basement, I’m sure you are thinking. Well after endless nights of walking the floor with newborn babes, Jin came up with the best children’s story idea and so he was plucking away down there getting it on paper before it left his head. It was a good thing he did, as the book became his first best seller! I couldn’t wait for it to arrive in the mail and the minute it did, I sat down during a quiet moment of the day (which weren’t many) to read it.
Mama sat there patiently waiting her turn. He dedicated the book to the quads and I have to say it was really, really good. It was a book that I knew they would enjoy reading one day, as I was doing with my own father’s books.
Three weeks into screaming babies, Margot pulled out her checkbook and made a purchase that saved us all from going googly.
The girls loved them as you can see, but poor Alex kept crying. His teething seemed much harder than the girls, although Margot pointed out that being a boy, perhaps he wasn’t wired to handle pain the same. Girls are tougher, it’s a proven fact so mama says, just not around Jin, of course.
Once the warm weather of Spring arrived, the worst of it seemed to be over and we finally had happy babies again. Little monsters who were learning to roll around on the ground, push themselves up and making motions to learn to crawl.
My school average had dropped to a D again and I put my efforts into raising that mark with a goal of a B. I was worried if I didn’t, Jin wouldn’t let me see Jilly for my birthday. As it was, I needed to work through the summer, just to catch up on all my missed school work since the quad’s birth. Luckily the teachers were understanding of our situation and allowed me to do so.
Oh I should also mention that Jin was commissioned to make a statue. He was really nervous about doing it as he hadn’t done one before. I guess Travis’s dad had bragged a bit to his rich friends about meeting the family of the famous artists. Which led to Jin getting a call, from this man saying he had been trying to acquire one of my father’s statues for years. Did Jin think he could do the same? Jin made no promises, but in the end, the result was amazing and Jin learned that he had more in common with his father than he thought. The only difference was, Jin did his statue out of wood, not stone, but the buyer loved it just the same and said he would be back for more. Jin didn’t know how he felt about that. He had spent all his life wanting to set himself apart from his father and he clearly got this job because of him, even though he had passed so many years ago. He decided he would think about it and make his decision if and when the buyer ever contacted him again.
After the whole hitting a kid with the car scandal, Travis surprised me by keeping in touch via letters that came far between each one. His father was still on his mission to sail the family all around the world and Travis never knew when he would be docked to send a letter, or even have access to any internet. He had sent me a few photos of his life, taken by his sister, showing things he was doing to keep himself busy during the long days at sea. He was learning to work with metals.
He confessed that he really had no idea what he was making in this picture and ended up scrapping it in the end. No matter, he said, for learning karate was his true passion and what he was most proud of in his life.He talked about discipline, sore muscles and black eyes from being whacked in the face by the dummy! His father had made him start wearing safety glasses after the third black eye, which he was both unhappy and grateful for at the same time. He had already made green belt, and he was determined to make full black belt by the end of the summer, after spending a few weeks with the masters in China.
Sigh……………………………………………………………………………………. Okay I am going to be honest with you. I’ve been nervously rambling because I really, truly don’t want to relive my birthday weekend again. Yet I know I can’t put this off any longer. I started this entry, writing as if the events had currently been happening in succession, but to be honest, it’s actually been a little over a year now since it happened. I have spent that time writing in my journal, but it’s nothing I would want anyone to ever read. Pages full of deep, dark, loathing thoughts and an obvious journey down to a place, I never imagined I would psychologically go. So I burned it just the other night, and opened the old computer journal program I used when I was five. I’ve been told if I re write it from a better healthier perspective, I will truly begin to finally heal. But the sadness is still very real and my thoughts are not all coming from a better place so I warn you in advance. I have to tell it all, every terrible awful thing that happened for the past year, starting on what was supposed to be a very special day. Even now I feel the same panic rising up from my toes, just thinking about putting fingers to keys. However facing your fears are important and so, here we go. I’m going to remember, I am not alone. You are all here with me.
Trigger Warning -For all those who have lost a loved one to a drunk driver I give my heart to you and my true understanding how that loss completely tears away a piece of your soul. For me, it’s been 21 years and as I sit here now, tears are running down my face. I understand now, why Jilly became so special to me and the reason for wanting to give her more story. I invite all those who have lost a loved one this way, to walk away from the rest of this chapter if you need to.
The morning of my sweet sixteen birthday, I woke to bright sunshine, birds chirping in the trees and commotion happening in the kitchen. I literally jumped out of bed in giddy excitement, lost my footing and slammed into the mirror. Yup, here is hoping that someday I would grow out of my clumsiness, I thought then decided I could make that my birthday wish this year. I mean really, what else did I have to wish for?
I opened my door and only got three steps when the three of them yelled “Happy birthday!” Which of course startled me, made me stumble, again and they caught it on camera. Just great!
Mama and Jin gave me a set of cooking books, which to a normal teenage would seem like a crappy gift, but I actually asked for them. I wanted to become the chef my mama was and considering she was so busy with the babies, there was no time for her to teach me.
Margot gave me new clothes to wear for my weekend away with Jilly. You will notice I call her Margot now. I just can’t quite bring myself to call her grand-mere anymore. I thought about it and decided she was right, I’m not at all her granddaughter. Just a tag along in her life. She looks at me strangely whenever I call her by name but she has never tried to discuss it with me. Anyway, this is a happy day, so enough of that.
Mama gave me the day off from everything babies and housework as an extra gift to me.
I spent the day on the beach, hanging out with Biscuit and my one deer friend, who is always where I am if I go outside.
The day passed quickly, which was good considering I was a ball of happy nerves. Jilly had promised to Skype me as soon as she got home from school, so we could make final plans for our weekend together.
She was late but finally I heard the Jingle of the Skype ring. I turned on my screen to see Jilly smiling, then she began to sing a Beatles song in a funny voice.
“They say it’s your birthday! We’re gonna have a good time! I’m glad it’s your birthday! Happy birthday to you! ah ah ah!” Then she laughed.
“Thank you!!! But I’m more excited about coming to your house than my birthday. It’s going to be soooo much fun!”
“Me too! So, I’m picking up tons of snacks for us when Leo and I are out tonight. Do you like Cheesey Wisecrackers? Oh, and Humhums?”
“I don’t even know what those are!”
“You will love them! Pippops and Cheekies are my favourites, so I’ll make sure and get those, too!”
“Okay, but don’t spend too much money on me.”
“I have babysitting money burning a hole in my pocket and this is a special occasion!” She giggled then, before showing a startled look. “Oh! Can you hear that? Leo’s calling me. I have to go.”
“You are too funny Jilly. Say hi to Leo for me. Just think less than 24 hours before we see each other again and we can start Operation Leo! This is going to be so much fun. Bye!”
The rest of the evening went as birthdays usually do and even though I didn’t get one of those special sweet sixteen deals, they tried to make it as fun as they could. There was plenty of food, balloons and dancing. I went to bed early, since Jin wanted to be on the water for seven in the morning. I had spent a week planning what I was going to take, and laid it out on the table ready to pack before I went to bed. I was just really hoping I didn’t forget anything!
I remember thinking I would be too excited to fall asleep, but I slept all night waking at eight in the morning, just as it was really starting to get bright outside. I jumped out of bed all in a panic, figuring that Jin would be pissed at me for sleeping in. I didn’t understand how I had done so. I set my alarm! I knew I had.
Grabbing the clothes I had laid out the night before, I pulled them on as quick as I could and pulled a brush through the tangles of sleepy head. Everything else I figured I could do while on our way in the boat.
I pulled open the door, raced out of the bedroom (without stumbling this time I might add) fully prepared to grovel at Jin’s feet.
“I’m so sorry Jin! I’ll be right there. Just give me a minute and we can get going.”
“Jade,” said Jin.
“I just need to brush my teeth.”
“Jade! You need to come and sit down.”
I looked from Jin to Sun, not liking the looks on their face. “Please Jin, please can I still go?”
But then mama held out her hand and I walked towards her, my heart pounding in my chest as I searched my brain for anything I could have possibly done. The hairs on the back of my neck tingled and I knew something was wrong. I sat down between them and turned to Jin. “Did I do something wrong?”
“No Jade. This isn’t about you or anything you did.”
“So I can still go?” I looked at mama, hope in my eyes and fear in my voice. Mama looked at Jin, then down at her lap. I swallowed, but my throat had gone so dry, there was nothing to swallow.
Butterflies fluttered in my stomach and around my beating heart, both trying to leap from my chest. I didn’t know if I could talk but the silence was frightening me more than anything in my life had ever done.
“Someone please say something! You’re scaring me.”
Jin cleared his throat and began with a voice that didn’t quite sound like him. “Jade. The phone rang in the middle of the night. It was Jilly’s mom. She said,” he hesistated, then took a deep breath. “She wanted to let us know,” he began to say, the stopped and looked at Sun. I turned to look at her too and she took my hand.
Wiping away tears about to sneak from her eyes, she said “Jilly and Leo were in a car accident yesterday at supper time. I guess they were going out for supplies when a, a drunk driver hit their truck head on. Leo is in the hospital, very badly injured.”
I gasped. “Jilly must be so worried! We need to go Jin, even just to see the family.”
Jin rose from his seat on the couch, to kneel on the floor in front of me. Sun then put her arm around my back.
“Jade. Jilly isn’t at the hospital. Her injuries were too severe. She, she didn’t make it.”
“I don’t understand. What do you mean she didn’t make it?” Panic began to rise into my throat. “She’s not….. she can’t be. What do you mean Jin?”
“I’m so sorry, Jade. Jilly died.”
My breathing came on quickly and my body began to tingle all over. “No. NO! NO you’re wrong! She’s only 17, she’s too young to die.”
“We’re so very, very sorry Jade,” Mama said to me, pulling me close. But in doing so, my panic rose and I felt trapped. This was a nightmare. It couldn’t be true.
“Jin, maybe get her a blanket. She’s shivering and I think she is going into shock. She’s gone white as a ghost.”
But when he stood, I jumped up from the couch and pushed him out of the way. Running to the bathroom, I promptly threw up into the toilet.
I felt weak and hot all over. Leaning against the cool wall, I rested with hopes I would be able to stand. I could hear Jin and Sun quietly talking in the living room but my ears were so plugged I couldn’t make out a thing they were saying.
On shaky hands and knees, I crawled to the door and pulled myself up using the door knob for support. Grabbing the door frame, I opened the door and carefully walked out.
“Jade?” Mama said.
“This can’t be real,” I said. “If this is real, it’s all my fault. She is dead, and it’s all my fault!”
Mama gasped. “Jin!”
“No Jade. This is not your fault.”
“It is don’t you see?” My head was starting to swim and I raised my hand to my head in an attempt to clear the fuzzies.
“It is my fault,” I slurred and squeezed my eyes together.
“Jin hurry,” I think Mama said and I opened my eyes to look at her.
“Jade, focus!” Jin yelled and my eyes closed again.
“She will never forgive me.”
Jin reached me. Then everything went black.
Special thanX to my very good friend Deb who once again came through for me and made the couch pose with Sun, Jade and Jin! It was exactly what I needed!
Please check out the special edition post Tribute To Jilly!