The Complications of the Sky

"What kind of name is that?" "It's original. It's different."

When teenage boy Jayson Evans is faced with an unlikely and catastrophic situation he realises that the difficulty in being a nobody is harder that it seems. People come and go, but nobody really stays. People cross paths, but nobody ever follows the same paths. A billion paths and none overlap. A billion people and no words.

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1. Skya

I’m perfectly content with my life.

I wake up at eight thirty, I have a shower and get dressed. I go downstairs, breakfast is already prepared; a glass of orange juice and a bowl of cheap Sainsbury’s own brand of cereal. I tidy up and place my bowl in the dishwasher. At approximately four minutes to nine my bus arrives. Although Jed, the bus driver, is almost always three minutes late.

He asks me how I am, I either nod or shrug my shoulders – he seems to understand. Our conversations are short lived but routinely. I do not know Jed’s last name, whether he’s married (although considering the state of the elderly man I’d say no – or if so, it’s an unhappy marriage) or any other information you’d know about a friend. But Jed’s my friend, like Abigail.

Abigail Williams was a bizarre young girl, as my mother often liked to repeat. I simply chose to ignore her. To me, Gail was the humane depiction of utter perfection. Abigail’s appearance could be perceived as plain but she had a distinct prettiness about her that was only heightened by her personality, she had long golden hair and soft brown eyes, her cheeks were scattered in freckles that made her eyelashes seem longer and her red lips seem brighter. I often envied Abigail – despite her harsh upbringing.

When Abigail was seven she realised her dad was having an affair with her mom’s best friend and all hell broke loose. She noticed a different ladies underwear in his sock draw, different books in his top cupboard nightstand. Books that had the title ‘A Romance in Paris’, Gail said her dad was more into the slashing and destroying of zombies – not of romantic stories in Paris. The book was the first sign – but as a seven year old girl (who was in fact the smartest in her class, she reminds me frequently) she naturally assumed it was her mothers. One evening when they were sat around the dinner table, more of curiosity then intentions to cause destruction. Gail asked why romance in Paris was any different to romance in England. Nobody understood what she said, until she pointed out the hardback book in her dad’s closet.

“I don’t have any books named ‘A Romance in Paris’.” He muttered absently as he cut up his meat, Gail likes to act out her conversations or situations she remembers vividly. Gail would insist and her mother would look puzzled, it was then that she realised that it was not her fathers or her mothers. So, she left the topic untouched.

“Although,” she once told me “he was always rather distant. But mother began to notice it when he took business trips. He’d obviously decided bringing the ‘mystery’ woman home was harder then he’d assumed.”

Gail reminds me of happiness outweighing the sadness in life. She can always find a positive, she’s an optimist. I suppose that’s why we get on so well – simply because, I’m a pessimist. But because Gail is so positive it doesn’t automatically make her normal or even nice for that matter.

As I’m sat on the bus, I think of her. Like I normally do. I wonder what she’s wearing and whether or not she’ll be in registration. She occasionally misses it if she has to walk to school. I arrive at school at twenty minutes past nine; after three different stops and a small traffic jam. I don’t understand why Jed doesn’t leave earlier, the traffic jam happens every morning.

I’m often late. The day, as always, drags. I wait until lunchtime when Gail and I climb to the balcony and sit down, we eat lunch together and she talks about how her boyfriend intends to take her to London next weekend. I tell her that London is beautiful and she’ll enjoy it. After lunch, I have two lessons; maths and English. It’s a terrible end to an already boring day.

James comes and sits beside me in maths – we do not talk, we simply work. I like his company and he seems to like mine. But I wouldn’t know, we never really discuss it. At the end of the lesson he says:

“I’ll see you tomorrow.” I frown, it’s Friday. I ask him why. “Jake’s party, remember?” I do remember. I could tell from James expression that he was clearly enthused and excited by the idea of a party. I should be excited – it’s not like these parties are a common occurrence to me. I shrug and say “maybe”.

Truth be told, I don’t exactly want to go his party but Gail was going and I decided I wouldn’t be awkward; I’d simply tag along. I nodded goodbye to James, this time he didn’t acknowledge me. He’d already turned his attention to his friend Michael, who was stood behind us. I left the classroom briskly and headed in the direction of the small rooftop garden. Somewhere I loved and anyone hardly checked – which was why it was such an easy hideout on the school grounds.

I climbed the sturdy metal stairs, my trainers clanked along the bars as I reached the top. I swung my rucksack over and squeezed under the bar, flicking my hand over the gate and unlocking it easily, pushing it open and stepping quietly into the small garden. It was quiet and empty. I closed the gate behind me and made my way through the garden, there was a small bench at the back with a plaque on it which read “In memory of Mr. Hartwinger”. Mr Hartwinger was not deceased, simply dying which is why I felt oddly disrespectful as he needed nothing to be remembered by simply because he was still alive. But there was nowhere else to sit and I didn’t fancy sitting on the ground. I crossed my arms over my chest and slouched back. I doubted Claire (my extremely unqualified-sleeping-with-the-head-teacher) would miss me, she hardly ever checked the register and if she did, I suspected she didn’t know my name anyway.

“Hello?” An unfamiliar, quiet voice muttered from behind me. I frowned and twisted my hips, facing in the direction the delicate voice had come from. I echoed the voice.

“Hello.”

“Who are you?” The voice asked again, I arched my eyebrow and placed my feet on the floor, standing up and searching for a face to the voice.

“Well, who are you?” I replied, I wasn’t attempting to be rude. I was just surprised, I suppose; nobody visited the garden anymore. It was overgrown and the plants that weren’t overgrown, were dead.

I heard a distinct rustling in the plants and a young girl emerged, she had large auburn curls that framed her cheeks and made her eyes look big.

“I’m Skya.” Skya? What kind of name is that? I nodded once.

“I’m Jayson.” I replied. She shrugged and pursed her lips together, I’d answered her question so she went back to work. I shifted my gaze from her face to her hands; they weaved through the branches as she plucked them, she had a small knife cradled in her lap. Curiously, I paused and asked: “What are you doing?” I didn’t like the thought of her twiddling away with my garden, although it wasn’t actually my garden. “Just tidying.” She answered quietly. I shook my head.

“It doesn’t need tidying.” I persisted, she chucked quietly and dropped her hands to the side, she tightened her hand around the blade of the knife and pushed it firmly into her pocket. To which she briskly responded with:

“It’s my job.” So, Skya was a gardener. She sounded irritated and rather annoyed. I guess you would be, if a sixteen year old boy with zero clue how to keep a bunch of plants alive decided to be rude to you.

“Oh, well keep going.” And she did. I sat down and slouched my shoulders back, I wanted to return to my thoughts. About Gail, about Jake’s party, about what I was having for dinner tonight but I felt as though she was invading my thoughts.  I stood up and slung my rucksack back over my shoulder, remaining silent as I headed back towards the gate.

“Visit me sometime.” She murmured from behind me. I shook my head and shrugged my shoulders, replying briefly: “I visit the garden often.”

I waited outside the front of the school for Gail. She said she’d give me a lift home. I’m sat in the front seat of her messy Volkswagen as we drive home from school and I say:

“There’s a new gardener.”

“There’s no space to garden.” Gail replies quietly, her long fingers drum against the steering wheel. I assume she’s got a song stuck in her head as her fingers move rhythmically.

“In the rooftop garden.” She looks puzzled and nods once. She drops me off outside my front door, waves goodbye and speeds off. I walk up to the front door and find the key from under the nearby plant pot. I slot it into the keyhole and push the door open, the house is empty. I close the door behind myself and place the key down on the side. There is a note on the kitchen table. I frown, kicking off my trainers and wondering over to the table, pealing the sticky note off of the leather table.

 

Jayson:

Marcus is taking me away for a few days. I think we’re going to Tokyo. I’ll send you a postcard and there’s money on the breadbin for food and other essentials. I’ll call you at the weekend. Ms. Pippins said you could visit her anytime if you needed to

Mom.

I was unsure which one was Marcus. I doubted I’d met him but he sounded nice, or if not nice: rich. 

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