The noise was so irritating. I opened my eyes, only to immediately close them again. Woah! The sun was so bright. Squinting, I tried to look around. My head felt dizzy and I had a sort of crick in my neck. What the hell have I been doing? I rubbed my eyes, but I still felt incredibly sleepy. Just to make it even better…
“Jade! Gosh, wake up! WAKE UP! You’re LATE!”
“Argh! Shut up Charlie! I’m getting up for God’s sake! At least gimme a minute to bloody get up!”
“I’ve given more than that! That’s why I’m so annoyed! Durh!”
Sisters are the most annoying I swear. I still couldn’t come fully to my senses. My eyes felt sticky and I had a cramp in my left arm. Great. Oh so great. I can’t even get up, let alone get changed! I gasped as I realised where I was. Why am I on the floor? How the hell? I rarely ever fall out of bed. In fact, I never fall out of bed! Grabbing onto the side of my bed I tried to hoist myself up. But it hardly made a difference. It was then that I felt a huge sting in my palm. It felt like a huge needle had been jammed into my arm, travelling at the speed of light through my flesh, heading for my mouth. I let out quite a large scream. Falling over, I flipped my hand over, astonished to find the broken glass figure. What happened last night gushed through my head, ripping my heart. I started to panic again. I still couldn’t believe I had been so careless. What am I going to do? Even if I got it fixed it would never be the same again. I started to wonder if the accident meant something. Had he forgotten me? Worse still, had his feelings for me vanished, just like that December night that swept away all my confidence?
As I was thrown into disarray, I started to reflect what Granddad had told me. It had been a rainy evening. I waited as each member of my family finished their meal. Granddad’s birthday was something we never forgot to celebrate. As the last members of my family left the table, I was the only person, besides Granddad, who was still in the dining room. Standing up, I started to clear the table when my cousin shouted from outside,
“Oi Jade! Wanna come park with us? We’re all going out for a bit!”
“What about Granddad?” Granddad had found it difficult to walk since I started secondary school. He had phoned us up back then, moaning down the phone about how weak and numb his legs felt. I recall the anxiety that hovered over the whole family. He had lost his normal, rosy colour and instead of his usual happy self, he had become cold, quiet and pale. I miss the blissful conversations we had. He had always taken me to feed the ducks when he was stronger. We would talk about anything and everything. Those carefree moments shattered so easily when age struck him hard.
“He said he’d be fine at home by himself and Gran’s coming too!”
“Oh…I think I’ll stay with Granddad then! I still have the table to clear anyways!” With that, I heard a huge slam of the front door and the house fell into an unfamiliar silence. I carried on clearing the table and stacking up the plates. It had been a long time since I visited that park. I would never forget the last time I sat on that swing. I always sat on the same swing. Its closeness to the roses and trees, that perfect view it gave me of the pond, attracted me the first time I had set my eyes on it. There was a fresh summer breeze that day. The mint cornetto, so perfect when I had bought it, had started to melt in the summer warmth. Mint was Nathan’s favourite flavour- he had told me the first time I talked to him properly. He had asked me to meet him at the park. I don’t remember how long I waited. But he never came. Yet, I still waited for him. By that same swing. It began to get dark, but still I sat. I feared I would never get his message if I left. My hands had felt terribly sticky from the dripping ice cream. But it didn’t bother me; I was more worried about what had happened to him. Eventually, the darkness drove me home. My heart hurt so much that evening. Why had he made me wait for so long? What did he mean by this?
Mum had asked me to wash the plates that night. I remember how her favourite plate slipped out of my hands as I thought about him. The picturesque porcelain shattered as it hit the tiled floor, just like my heart which shattered into a thousand pieces that evening. Mum had been so angry, telling me over and over again how lucky I was that the plate was dry. Nathan’s Mum had phoned that night. I recall her wobbling voice. Nathan had had an asthma attack that morning and had been admitted to the Accident and Emergency room. She had told me how it took him ages to recover. She had told me how he never stopped pleading to be able to speak to me. Her tone had changed from fear to anger, and she terrified me. I knew it was my fault that Nathan couldn’t relax when he recuperated. I didn’t know what to say. It had been a long day. I hung up the phone. I felt both relieved that he hadn’t forgotten me and worried at the same time. It was also that same year that Granddad lost his strength. I never want to go back to that park. The memories are too painful.
As I thought about that day, I had reached over to pick up the last plate of the table, only to clumsily trip over the carpet and send a group of cups to the floor. Why am I so clumsy all the time?
“Don’t touch them. Broken porcelain is the most savage to skin.” I turned to look at Granddad. He hadn’t spoken to me for ages. I had felt both surprised and embarrassed that I had broken such elegant tea cups. Getting up, I went to the kitchen to pick up the dustpan and brush. I had felt Granddad’s eyes watch me as I moved back into the room. As I gazed down at the broken cups, I noticed how the water glistened on the fractured edges. Getting down on my knees, I began to sweep up the hazardous pieces.
“Stop for a moment Jade.” I stopped, and then turned around to look at Granddad. He looked so frail; his favourite jumper displayed his skinniness especially well. His eyes were fixed on the pieces that once made up his precious tea set.
“Look at those pieces Jade.” I did as I was told. Again, I had felt shameful that I had been such a klutz, “Tell me, what do you notice?”
This time I studied the pieces more intently. But I still had not understood what I was supposed to be looking at. All I saw were the broken remains of the once beautiful china cups. He must’ve noticed my puzzled expression, since he began to inhale deeply.
“It has been said that a message is carried if water is present on the object that one breaks. Should the broken pieces float on top of the water, it foretells that a relative or close friend has overcome struggle. But if the pieces become covered in water, as if they were drowning, it is a sign that a loved one is in danger. As for dried objects, breaking them symbolizes a bad start. The cups you have broken were still half-filled with tea.” He began to inhale deeply again. I looked down again at the broken pieces, frightened at what he had just told me. But to my delight, I noticed how a brown liquid flowed from under the smashed pieces. I remember how relieved I felt back then, but Granddad’s words will remain with me.
Gosh I feel so old at the moment. I have finally managed to get up, but my hips feel weird. Somehow, I couldn’t walk too smoothly, which was just great. Waddling over to my desk, I met an awful surprise, as I knocked my head against the wall. I’m having such a wonderful day, I really am. Granddad’s words ringed in my head as I reached into the drawer for a plaster. Prising the cover open, I pulled out a fresh plaster. Holding my hand steady I could see that a lot of blood had flowed out of the wound. I had a bloodstain on my sleeve. But I wasn’t too bothered. I thought too much about Granddad’s words and the broken glass figure I had placed on the desk.
As I glanced at my alarm clock, I realised how extremely late I was. I literally jumped into the clothes in my wardrobe, tugging at the tights and tie, as I tried to put them on. I looked a total mess. But I thought I did pretty well to be able to get dressed so damn quickly. Two minutes flat. Now you try and beat that. And don’t forget that girls are supposed to be fussier! Well, I wouldn’t exactly call myself a girl. I was always more boy-like, earning myself the title of a tomboy in primary school. It was only until recently that I started to let opinions of the general public get at me, thus struggling to look more feminine. Even so, my attempts do not pay off. But at least I try.
I grabbed my school bag and sprinted down the stairs, almost tripping over my school shoes, which Charlie had stupidly put on the steps for me. Damn. No time for breakfast. I hate missing breakfast, since I always end up moaning in lessons about how hungry I get. Once, I had a tremendously embarrassing hunger problem. For our English lesson, we had to read a novel with the whole class. Everyone was silent, concentrating on the story, when my stomach made an enormous rumbling noise. Not only did the class laugh, but started questioning me about my hunger! I have to admit it was pretty funny, but it had made me feel so embarrassed! I have hunger problems, I swear. But I’m not a pig though…I hope.
As I walked out of the front door, Nathan sprang into my head again. I’ve been having this strange feeling ever since I woke up- the feeling of protection…