A strange story about how Midnight, a shy little girl, grew up; told from the view of her oldest, almost unreal friend.
Ever want to know a story from someone elses point of view? Someone who was there the whole time but experincing everything with an different view? My story is her story, because outside of her 'I' don't exist, outside of her there is no 'I'. But my story is different to hers, because 'I' am not her. Because 'I' am what she turned to when she was all alone. 'I' am her invisible friend.
My first memory is of a garden. It was my old garden but different to how I left it, the plants were arranged differently. There was a winding path that curled in amongst them and looped back on it's self, it was gravel, I think. The memory is just a blurred picture; like an old photograph. I remember the warm red of the brick in the wall that seem to bleed together making a soft red glow wrap around the garden. The green of the plants merging in with an assortment of yellows and other typical colours that belong to flowers of the English garden. Two tall trees, 'silver birches' if my memory serves me correctly, stand proud either side of the garden, like sleeping sentinels awaiting a command to leap into action, tense even in their sleep. It's strange but I remember it being both sunny with a bright blue sky and the light shinning delicately off the smooth leaves, and raining with grey skies and the garden darkened with the water seeping gently into the earth.
My next memory is of sitting next to her, in the larger of the two downstairs rooms. The front door is hidden by the slight alcove in which it resides the light filtering in lighting up the room though the thin curtains of the window. I'm afraid to say I cannot recall the colours of the room any more, time having stolen them from my mind, I can however tell you a little of the contents of the room. The room is about 3m by 4m, the window, through which the sun shone in my memory, faced the rising sun every morning and the stairs clung timidly to the opposite wall. The door in the wall in between these two features was set closer to the stairs than the window, this door lead to the small kitchen. The room overall was oppressive and had a negative cast to it, some small rooms can be, despite their size, cheerful places to be full of past memories and promises of new ones. This room had nothing of the sought, but it was my home, because it was her home, so I loved it.
I remember her mum being in the kitchen making them breakfast while her small body twitched gently in her sleep. Her mum was quiet so as not the wake her even though she was handling plates and cutlery. How old was I then...? I must have been about 4 or maybe 5. She can't have even been 3; her dad was still living with us. He used to work nights at T.G.I. Fridays, so he came back every morning while we slept and he was there fast asleep when we woke up.
Her name was Midnight. She was my best friend. I was there all her life as far as I can remember. I was her friend, her playmate, her support. I was everything her Mum and Dad weren't, everything she needed. How could I not be... she was so alone, so full of pain. But never did she ask anyone else for help.
Her Mum went to collage in Southampton. Every day she left her daughter in the day care centre there. At first she was very shy, I would talk to her and she would talk to me, but she always wanted to talk to everyone else as well. I was hurt, even then - I guess our relationship was never really as perfect as I like to think. Still we did have fun, such impossible fun. We would play with the toys they provided at the day care, and we would paint and draw till our hearts were content. We would laugh and forget about everyone else. Nothing and nobody else would, or could, matter when we were together like that. After a while she grew accustomed to the other children and the adults who worked there, she began to socialise with them as well. She loved to be liked and once she was given a chance she was.
She didn't forget me then; she spent less time with me outside the house though. Once she was inside again it was just the two of us. Laughing and playing and giggling until bedtime, and sometimes even a while afterwards though her mum would always yell up stairs for her to shut up. And she always did as she was told.
We used to run down the stairs shouting to wake up her dad in the mornings. He slept downstairs with her mum on a cheap grey/brown futon like thing. That was pushed up into a sofa during the day. When he wasn't at work he would sit down with us and play with Midnight. Sometimes he would draw pictures for her; he was very good at drawing.
Midnight had two dogs, Yousho and Kinishki, they were both akitas. Japanese fighting dogs is what they were supposed to be but Kinishki prefered to sleep all day and Yousho? well she was too damn proud to consider anything like fighting. Their fur was thick and and on their underside it was soft as silk. I remember she used to bury her face in their fur when she said hello to them or when she was upset. I remember she loved to play with them and would run around the garden chasing them, her laughter reaching up to the sky and her eyes would light up with her joy.
When her dad left she didn't understand at first. I had to tell her. For awhile, I can't remember how long but for awhile after we had gone to bed when we were asleep they would start. Her parents that is, they would start to fight. everything but the worst of them all was her fear of being all alone. When she felt that fear was when I was with her most. She needed me then more than she ever Their raised voices would reach up the stairs bouncing angry words back and forwards. I don't know what they where shouting about but it was loud enough to wake us both up, and we were scared. She was shaking and crying silently as we crept to the top of the stairs and peered down through the banisters. I thought they would know she was watching but they didn't, or at least they didn't acknolege her. The lastnight he was there we watched them fight again. When they were finally silent her mum sat down on the sofa and cried, her sobs seeming too loud in the sudden silence. Midnight's dad just left. Just walked out the door. And that was that.
For a while I only saw her when no one else was around, not even her mum, so I can't rightly say what happened then. I can say how broken that little girl was though, she didn't cry because of what happened - in fact she didn't even speak of it, but I could see it in her eyes. I saw how that fateful night haunted her when ever she saw a shadow move or looked at her mum. I saw the fear, fear ofhad done before. That was when the light first left her eyes, Isaw glimpses of it sometimes so I knew it was still there; her happieness hadn't truely left her, it had just been buried.
But the really terrible part of those dark days were not because of her dad. They were soley down to her mum. That was the thing that broke that little childs heart. The fact that she was forgotten by the most important person in her life.