Time is said to mend a heavy heart. I do not know who came up with this quote, but what I do know is that time certainly owes me a favor.
14 years of waiting to put that tragic event in my life in the past. All I remember is the adrenaline pulsing through my veins, my blood-shot eyes crying for forgiveness, my hands trembling to be held.
I don't know why people do what they do, but 14 years ago I was committed for false murder.
It was the summer of 1952, another hot, humid day on the orange farms of California. I lived with my drunken pa who played the cards more than he played with his own daughter. Then there was my self-indulged mother who sold almost every bit of furniture in our house just to pay for her tacky clothes. She puts herself before everyone else and yet she is still admired by most. And then there's me, plain old Jessie, always forgotten, at least for now.
I felt like any normal 15 year old girl, I liked to be in the know with the latest fashion trends or talk about boys, but I never truly felt like I fit in with anyone but myself.
The place that I called "home" was about a mile away from town and shrouded behind the orange trees.
I loved everything about my home, the citrus smell that permeated the air, the dark green leaves falling onto the darkened soil, the rough edge feel of the tree bark. I wouldn't trade this place for the world. The landscape of our plot was so near and dear to me and I marveled at the beauty of every little thing that inhabited it.
At a certain time of the year the monarch butterflies would be migrating south and they'd pass over our farm. Every year I thought to myself how great it must be to be a butterfly. Oh, what it must feel like to be lifted by the careless wind, followed by others around you, flocking to the final destination. The butterflies released so much love to one another, keeping each other warm and protected. If only I knew what that felt like.
Despite not feeling the comfort of others, I was content being by myself. My best friends were my pen and my journal, and together we'd go on adventures to the edge of the earth and to the bottom of the sea.
I loved to write stories, no matter how little sense they made. I loved to be mentally challenged. I was always that kid that would be the first to raise their hand to answer a question and the kid that tried to excel at every subject, I'd pursue anything that I put my mind to and I didn't care if what I wanted to achieve was still unknown to man. And that to me is the beauty of life.
Poetry is something I have recently gotten into:
"I have dreamed a thousand dreams, and lived a thousand lives.
I have encountered the Seven Wonders of the World and have sailed the seven seas.
I have memorized every shade of black, and have colored in every shade of white.
And every little thing in life is special.
And one day we will leave this carcass,
Or a body some may call,
And enter a new world,
And there we may then recall."
I am not the best at poetry, but one day I am devoted to being referred to for a quote.
If anyone were to read my journal I fear I would be sent to an insane asylum and locked up for 200 years! People would think my mind was possessed by evil creatures taunting me by the hour and trying to pull others down with me into a spiraling abyss.
But that's not that case, the case is I love to explore. I wanted to give everything a unique quality.
I was very attached to inanimate objects. When I was seven I was playing with my pet rock telling it to not be sad because it is a special rock and that it will one day grow into a boulder.
I had to hide my pen and journal in the floorboards of my room so no one could get a hold of my stories and thoughts, not that anyone would attempt to anyways.
The next day was equally hot as the day before, but less humid. Most of the kids in town would be heading out to the beach and the quarry but I choose to stay home as my parents headed out to see a movie. I didn't care where they were going actually, I just cared that I'd get to spend the day to myself where I can gaze upon the clouds and make shapes out of them.
This is where the trouble began.
I decided that in my free time I would head out to town and buy a pop or something with the money I had saved up from the past year's harvest.
As I approached the Grab-and-Go market I felt as though at that moment I should run away without looking back and lock myself in the solicitude of my home. But of course I ignored my conscious and entered the market.
And what a bad decision that was.
What I witnessed inside was something that never in my life would I have wanted to witness. The murder of clerk in such a vicious way! I remember the clerk screaming bloody murder asking for mercy but only to be let down by the plunge of a serrated knife in the chest. There he dropped dead to the black-and-white checked tile, a pool of blood forming around his body.
I was paralyzed with fear. So many thoughts streaming through my head! All I could do is just stand there; time seemed to have slipped from my grasp for those few seconds seemed like an eternity.
I made eye contact with the murderer he dropped the knife and he charged passed me, and I will never forget the look of tormenting desperation in his eyes.
I walked over to the clerk and fell on my knees bursting into tears at the sight. I violently banged my fists against the tile till they bled, mixing my blood with poor victim's.
My body and clothes were stained with the innocent blood of the clerk and I was holding the knife that maliciously had killed a man. By that time the police had finally arrived.
I didn't look very innocent, I sat there covered head to toe in blood, holding the knife and the look of accusation glistened in the police officers eyes. My first instinct was to run away from the scene. It was too late for that and I just lay there, too stunned to speak a word and to explain the situation and that I was just a mere bystander.
I was carried away to the police car; they didn't bother putting hand cuffs on me because I had made no motion to resist. On the way to the town jail the officers made a stop to where supposedly a television set was stolen from one of the locals.
I sat waiting in the car for the officers to return when a sudden urge of adrenaline rushed over me. I jumped to the front of the car and drove speedily away. Luckily the keys were left in the ignition. What were the chances?
There was no turning back at this point.
I drove all the way to my orange farm and burst inside the house. I couldn't even pull myself together enough to figure out what to do. I ran upstairs to my room put together a bag of clothes, water, food, my journal and pen. I then splashed some cold water on my face and left.
As I drove away all I kept thinking was how I'd never be able to return, I was leaving the place I grew up in. All the days I spent writing beneath the orange trees, staring at the clouds, picking oranges in the harvest and watching the monarchs fly away with the support of their fellow peers.
Then there I am, peerless and deserted by the common face of human decency.
About an hour into driving I decided that it was time to dispose of the car and I jumped out of the car and let it drive into a lake.
Here I was, a 15 year old girl having no clue where I am and having no idea how I ended up in such a predicament. I silently prayed asking God what I have done to deserve this? How is this supposed to make me stronger and build character? I always considered myself to be one with the Earth, but now I had a strong repent towards all of mankind.
The remorse kept bubbling up inside me; I just wanted to scream at the world!
That night I ended up falling asleep in my blood stained clothes inside a ditch about 100 yards away from the dirt. I had covered up my skin with the mud to keep me warm and I salvaged the little amount of water that I had grabbed before my departure.
It was a rough sleep, how is a person capable of falling asleep when all they have on their mind is the replay of the day's events?
All I ever wanted in life was to give love and be loved; only half of what I wanted was fulfilled, the other half still lay a mystery onto why it was impossible for me to be loved.
I came up with the only possible explanation for the abandonment that has consumed me:
Everyone was a mindless idiot.
My sleep didn't last very long. I woke up expecting to see the rusty-brown color of my wooden walls and my water-stained ceiling. It was a sure letdown when I saw the barren landscape and the faded black road. It was a truly depressing sight to see.
I struggled to climb out of the ditch for tiredness consumed my whole body. Even my mind wasn't functioning properly. This was odd because there was no off-switch to my unlimited imagination.
I had always wondered if there were tiny engines inside our head, contemplating our thoughts before they are thought. Too complicated to describe my reasoning for this, but it seemed more logical the less I thought about it. It is like trying to describe irony to someone who has no clue about anything, and what makes something so ironic.
I spent a good hour or two pondering over my reasoning for engines inside our heads. During that time I was walking, my legs were aching; I felt like I would collapse at any moment and I had only a drop or two of water left.
Sweat was dripping down my neck, and I was just wishing for a band of coyotes to come wandering around and to tear my body a part limb from limb, to put me out of my misery.
I continued my walking for about half an hour until I stumbled upon a quaint little town. "WELCOME TO…" it read. The rest of sign too faded away to comprehend even a single letter.
I didn't care of where I was at, as long as it was far away from my past.
I found the perfect place to stay, but now what? Where do I stay? Will I be recognized? How do I manage to live when I only have $56.23 in my pocket? That was only enough to get me a hotel for about 2 or 3 days and nothing else.
At this point I couldn't tell what emotion I was feeling. Frustration, regret, denial, and a hint of joy at the fact I felt free.
I was puzzled.
There I was, sitting outside a flower shop, tears welling up in my eyes from the smell of nature, and how that brought back the memory of the orange farm.
Right now all I wanted was a time machine to rewind yesterday's events and change the path I have chosen. If only I had listened to my conscious, or have found my voice to explain to the cops my situation.
I could only imagine the anguish that appeared in my eyes.