Read Saving Jazz Online

Authors: Kate McCaffrey

Saving Jazz

BOOK: Saving Jazz
11.69Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

for Nick

Prologue

It's the silence that's disturbing. Silence that has spanned the last few days. Long silence, accompanied by moody staring out of the window or into the distance. Silence that allows nothing to be said, and nothing to be heard. Silence that speaks volumes.

Something is up. I know this, but nothing I say elicits a response. No amount of specific questions, or even diversionary questions, break through the impenetrable wall of silence. She won't speak to me. And I can't read her face, impassive; her body language, protective; her silence, deafening.

It is killing me.

It's been over half an hour since we got home. She said nothing on the journey. Even before it, when I insisted she stay at school until the end of the day, she
met me with silence. She switched her phone off. What could I do, but pick her up early for the second day in a row and hope she would speak.

But she was silent. And now she still is.

Forty minutes.

That's enough. I get out of my floral armchair, place my cup on the table and walk upstairs. I bang on her bathroom door.

Nothing.

Silence.

‘Annie,' I call out loudly, trying to harness my rising hysteria. ‘Open the door. I want to talk.'

Nothing.

I grab the brass handle. I turn it. The door silently refuses me entry.

‘Annie, open this door.'

I want to scream. Bang the door down because the silence is crashing down on top of me. ‘Annie,' I shout again and rattle the handle furiously.

Silence.

I pull the drawers from the antique hall stand. One cracks as it hits the floor, spewing contents out. I rummage through them. A hairpin. I stick it in the door's release mechanism. I rattle the handle furiously
again, loudly, because what other option is there?

The handle gives and the door pushes open so hard I hear the wall chip behind it. ‘Annie,' I scream as the word freezes on my lips. ‘Annie,' I try to say again, running to my child, my beautiful daughter, Annie of acting classes and impersonations, Annie who wanted to be a unicorn as a five-year-old and travel the world as a fifteen-year-old, but there are no words. The silence has infected me.

I run to the bathtub. Her hair swirls across the water like an oil spill. I plunge my arms through the water, grabbing at her shoulders. She slips through my fingers. Water sloshes over my feet. I clutch at her shoulders again. I try not to look at her face. A bluish hue. Her eyes are shut. In my head I'm saying ‘Annie, Annie' as she falls onto me, so wet, so heavy. I wrestle with her lifeless body on the floor and I'm still speaking to her. I begin CPR. I can't remember how many breaths to how many pumps. I just keep doing it and pull my mobile out of my pocket.

I hear someone's voice in the silence. ‘I need an ambulance,' it says clearly and calmly. I breathe — three inhales, fifteen pumps.

‘My daughter's not breathing,' the voice continues.
‘Yes, I'm administering CPR.' The voice gives the address of my house. I continue breathing for her, beating her heart. I can't stop. I hear the sirens. Footsteps and voices break the silence. Hands gently remove me and they are there making her breathe, making her heart beat.

‘Are you the one who called triple-0?' one of the paramedics asks me.

I can't take my eyes off my daughter. ‘Yes,' I say, in that same calm and clear voice that broke the silence.

WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE A GIRL

Welcome to my blog. This is a blog of confessions about Greenheadgate and the reality of what it's actually, really, truly like to be a girl …

DISCLAIMER: To protect the privacy of others, names have been changed and characters combined. While I have attempted to be as honest and truthful as I can, these are my memories; I am the teller of my own story.

‘It is far harder to kill a phantom than a reality.'
Virginia Woolf
The Death of the Moth and Other Essays

Post 1: In the beginning

My name is Jasmine Lovely, Jazz usually (unless I'm in trouble), and I'm a rapist. In fact, I'm guilty of more than just rape but, as my lawyer says, in the interests of judicial fairness, we can't be prejudicial. It's hard enough to admit to rape. As a girl, it's exceptionally hard. People look at you blankly. Not that it's something I admit to often, like I just did to you. I don't normally preface my introductions with that abrupt statement, and I'm not part of a self-help group, where you hold your hand up, state your name, then your addiction, affliction, crime. But this is the truth. I'm sixteen now, but twelve months ago that is what I did, I raped a girl. Her name was Annie Townshend. I could sound all David Copperfield and say, ‘To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I
record that I was born (as I have been informed and believe) on a Friday,' but I'm not recording this for posterity. In fact, I'm really just creating this blog to address everything, to set the record straight.

For those of you choosing to follow my blog (and, I might add, you probably need to get a life if the ramblings of a sixteen-year-old constitute your week's entertainment), I should go back further, before the night that changed everything. As the power of the internet allows anyone around the globe to have access to this site I guess I need (as Miss Peters, my Lit teacher, says) to give you some context.

I lived in a small town called Greenhead about a hundred kilometres out of Perth. It's a pretty quiet place, mostly small farm holdings, big houses and the local primary school. It's a place where wildflowers grow in abundance and one of the big trades is exporting them to the rest of the world. If you've ever had a delivery of Geraldton wax or kangaroo paws, they probably came from Greenhead. The other big trade is wine. Over the last twenty years plenty of boutique wineries have popped up. It's
made the landscape more attractive — big stone tasting cellars and an influx of tourists — which makes the place more vibrant, particularly in the summer. The knock-on effect was the creation of a town centre, a bakery, cafe, newsagent and convenience store. It sounds smaller than it is — I feel like I'm giving the wrong impression. It's not
that
country, by country standards. The people who live there are mostly well heeled. Enough disposable income to take yearly holidays, drive nice cars, have quad bikes. Most of the kids yearn for the day they can leave — get closer to the action, or at least closer to a train station, which is about an hour away. So I guess the geography made us kind of insular — we had to find stuff to do within walking distance, because until we got our own cars, we were pretty well stuck. There were about thirty of us who travelled each day, by bus, to Namba High, the closest high school, nearly forty minutes away. It's not large, by city standards — maybe four hundred from Year 7 to Year 12 — so everyone knows everyone, although the degrees of friendship vary. To the rest of the school we were the Greenhead kids. Sometimes I think they viewed us as a bit country,
and now I wonder if that attitude is what fuelled us to party harder than them.

We had a reputation for big nights at friends' places when their parents were out of town. That was the upside to the isolation: if your parents had to go to Perth, they normally stayed the night, and we seized every opportunity to capitalise on their absence. We had gatherings about once a month. The gatherings were always the same — steal booze from your parents and take it to the party. The one goal was to get as trashed as possible, as early as possible. When Scottie McGough discovered jagerbombs, things got even messier. Wasted by nine, passed out wherever you fell, hung-over for a couple of days. It was just what we did. But again, I feel like I'm jumping ahead too fast and maybe giving you the wrong impression. Aside from the parties, the only other big thing we had was school. So we would travel as a group, see each other in classes and travel home. Most of us worked for our parents in some capacity and did schoolwork. It was a pretty sedate life — until a gathering was scheduled and then there was something to really look forward to. But I guess it's school that tipped the balance we
Greenheads had. School and the internet — Facebook in particular, but also Snapchat and Instagram. I think without those things that connected us to the Namba kids, and to the rest of the world, everything might not have got so bad.

I guess you want to know who the main players were. Me, of course, Jazz Lovely. What can I tell you about myself? You should know me, before you judge me. I think this is one of my main reasons for exposing everything about the night we call Greenheadgate. I'm being judged based on my actions of one night. It's like everything I did before that evening has ceased to exist and the sum total of who I am is encapsulated in the word ‘rapist'. I admit it's true — and while I may not have stated this earlier, I am deeply and profoundly ashamed of my actions. The worst thing about regret is that there is no way to undo it. No way to go back in time and make better choices. No way to prevent the here and now. Please don't think I want you to feel sympathetic — what I did was terrible, a crime, something I can't change despite all the wishing and regret in the world. I wish it didn't have to define
me, I struggle daily to live with my actions. But live with them I must — because there is no other option. Annie Townshend thought there was and I understand why. Both she and I made terrible mistakes that night. The difference is I'm prepared to live with mine.

So, about me: I'm 172 centimetres, 58 kilos and I have a really pretty face. I imagine you just rolled your eyes in disgust — totally up myself — but there is no point in lying on this blog. No point in false modesty — that was a big contributing factor to the events, along with jealousy and self-esteem issues. I know I'm pretty, I've always been noticed by boys, even some men. I have a classical face and huge blue eyes. My eyelashes drive my girlfriends mad, they are so long and fake looking, but they're real. I've even been approached in the city by strangers asking if I'd like to be a model — and that is what I thought I'd do, up until the night of Greenheadgate. But now I want to finish school, I want a degree. Who knows now if that is possible? But anyway, here is the thing about being pretty. You don't have to try very hard. You get offered opportunities, people want to get
to know you. So, what I'm about to say contradicts this (please don't think me a liar — I'm not. I'd just like to make that clear, throughout all of this I never told one lie): because you don't have to work hard to attract people and opportunities, you have to work harder than most to keep them. On one level people are drawn to beautiful faces and at the same time they hate them.

BOOK: Saving Jazz
11.69Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Trumpet by Jackie Kay
Drummer Boy at Bull Run by Gilbert L. Morris
Killer Heat by Brenda Novak
Anything She Wants by Harper Bliss - FF
Brighid's Mark by Cate Morgan
The Lamp of the Wicked by Phil Rickman
Dreams of Justice by Dick Adler
Crooked by Brian M. Wiprud
Gods by Ednah Walters