Three leaf clover
Years Active: 2012 - 2015
Available on: Amazon
Written by: Jordan Tury
Edited by: James Whitten
Cover Design by: Adam Taylor
I sit here in this dark abyss of a room, leant against an oak desk with my elbows resting upon the solid oak, clutching a jotted pen and a four hundred-page notepad, keeping a clear head and peaceful soul; waiting for my mind to begin telling the story. Fixated on the notepad I expect the ink to start pouring out onto the pages, but nothing. I am looking at a blank canvas, and find it difficult to locate the story’s beginning.
They told me to write, and so that is what I intend to do.
“Note down your thoughts” they said, because apparently it will help me in my desperate times of stress, need and desperation.
I was asked to create a personal space for myself, a database, an index or an autobiography. Something that I can reflect on when needed most.
I have been assigned with writing down my most powerful memories on this notepad, so that they can maybe draw my mind away from the secluded reality I actually live in.
“Start from the beginning, and don’t stop till there’s nothing more to write” the man in the white coat told me, as he lowered his clipboard and straightened up his silver polka dot tie.
“Grasp the pen, and write down whatever comes into your mind” he whispered.
Already the pen in my fingertips has grown welcome and comfortable, making it easier for me to write. I have no inspiration to tell you the story, as it isn’t the most pleasant of memories; just thinking about my childhood as a whole kills me inside, but I guess I have to start somewhere.
Bring that forbidden feeling of utter anxiety to your mind for a minute.
Loosen your body and unclench your soul. I need you to sit back, relax and listen in closely. Allow your intrigued brain to match the phrases and complete the story.
I will start from the very beginning, just to put you in the picture.
I will tell you about my perfect dream, a dream so colourful and extraordinary that even the most drugged up junkies would have troubles hallucinating something so magical.
I wish I could show you my past, but instead I am only left with the words I choose to write down on these blank pages. I hope that by using the correct vocabulary and description, you will see for yourself the life that I have lived.
And so I hope you read these words carefully, as it would take even the greatest of people to figure me out.
Who am I, and why do I deserve this unbearable heavy burden?
1. ONLY THE BEGINNING
Have you ever had one of those dreams that felt so real you couldn’t tell the difference from being awake and still sound asleep?
What about a dream that felt so perfect that it seemed too unreal to be true, but you still wanted it to continue, so that you didn’t have to wake up and face the truth – that your life is just as terrible as billions of others out there?
Now, I have had a dream – the same recurring dream to be precise.
This wasn’t just any regular dream, oh no – this was different, this was a special dream.
If I could describe this dream in a single word, then I could only describe it as beautiful.
I’ll paint the picture for you, otherwise you probably will not understand where I am coming from.
The dream begins with me descending from the heavens above, all the way down to the softened grass on a perfect little silky hilltop below.
But I do not land in my home, nor a familiar place that I had been a dozen times before Instead, a magnificent patch of softened grass.
As my feet land gently on the crispy strands of grass, I would do the same thing – look around and take in the view laid out before me.
The freshly cut, golden meadow would glisten around me with its perfect sparkle of dew clashing with the carrot coloured crunchy leaves.
The sun beaming down with an orange glare; so hot and crisp, only the slightest bit of wind through the fluorescent grass.
The birds sang discretely, the odd friendly tweet would bring a smile to my face, and each time they would sing a brand new sweetening melody.
The sweet scent of crystal dew dripped off of the meadow, soaking the ground slightly, allowing me to shuffle my feet in the damp patches of grass.
This hilltop seemed to bring love from all over the world and place it in one specific place – and I was standing in it.
I could see the entire city from where I stood; the only problem was, which city it was unclear. It felt familiar, yet unknown at the same time.
The street lamps were dim and silent; not a single sign of life down in the world below.
The world so peaceful up on this hilltop, not a single sight of violence or anger, only happiness and tranquillity. I was looking through the eyes of the luckiest man in the entire world.
I had arrived.
Of course, all dreams have to come to an end.
I wish I could open my eyes and awaken to a normal, peaceful lifestyle, but this is no fairytale; this is reality, and reality can be a somewhat cruel mistress.
“Oi, get up now!” the worst voice I could ever hear – a voice that could destroy any possible good mood.
Before I could even begin to open my eyes, I was further awakened by my worst nightmare. A solid hit straight to the back of the head.
Those stone cold rock hard hands had just murdered a thousand more brain cells inside my tiny intrigued mind.
This is how my day would begin.
I brushed the sleep off my eyes and took one deep sigh.
I chose to slowly creep open one eye to see nothing but a wasteland.
Now I hate to say it, but that wasteland was in fact my home; or a better way to put it would be – my prison.
The stench of stale alcohol drained into the rotten carpets and gone off cigarettes poisoned the air with hatred and disgust.
The toxic smoke filled my airways, making it almost impossible to breath.
I could taste that whiskey at the back of my throat, stabbing me constantly, viscously.
I rolled over onto my back and took a deep breath, sucking whatever kind of air left possible.
I sighed, as if to say,
Today is going to be a bad day.
I slowly opened my eyes, escaping the perfect dream world, entering the worst form of nightmare.
As I lay still on the dirty mattress staring at the broken walls and ceiling, covered with cracks and cobwebs, I thought to myself ‘This is not normal’.
I would hear the sounds of rats squeaking between the bed boards, scuffling around in swarms.
The light bulb flickered, then again, once more, and then shattered, leaving me in nothing but a black hole; only the light from between the torn blue curtains shed through the room.
I was not in any normal bedroom; I was in an emotional box of darkness and hatred. I had barely three feet to move around the mattress.
No television. No wardrobe. No colour on the walls - just an empty box.
This box I speak of contained not a single colour, only a heavy bland shade of grey.
My friends would always say about how large their rooms were and how they couldn’t wait until their next family holiday abroad. I wasn’t jealous or anything; I guess I just grew frustrated of their boasts.
I had never been on holiday anywhere; I hadn’t even left my home city. I always wondered how incredible it would be to fly overseas, seeing things no other man had ever seen before.
I feel that by now you have crafted a small picture in your mind of what my life consists of, and now I can tell you the truth. I don’t want there to be any lies in these words, as that would only confuse you and ruin our fledgling relationship.
I didn’t have any friends when I was young.
Of course I did hear others talk about their rooms and holidays abroad, but only from across various crowds.
I would usually like to pretend that I was involved other people’s conversations. I would overhear others, and then reply in my head – and believe me, you wouldn’t have a clue as to how overjoyed I would be if the person I was replying to actually responded with an answer that had some slight relevance to my inner dialogue – It somehow made me feel as if I was a part of the conversation.
You are probably asking yourself, ‘Why didn’t he just go over and talk to them?’
Well, to be perfectly honest with you, I wasn’t exactly the most popular kid in school; if anything, I was the one kid that people would try and avoid. If somebody accidently turned a corner to see me walking in their direction, they would instantly turn the other way and flee without reason.
There would be no time for a shower in the morning; I couldn’t even if I had wanted too, as the water had been off for years.
I had lost the feeling of that warm spray blasting towards my face.
I missed the steam shooting off of my shoulders and leaving my body in a devil red glow.
I stood up and placed my feet on the frozen floor and stared down to barely make out my own feet beyond the dirt and rubbish.
I stood still for endless seconds and took deeper breaths; I would feel the scattering of mice and spiders rushing in between my toes, finding new nesting places in their colony, as if they were more important than me.
This box was my home, my only place of existence.
The second I stepped past the door hinge I would become nothing less than ‘the invisible boy’ to the outside world.
I opened my eyes fully and stepped from my dreamland to reality.
I brushed off a fraction of the dirt from my plain bland t-shirt, just so I could attempt at fitting in with the other stylish kids at school.
I scooped up my only belonging - a scuffled up backpack.
It contained one old worn pencil and an old ragged picture.
This was no ordinary picture, this was a picture of my true love, my world, the only person ever to care. I guess you could say, the only person ever to love me for whom I was; the person in the photo was my mother.
The picture was taken back in the summer of two thousand and seven, four years ago.
The picture had begun to show its age, three of the corners were torn off and lost forever, but that didn’t matter, as the real beauty stood in the center of the photograph.
In the picture, my mother stood by an old oak tree, a gleaming white river ran almost twenty yards behind her.
She wore a knee length floral dress glistened with the gold, white and violet, each colour complimented her petite frame.
I remember when the picture was taken, simply because of the stories she shared about her childhood.
She would tell me of her first true love, her first holiday, how much trouble she used to get in and tales of her mischievous adventures.
“There was this one time where I climbed up Mrs. Simmons cherry tree, and didn’t want to get caught, so I hid between two horrible spikey branches, and then –“
“Hey you two, over here!”
Click. The picture was taken – and just like that, a memory had been created.
This picture I held on to was my only happy memory of my childhood.
I can’t stand to face it but that picture taken on that perfect summer’s day was in fact her final ever picture.
You see, my mother died December that year, and since then, things changed.
Her death was so unexpected, even the doctors couldn’t tell us what had really happened. I guess I was just too young to be told the truth behind it. I understand why I was never told, I do. I wanted to remember my mother as a caring, loving human being; I had no further interest in what else she got up to behind closed doors.
“Just shut up boy, you needn’t know what happened” my father told me as soon as I asked him what had happened outside the hospital doors.
He murmured a few words whilst walking away – something along the lines of “How could she, after all I did for her?”
He spat violently, before lighting a cigarette and continuing on leaving me to catch up.
I often reminisce about my childhood, you know, when my mother was alive.
I remember as if it were yesterday my sister, Abby, would call me down to dinner, I would stop whatever I was doing and rush straight downstairs with the biggest smile on my face. I’d jump straight up to my chair at the bottom end of the polished wooden table and grip my cutlery, waiting for the new, exotic flavours to be placed in front of us.
It was the greatest time of day, myself, my brother and sister, and my idolized mother, Jasmine.
The only funny thing I never really thought about back then was my dad was never usually there. I was only thirteen and never took any notice as to why he wasn’t around. I wasn’t bothered by it either; I guess you could say that I had the odd curious feeling from time to time, but nothing major. I was perfectly happy with the daily routine without him being there.
The only times I remember him being around were when he used to come home late, slamming the front door, yelling at the top of his lungs, screaming every swear word under the sun.
I assumed that he was frustrated with something that had happened throughout his day; maybe he had lost a bet down at the bookies, or had gotten thrown out of a local pub for disorderly conduct.
I’d like to tell you that he was a banker or salesman, but that would only be another lie.
My father was jobless, and on benefits - scrounging every penny possible from the state.
“Free money…” he would say, whilst sitting back in his flailed armchair, sipping a bottle of cheap whiskey.
“Why work when I can get money for free from the government?” he would continue, not even bothering to sound enthusiastic about it.
I would sit well away from him and watch him, choosing not to reply, as I didn’t want to anger him.
Mum would always remind us to cover our ears whenever a single word was spoken by him.
It was different every night; the endless noise could end after minutes, sometimes hours, and occasionally, it lasted all night.
I would grow accustomed to the endless crashing, shouting and blaspheming going on within the household.
Through the years I grew used to it. We all did.
But if I only knew what was really happening at the bottom of that staircase, then I could have maybe done something about it.
But I didn’t, I was too young. I was too busy living in a fairytale to care about anything else than pure happiness.
How time flew; days turned into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years.
A family home grew into a reckless jail with no real rules or restrictions; there were no boundaries as to what could happen.
Luckily, Abby went on to do better things – so at least one of us got out easily.
I remember the time when she came into my room in the early hours of the morning and kissed me on the forehead.
She stood over me and flicked through several bank notes wedged in the front pocket of her backpack, whispering the numbers, counting out a total of thirty pounds that she had either saved or stolen from previous months.
By the time I adjusted my eyes, she was gone, completely out of sight.
I never saw her again after that night; but deep down inside, I knew that she was doing great, I just knew it.
So the beloved family of five had turned into a devilish group of three. I had my baby brother Danny, who hadn’t learnt to talk yet and my father, who was the leader of the little wolf pack.
It sometimes felt like Danny and I were castaways, lost and looking for a better future, the only way we could live was to stay in the dungeon, just until we grew a little bit older and wiser. I knew that we would never survive out there; we were just too young.
I would sometimes sit in bed at night and think of an escape. I would devise a plan and plot different routes for an escape, but never put the plan into action.
I sometimes thought about shadowing Abby and following her footsteps, but I was always held back. I wanted to stay, for Danny’s sake.
Dad would leave early in the morning and not come back until late, only stopping by for an extra bit of money.
I was left to attend school alone and take care of my two-year-old brother.
My monthly school attendance record would read ‘fifty eight percent attendance; must try harder’, this was because I was spending three days a week caring for Danny.
Other days I would try and ask the neighbour, hoping that they were home and available to take care of him free of charge.
I would get mixed reactions from the neighbours; sometimes they would be more than happy to assist, and other times they would turn a blind eye and avoid me at all costs, they ran through their book of excuses and hoped I didn’t ask questions.
I felt sorry for them I really did, but I had no choice.
But enough of that - let me continue with the story.
I reached for the door that unlocked the world I feared the most, the real world.
After picking up my backpack I took a small step out of my shrine, my sanctuary.
I entered the dark, rotten corridor, seeing nothing but a flickering light revealing old crooked pictures hanging off of the thin walls. A rusty old mirror stood dead ahead of me, reflecting nothing but a blackened silhouette of myself.
I took a left towards the steep narrow steps leading towards the lower floor.
I took two deep breaths whilst pacing myself down the stairs, tackling them one at a time, just hoping not to get noticed. I kept quiet, trying to test my own skills at being a spider or a rat, slowly getting closer and closer towards the front door, giving myself more confidence of escaping in time.
I took quicker steps and reached the bottom. I quickly reached out for the door to grasp the silver handle - but I was stopped.
“Oi, don’t think you’re getting out that easy!” the monster squealed from his ragged armchair.
His rotten voice destroyed all emotions I held inside an crushed all happiness I had left.
He used no fancy words or expressed any emotion whatsoever.
I took yet another deep sigh as I faced to the left, noticing him, staring deep into my eyes. I took a closer look into his hands to see him grasping a large bottle of own-brand whiskey.
He remained slouched on his ripped armchair in silence.
He began clicking his tongue against his teeth as the clock struck nine. His look gave no expression, only a dead gaze rested on his face.
The awkward silence was unbearable. I was dreading his next action, as it was so unpredictable.
I took a deep breath, and then daringly faced the door again as if to say ‘I don’t need this’.
This is the man I feared the most; the man that could kill me within a second if he wanted too.
As those slow seconds went by I had already began to regret breaking eye contact with him. I didn’t want to anger him, but I feared I may have done, if only slightly.
“Oi!” He yelled louder, even more violent the second time.
I stood still whilst grasping the door handle with all my might.
He jumped straight to his feet, almost falling flat on his knees.
I stood terrified and wondered what to expect.
Even if I had done nothing wrong, he would still try and find something to shout at me about, it was his way of showing who the master of the house was.
I could smell the stench of whiskey exploding from his rotten mouth as he heavily breathed over me. Acting ten feet tall in his scum like plain ripped vest.
“Money! Now!” He took a huge gulp of whiskey from his bottle and exhaled. You could almost see a dark bronze fog from his mouth.
He then looked down and started searching deep inside his pockets.
“Where’s the damn cigarette?” he yelled, blasting spit all across my face.
Before I could get a word in, he stared directly into my eyes, pupils wide, and then jumped straight to his conclusion,
“You”, he dropped the bottle, then grabbed me by the throat and slammed me against the frozen wall.
“Where is it maggot?” he screamed straight into my face.
“I...I don’t know.’ I replied, fearing the worst.
He twisted his neck, which made an audible crack.
He gripped his left hand tighter against my throat and pointed one finger straight at me as if to say ‘watch it’.
This felt like hours, I was late for school. I wanted to be anywhere else than there.
I noticed that something suddenly caught his attention.
He quickly faced the floor and paced over to something. He leant over, threw aside some old hand me down clothes to reveal a half smoked rollup cigarette.
He picked it straight up, plucked the loose tobacco off of the tip and threw it directly into his mouth.
He then swung around and barged straight past me. He grabbed his lighter from the floor and lit the end of his crumpled bent cigarette.
Suddenly the airflow grew tighter. I was back in that tight box.
He let out a huge sigh and took a deep drag of the rollup.
I had a feeling I was off the hook; and so I once again reached for the front door handle.
As I started to push down the handle, he paced over to me once more.
“Money…” he spluttered aggressively.
I reached for my pockets and searched quickly. I emptied a total of thirty-six pence. I had hoped that he wouldn’t ask for money, as I was planning on spending that loose change on something fairly small to eat later on that day.
I regrettably placed the rusty coins into his dirty hands. He smiled, took another drag from his cigarette, and revealed his ochre stained teeth; the black poisoned cracks shouted out at me so viciously, making me feel slightly sick.
The smoke wildly exhaled out of his mouth aiming straight into my face, making me shed a single tear.
I couldn’t bear the tension of the situation.
I couldn’t stand being within a million miles of this man.
“Go on, get out” He barged past me, and slammed into my shoulder.
I reached for the handle and quickly edged out of the door, hoping he wouldn’t catch me again.
I was out, the sweet fresh air blasted straight towards my eyes.
I sprinted towards the street only ten yards away in order to get a better sample of it.
I shut my eyes and inhaled the perfect amount of air through my nose, and then exhaled out of the mouth.
It is pretty sad and pathetic to say, but this was one of the best parts of my day.
I hitched my backpack a little higher onto my shoulder and began walking down the street.
It wasn’t exactly the greatest street in the world, nor was it the most extraordinary city - but it was a little piece of something I could call home. I wouldn’t exactly say it was Shangri-La, but it was something.
It had no fancy driveways or garages, nor did it have any nearby designer shopping outlets; it was just a street, packed full of tiny, repetitive, semi-detached houses and flats.
I thought to myself at that moment, ‘how do I cope with it all?’
I tried to reassure myself by saying that there was always a silver lining.
I had the gut feeling that no matter what I experienced in life, I was always going to end up on the brighter side of the line.
‘There must be something better at the end of this road, there has to be’.
I would confidently say to myself most mornings.
My name is Chris, and I am seventeen years old at this part of the story.
So far, this is what I would call a childhood daily morning routine - but this was nothing; my day was only just beginning.