Whenever he was scolded as a child, Jay took it more personal that you would normally expect. He could not understand what he would do that was so wrong. He would make a simple mistake but when asked to explain it, he could see that he had done the right thing. Yet despite that, he could also see he had done the wrong thing too. It confused him as to what had really happened.
He continually felt like he could do no right in the eyes of his parents yet he was sure he had done no wrong.
That was when he started running away from home. After each telling off when sent to his room, he would climb out of the window and on to the roof of their shed. After making sure the coast was clear he would jump over the back fence of the yard and run as fast as he could down the alley that ran past the back of his house.
He would run and run until he reached the fields at the end of the road where he would keep to the trees until he reached the clearing. It was a place where he felt safe, despite the darkness and loneliness. On a clear night when the moon was visible, as he lay down on the ground staring at the stars he could see the bats flying around over head. So quite and isolated was it that you could even hear them clicking as they searched for their prey.
He often wondered what it must be like to be free to fly wherever he wanted, whenever he wanted. It was his feeling of always wanting to escape.
The woods were part of an old Army base and there were a few old shelters dotted around which came in handy when it rained. He had often awoke in the early hours of the morning having fallen asleep when at last he felt in touch with reality again.
On a clear and dry night he would lay outside at stare up at the stars, wondering if there was something or someone out there. Had they visited the earth some years ago and left him with his parents taking their real baby back with them to what ever planet they had come from. There had to be a reason why he was so different and he never felt like he really belonged anywhere he went.
At school, he was the quiet one. Considered quite gifted when he first started school he already proficient at reading and basic mathematics. All they wanted him to do was play with the water and sand, but he just wanted to read or paint.
The teachers were always amazed at some of the images he produced. Some were even disturbed by them and looked at him with trepidation wondering whether this was an indication of some evil spirit within him. He was in no way a budding Picasso or a Van Gough, and you could tell they were the pictures of a 4 or 5 year old. But there was something about the images that disturbed those who looked at them. A frequent drawing would be of people in matchstick form but he somehow managed to blur them so they appeared to be moving in varying directions. He would paint his mum and dad with himself and brother and sister, but the blurred images would all seem to go in the same direction. He would spend ages drawing each figure in gradually fading to a point where it disappears to nothing. Each blurred layer could have been a picture in its own right. In fact, it was as if he had drawn a frame of a picture, rubbed it out and then drawn the next frame over the top. Sometimes when you take a picture on the old 35mm camera and the film doesn’t wind on you get two images superimposed on the same picture? Each of his drawings looked like a collection of multiple captures with each frame being slightly different. He lacked the knowledge and skill at that age for the subject or point of the picture to be instantly recognizable, but there was something about them that looked slightly disturbing.
He remembered one lunch time at school when the boys from his year were playing their usual game of soccer in the school playground. The two regular ‘captains’ would stand in front and pick from the boys lined up against the school walls. He would get picked and walk towards the team, but often they would look at him and say “Hey, were you going, get to the team you were picked for”. He was sure that’s what he heard. He would replay it over in his head and was certain that’s what he heard, but then he would also see he was picked for the other side. Then he would get upset because he couldn’t work out what was going on. Finally, no-one wanted to pick him for either team so he never got to play at all. In the end he withdrew from similar situations and pretty much became known as a bit of a loner.
Even in the classroom he would soon learn to keep quiet. When teachers would ask a question if he was not the first to answer, he would always be the second if someone ever got it wrong. Sometimes he never knew the answer until someone had incorrectly answered, he would see them answering it correctly only to look back and see the teacher say that it was wrong. He would then raise his hand and repeat what he was sure he heard his classmate say, but the teacher would tell him he was right. Did the teacher not hear what his classmate had said the first time? He would think back to check, but he would hear them say the wrong answer this time?
Soon his classmates would avoid him for being a teacher’s pet, for always answering the questions. He would get teased about it all the time and when he mentioned it to his parents, his dad just replied, “Well no one likes a smart arse son”. Probably the only advice he knowingly took from his father when he was young, but he soon learnt to keep his mouth closed during lessons. Then his teachers began to say he was falling behind, or not showing the same enthusiasm as he had previously done. He felt he couldn’t win at whatever he did.
As more and more of these events happened, he gradually withdrew more and more from socializing with the children around him and this just confirmed his loner status. In a way this actually reduced his problems, since the more people around him at anyone time, the more images he would see and the more confused he would get.
Now that he would spend more time alone, it allowed him to experiment with what he was seeing. He was far too young to understand it at first, but as he aged, he began to gain an understanding.