She was gangly. I was early. While I waited, sipping my cappuccino in a corner, I watched her. Except for one scraggly strand at her temple, her thin yellow hair was pulled tightly to a bun on the top of her head. The loose strand was hot pink. Piercings filled with metal ran up and down her ears. Her jeans fit like tights.
She went outside to smoke a cigarette; icy air blasted the store as she went. I shivered and shook my head: she was all of about sixteen.
My friends arrived, and, for the moment, she was forgotten. Lost in conversation and the catching up of years, I failed to notice her reenter the store or the way she was camped out, vacant, on a sofa in the corner.
That is, until the text.
“Oh my gosh,” her cry was loud enough to fill the room. She was staring at her phone. “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh.” She stood up and went over to a friend. She showed her the text. “What am I going to do?”
Her friend, whose dark makeup gave one the alarming feeling they’d been inexplicably transported to a set of Twilight, looked concerned.
“My mom’s . . . on the property. She got in a fight. She’s . . .” The girl was babbling. “He should have known better: mom’s got the gun. But what if she goes to jail? The last time . . . Last time . . . What if she goes to jail? What am I going to do?”
The girl was practically shrieking now. Her friend started sniffling.
The room was uncomfortable. What was this poor girl going to do?
This a partial republishing (with edits) of a post I wrote last December. As I am trying to return to my thoughts on what makes us “us,” this story seemed to fit. For those of you who’ve read this story before, please forgive me. For those of you who are just tuning in, be sure to check out “just like mommy” and “meanwhile . . .” for other posts in this series.
Image: Getty Images
- just like mommy (jesscy.com)
- meanwhile . . . (jesscy.com)
- digging deeper (jesscy.com)
That is a nice read….Though I haven’t read your previous post, after reading this I think I should read that one too…
Thank you, Harsha. I hope you do read the other posts, especially “just like mommy.” None of my posts are very long, so they don’t take much time. ;) But I’m really interested in how we become the people that we are. So much of it is out of our control, honestly. Culture, environment, genetics… Obviously we have the ability to make decisions for ourselves, but even those are affected by environment.
Anyway, I’m rambling. Thanks for the comment!
Hehe… Ur comment is nice… Really, u make lot of sense… :-)
And as for ur posts, even if they are long they are quite interesting.
What a sweet thing to say! Thank you!
Wow, so well written! You got me interested from the very beginning, and even now I am still sitting with the same question as they did. I think I will have to check out your other stories too, as you seem to write very well.
Thanks very much. Your feedback means a lot. I hope you *do* get a chance to check out the other stories—I’m pretty proud of them, too… And now I’ve got to check out your site! :)
…wow. I like your style – very matter-of-fact, very real, very in the moment.
Thank you so much. That means the world to me. Gotta be direct and to the point—our minds fill in the blanks… At least that’s what I keep telling myself. ;)
i love how you’re exploring the theme from a child’s perspective, with great thought and compassion. this one for me puts your writing on a whole new track. more, please. tony
that means so much, tony. i’ve thought a lot about how upbringing influences the people we become… especially along that ever elusive vein of “success.”
i’ll do my best. :) jess
Hmm, waiting for the next post in this series! What will happen? What did Jessica do… or not do? ;)
…Maybe she’ll never tell! Lol. Seriously, though, I might take it in a direction you wouldn’t expect. :D
I hope so. I’m always up for an adventure! ;)
Wow! You just took me deeper into your world with every word… such a lovely read, Jessica! :)
just like you don’t watch movies…i don’t read books. Yet your writing is so beautifully descriptive i would probably read yours!
Have you published anything yet? if not you should start writing asap! u are amazing with words!
Thanks so much, I’m honored. I love to write but the only published works I have are BORING. They’re all news articles and the like. I think I’ve finally decided I want to teach abroad again and write about those experiences rather than pursuing a career writing things I’m not passionate about. What makes writing (and reading) fun is when you’re writing/reading about something that matters!
Ah, I did not expect this…nice post, and can’t wait for the follow-up. When? :-)
Oh, I’m so glad to hear that you didn’t expect the ending! And, actually, that was it. Eventually the girl calmed down, and we left hoping she’d be all right. There wasn’t a lot else we could do. I do plan to write at least one more story along these lines, though. Coming soon. ;)