Chapter 23





When I first met Tommy I had been a freshman. I thought life was first starting for me, because nothing before high school mattered. I had walked down that hallway in my hot pink flip flops, favorite jean skirt, and a tube top with my all ready long black hair down and controlled at the front with a daisy hair pin.

I'm telling you, I was refreshed and ready for a new start.

Tommy entered high school with a smile and an older brother that promised him a leading spot in the junior football varsity team and a cool four years of popularity. His blond hair had been casually windswept to the side and his grin had been contagious. The first thing he said was something cheesy, but to a fourteen year old, with the hopes of a successful high school life didn't really mind when the most popular freshman used the "You're too hot to be legal" line.

Over time he had changed, his mood wasn't as playful, but instead it became more caring and less sexist. He spoiled me, showed me off—loved me.

Then he had gotten his scholarship acceptance in the middle of grade eleven, early by any standards, but he was too good for the scouts to pass by. So he was the high school's first ever varsity footballer to get a scholarship in grade eleven. This made him glow, and gloat.

It also changed him.

The nights in which he would bail on me, not answer my calls, or call me late while being drunk became more and more frequent.

I remember the day that we first made love. If you could even call it that. He had begged me to prove to him that I loved him, as if my constant reminders were not enough, as if love could only be testified by connecting my body to his and suffering non-stop sweating sessions. On the night that it happened, he had arrived at my house for a date that we had planned the week before to see a film that I had been craving to watch for what felt like forever.

But of course, he was late. And drunk.

I told him to leave, that I never wanted to see him again. That he had ruined everything and that I never wanted him in my life again. But he somehow calmed me down and reassured me that nothing was wrong and that he would make me feel relaxed. He kissed me and lifted me up, I felt like finally he was giving me the attention that I had been craving for so long so I barely noticed when he carried me into my room and onto my bed. Dad was seeing some clients about possible job inquiries on their old cars so the house was mute in case I felt it necessary to voice my opinion on my then current situation.

Then it happened. I don't know how, and I don't know how long it lasted. But I know it happened. And I never let him do it again, I told him I wasn't ready. And that is when he became distant and I began suspecting, but heard no rumors of my boyfriend's secret lover. That was the night that something very important that had been offered no future the day of the accident was created. Something that would have connected Tommy and I to each other forever.

But my dreams, my fantasies--my foolish teenage illusions were shattered, much like the mirror that I broke with my fist only a week after I detached myself from my hair while watching my tormented reflection.

The man, boy, that had turned my world black and white sits in one of the leather couches that my mother owns and is eating one of her chocolate chip cookies and is occasionally drinking from a 7-UP can placed neatly under a coaster on the glass coffee table.

His tone is casual and almost enthusiastic, "Hi Jenna."

The End

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