“Don’t even speak; I’m going to continue. But dude, calm down; you are going to cut of the circulation in your arms if you don’t let go,” Ken paused briefly.
I looked down and my arms were indeed turning purple, and my knucles were white. I relaxed enough to regain a feeling in my limbs. But only enough for that. Instead of
asking anything, I nodded to Ken to make him continue.
-After The Mall Incident-
The only reason we knew of the mall incident was because Brit heard it from Jenny a few months later. That summer was not a happy one. We would visit Jenny as much as we could, but she seemed like a zombie whenever we showed up.
She, along with her parents, agreed she should be homeschooled. She would not be continuing her senior year with us. It hit Brit really hard; she no longer had, her words, a ‘sane girlfriend’. We didn’t know she left until one day we came to visit.
“Ding-Dong” Matthew, Ken, and Brit stood at the front door of Jenny’s house. We knew someone was home because of the sound of footsteps.
“Coming!” Mrs. Brown answered the door. “Oh. Hello you three,” Jenny’s mom just stood there, like a deer in headlights.
“Mrs. Brown?” Brit waved her hand in front of Jenny’s mom’s face.
“Oh. Sorry. Come in,” Mrs. Brown stepped aside letting us enter into their home…
Everything was in boxes. “What’s going on?” We three yelled unexpectedly together.
Mrs. Brown jumped back from our explosive voices. “Wow! Did my husband not tell you? That man,” Mrs Brown sat down in the only avaliable chair.
“Mrs. Brown?” Brit went towards Jenny’s mom and crouched down to look up into her face. “Where is Jenny?”
“Jenny left,” Mrs. Brown brushed away a tear. “She accepted the offer from the Fine Art Insitute in Belguim. She will be finishing her senior year there, and then continuing into college.”
Brit gasped and looked up towards Matthew and myself. Her expression was identical to mine, and when I side glanced Matthew it was the same. Shock morphing into
sadness. ‘She just left.’
“She just left us. Without saying goodbye?” Brit turned back to Mrs. Brown, and she was tearing up. “Why…how could she…”
Mrs. Brown reached down and embraced Brit into a hug. “She was depressed. You know. You saw it the last time you were here. She just kept staring at the walls…” Mrs. Brown pulled away from Brit and wiped her own tears away. “Until…one day she painted a beautiful painting on her bedroom wall. It took my breath away. I… would you like to see it?”
We all nodded. Brit stood up from the floor and followed after Mrs. Brown. Once we stepped into Jenny’s room we understood what Jenny’s mom meant. It was the six of us. Matthew stood next to Brit with his arm around her waist. Ken was next; one of his arms draped over Brit all the way to Matthew’s shoulder. While the other arm draped over Jerry who stood next to him. Next was Jenny, and beside her was George; George also had his arm around Jenny’s waist. It was like a memory was captured on the wall. We all pulled out our phones and took pictures of Jenny’s creation.
“I never knew Jenny was so artistic,” Brit said into the silence.
“Yeah. She painted me exactly. Where did she learn?” Matthew also asked.
“I knew she loved to doodle, but I never knew she could do this. It was impressive enough, that I sent a picture of it to my friend at the insitute and maybe a week later we recieved her acceptence letter in the mail. It was a God’s send,” Jenny’s mom ran her hand over the image of her daughter. “This is how I’ll remember my baby; radiant and carefree. After everything that happened I was not about to say no to her escape. Mr. Matthews helped expentially; we would not have been able to send her without his help,” Mrs. Brown stepped back to us, “so I hope you three can understand her descion.”
“Of course. I am excited to see what she will accomplish when she learns some new skills,” Brit said walking up to Mrs. Brown, pulling her into a hug. “Come on, you two.”
Matthew and I walked over and joined into the group hug before Mrs. Brown could protest. We stayed there until the front door opened.
“Dear? Are you home? Who’s car is out front?” Coach yelled from the living room.
“We are in Jenny’s room,” Mrs. brown yelled but stayed in her current position. As soon as coach came into the room, he too joined into the group hug.
“Wow. I didn’t know Jenny was an artist; I thought I knew everything about her,” I was shocked that I never knew this. “Can I see the picture?”
Ken pulled out his phone and showed me.
It was fantastic. She captured us perfectly. I knew what day this day was. It was way before the almost confession; back when we had no concerns, and I loved her. Looking
at this painting, I remebered why I loved her. She was and probably still is as beautiful. She was radiant just as Mrs. Brown said. My old feelings were trying to resurface; so I pushed them aside and went back to the conversation at hand.
“Did Coach and Jenny’s mom move?” I asked remembering the part where they said everything was boxed up.
“Not really. They didn’t sell their house, but they did move into a rental in Northern California. Your dad really helped them out; they are actually renting from your dad,” Jerry had chimmed in now. “That’s why we said they were on a trip earlier; because we had to tell you the back story first.”
‘That’s just like Dad. I’ll have to tell him thank you tomorrow.’ “What about Coach and coaching?”
“He did finish coaching for our senior year; he stayed with your Dad for those six-ish months,” Ken looked away before continuing, “but he quit.”
‘Coach quit. No way!’ “Seriously!? Coaching is his life.”
“Well after what the vice principle said to him about Jenny, I was surprised he lasted his last year. The guy pretty much told Coach that he was a horrible father and that
he needs to discipline Jenny more so that she will make better lifestyle choices.”
‘I’m surprised that Coach didn’t slug him.’ “Coach has some good self control; if it had been me, the vice would have been on the floor.”
“Oh believe me. Coach said he wanted to slug him, but he thought of it this way… if he leaves on his own terms he could always return after all the nonsense dies down. Only unless the vice principle is no longer at the school. Coach said if he had to see his face again he would…,” Jerry smirked and I knew exactly what would happen to the vice. “So now Coach, Mrs. Brown, and Lily are just living their lives in Northern California.”
“Right. How did Lily take all of the nonsense and change?” Remembering about my important little helper. ‘I wonder how big she is now?‘
“Well…Lily is now almost a teenager, so she was and is in her abnoxious stage of life. She complained about leaving, especially after Jenny had already left for Europe. She didn’t understand why her life had to end just beacause her stepsister’s did. Man she is a pain,” Ken was beginning to yawn. “Well Jerry do you want to give your input or…”
I could tell that they both were exhausted. I totally forgot that Ken also had to wake up, to get to LAX, early enough to pick us up. “Let’s finish tomorrow. I’m exhausted, and you both look awful. I guess you and Ken are using the other rooms, beacuse,” pointing down at the still totally passed out Jeremy, “he is out, and I have no intention of moving him. You?”
“Nah. Leave him there,” Ken said standing.
“Wow. Not caring about your new best bud,” Jerry jabbed at Ken who did not avoid it because he was so exhausted he couldn’t move fast enough.
“Ouch… I’m too tired to care. Let’s go to sleep. I need to look somewhat human by tomorrow afternoon,” Ken almost left the room. “See ya tomorrow George, or I guess later today.” Ken left to find his room.
“Yeah, see you, George. If I get a call from my boss and I have to be on shift tomorrow, I will stop by at night and recap things,” Jerry gave my shoulder a squeeze and he too left my room.
I thought I would lay there restless because of all the new knowledge I had gained, but instead my brain shut off and I was out.