The morning came, and Jesse snuck
out just before sunrise. I got dressed for school; and very
delicately, I wrapped a green scarf around my sinewy throat. My
mother called me downstairs.
When our eyes connected, I could
see a burning question resting upon her lips. She immediately
expected something. And like a hawk, she cued in on the scarf
wrapped so meticulously about my neck.
"You know…" she said, putting an
inquisitive finger to her bottom lip, "I haven't seen that thing
since I bought it for you two years ago."
"Well… It's cold out there, mom. I
need something around my neck to keep me warm," I
"That's true, but… I usually have
to beg you to wear one. And even then, you never
"Well, what can I say?
I guess I'm just taking your advice this time," I said, smiling
"Alright, cut the act," she said,
folding her arms. "What did you do?"
"Do? I didn't do
"Give me that scarf," she
demanded, holding out her hand.
"Mom, I don't have time for this!
I'm gonna be late for school," I whined.
"Jennifer… give me the
I looked up into her eyes; the
big, brown orbs danced around angrily. I reluctantly untied the
scarf and handed it to my mother. Then, I solemnly awaited her
My hair fell down over my
shoulders, shielding my neck.
"Hm… I could've sworn…" she said,
distantly inspecting the right side of my neck--the wrong side.
"Go on out to the car…. You're gonna be late for class."
I quickly picked up my book bag
and headed to the car. That was close… it was too close. I put my
scarf back on and waited for my mother.
"Have fun at school," she said,
stopping in front of the building.
"I will," I said, unbuckling my
"Wait a second," she said,
reaching her hands out towards me. "Your collar is
"No, I can fix it!"
"Nonsense," she said, quickly
folding it down. And then, she gasped… I closed my eyes tightly
and felt her fold down the scarf.
"Jenni… what in
"Oh my god, Jennifer…!" she said
in a quivering and disturbed voice. "A hickey…? You're letting
him give you hickeys?!"
"Jennifer!!" she screamed, pushing
the scarf down further. "It's purple! Why is it so
"Because mom, I
She banged her hands on the
dashboard and then rested her head upon the steering
"Mom… I didn't mean for it to
"Are you having sex with this
"I said--" she hesitated. "Are you
having sex… with this boy?"
I gritted my teeth… My mom
wanted the truth, but that's not what she
needed… I could see that… I opened my mouth, and I
"No…" I whispered.
She exhaled heavily and placed a
hand to her worried brow. "So, you're just experimenting with him
a little… with kissing…?"
"Yes…" I said
"Nothing more than
I lied to my mother with a
straight face, and it hurt to see her relieved expression. But, I
couldn't show any remorse or guilt, lest she realize that I had
"I'm sorry, mom…" I said, jaded
eyes filling with mist.
"No, you shouldn't be," she said,
covering my neck with the scarf again. "It's my fault… We should
I hung my head in shame and rubbed
my arm feverishly. "I guess I'll see you after school?" I said,
refusing to make direct eye contact.
"We'll continue this at home…"
I closed my eyes tightly and
stepped out of the car. Something within me knew that this
wouldn't end well. My mother never acted
coolly, well, not unless she was really thinking hard about
something. I refrained from looking behind me when walking into
the building. And soon, I heard her pull off.