Someone told me a long time ago that, ‘sometimes the hardest part isn't letting go but rather learning to start over,’ the person who made this quote was Nicole Sobon but the person who told me it was a school teacher. It took me years to figure out his reason for this quote. Why tell a little girl to let go of a life she barely made and start anew. But I'm ahead of myself, my story starts when I`m 18 about to finish my senior year...
Sweat dripped from my tan skin while I shuffled across the lush green grass that lay beneath me. Illinois wasn’t usually in the 90’s but for some reason this summer was unbearably hot.
I wasn`t known for much in my pathetic life. All I had of the past was a useless name and crime record that even the cops weren't aware of.
I luckily wasn’t homeless but some days made it feel like that. I was an orphan who was put on foster care, but after years of being in the program they finally took away the torcher of having me go to someone’s house and pretend to be loved and cared for. The only reason why people were so interested in me was for the high amounts of cash the government paid them.
I wasn’t exactly a pain in the neck but my mother paid a lot to make sure I was taken care of properly. I know an orphan is someone with no parents, but my situation was pretty much the same as an orphan except worse because I knew that there were at least 20 family members who didn’t want me, even though they didn’t know who I really was.
Sadly I have seen my mother and father but never really met them. The reason why I’m not with them is because when they were young in High School my mom had a boyfriend named Marty. She liked Marty but back then she was a strings free kind of girl. During most of the week she was Marty’s girlfriend, but for a few hours during those weeks she was Greg's lover. Greg of course is my dad but no one knew of these affairs.
It was the last year of High School and my mom figured out she was pregnant with me. She was horrified at the fact that soon everyone would figure out about her affairs so she decided to steal money from her parents safe and buy a train ticket to Indiana.
No one except my father and my mother’s best friend Natalie ever figured out about what happened. When she came back she finished school and got married to Marty, never telling a soul what she did those few months away from home.
My parents decided it was best to let Natalie choice my name and home so she thought it was best to leave me in Chicago Illinois, so their secret would be kept and so that my life would be safer from the judgmental family that I would have had to face in New York.
I learned all of this from Natalie a few years back when I had been in my first girl’s home. When I learned of my past I began to despise my family, but I hate them a whole lot more when I figured out I had to go to school with their freaking family who moved down here the year I turned 16.
My family was rich, selfish, snobs who cared only of themselves and no one else. It wasn’t like I dreamed of being rich but when you figured out you missed out on all that cash just because of someone else mistake it really ticks you off.
“Hey Jen,” he took a hold of my twigish arm and pinned me to a nearby tree. Short spiked up dirt hair, dirt eyes, and sadly my beautiful skin. This was my ex-boyfriend and the relationship ended but didn’t fully come to a close. He still wants me and in some ways I still want him but I won’t have to face those problems for long.
“Hey,” I dragged.
He eyed me up and down like a hawk examining his prey. I focused on his eyes that swirled with the lust he felt for me.
“Jen I was hoping to see you wandering around here. I was thinking,” that’s a shocker, “maybe you could come to my place and we can have a drink and maybe head up to my room for some exercise, don’t worry my parents won’t be back for a few hours so we can even use the hot tub if you want,” he whispered.
This wasn’t the first proposal of sex he had offered; actually it was weird when he didn’t propose this in a week time span. But I always backed away and said anything to get his grimy hands off me.
“Jennifer? Mark,” called out someone. Mark let go of me and raced off in the other direction from where the voice came.
I cocked my head to see my teacher Mr. Adams coming my way. He was in his mid-30 and he was quite attractive for his age. His dark brown hair was short and had a slight curl to it while his sapphire eyes exploded with burst of excitement and curiosity. He was above five foot which barely towered over me and he has an olive skin tone that made his appearance highly appealing.
As he reached me I noticed the concern stirring in his eyes. “Jennifer are you alright?”
“Yeah just dealing with stupid teenage boys,” I lied through my teeth. He was the only teacher ever in my life to care about my personal problems. All the others didn’t care about who we were or what would become of us, we could die for all they cared.
“Lying is a bad habit to start at this age Jennifer, “he lectured.
“So you teach as an English teacher but council your kids outside of school, no interest in being a therapist,” I replied trying to change the subject. He gave me a stern look and I flashed my eyes down to stare at the open tree roots.
“Jennifer if there is a problem you know I will help.” My eyes danced around the area but avoided contact with Mr. Adams.
“He was just being a stupid boy,” I whispered. I wish I could be honest with him but if I was he would call Mark’s parents and I would be stuck sitting in a room with people I couldn’t stand. I would have to listen to deals gone wrong and other junk.
He let out a defeated sigh and replied, “Fine I’ll drop it for now but in the meantime let’s go to lunch.”
“Try again,” he pressed.
“..and Heaven have mercy on us all - Presbyterians and Pagans alike - for we are all somehow dreadfully cracked about the head, and sadly need mending,” I read. “This book is ridiculous with this Herman Melville.”
“You don’t like it because you don’t understand it,” he said. I rolled my eyes in annoyance.
“Please I understand it completely it’s just it’s so stupid with the whale and everything,” I complained.
“I see your point but what is the quote trying to say,” he asked. I put the book down and faced my teachers challenging eyes.
I then picked back up the book and read it one more time in my head just to make sure I hit my observation spot on.
“It’s in a Christian viewpoint saying we have all sinned and we need mending to be fix, we're not perfect.”
I think you about got it,” he commented.
I place the book on the mahogany table and ask, “What’s the next book?” He cracks a smile and reached down into his brown paper bag and pulls out a stack of books.
“Were you expecting to see me today,” I question in wonder.
“Of course, you’re very easy to find. Anything with a view and a swing and you would most likely be there. Now go ahead pick one.” Was I that predictable? I loved the outdoor but how did he know about my passion for the park equipment that took me away just like a novel.
I decided not to get into the topic so I took ahold of the stack of books and scanned them in and through. Romeo and Juliet; to love stricken. A Tale of Two Cities; to slow at the beginning. The book that caught my eye was Anthem by Ayn Rand.
I held up the book and handed it to my teacher, “This one.”
“Anthem? I’m surprised you usually choose the most challenging novel or the longest,” he commented.
I had read the book before but the society seemed so much like ours except we had a choice to be the same.
“I just like the story.”
“I think you like it because of the truth behind it. You think that if the kids read this they will be shown the downfalls of being the same.” I stared at him with wondering eyes and a shiver raced up my spine. I didn’t know how but he was able to figure me out unlike the rest of them. Even when I am guarded he is still able to decipher what is wrong.
“So are you going to prom? It is your last and finally year to attend,” he asked. Prom, one of my dearest enemies. I couldn’t say that I didn’t like the prom but it was the dancing part that made me stay miles away from it.
“I don’t dance, I can’t dance,” I admitted. Before he could respond I felt a tingle in my pocket realizing my phone buzzed. It was a text from my group leader Katie asking me where I was. My eyes flicked up to the time slot and somehow it was 5:30 at night.
“Oh crap,” I whined.
“Late for dinner?” My eyes drew to his and for some reason as usual it felt like he knew I would be late.
“Come on I’ll drive you home.” The receipt had already been there a while ago so he threw down some cash and headed for the door while I was still gathering my stuff.
I dashed out the door and a muggy burst of over heated air hit my face. I didn’t see how in April it could be this hot but I should never be surprised by weather down here.
“Jennifer over here,” Mr. Adams called. I turned to see him already in his parked car waiting for me to join him.
I went over to the passenger side and dumped my stuff in the back and slid my seat belt over my waist and chest. The engine came to life and air conditioner spat out the fiery engine air.
The home was very close to my school and Mr. Adams home. We both knew of the school rules; no student driving in a teacher's car, no student over at a teachers house, and no seeing the student out of school so you could hang out. But we broke every one of those rules years ago when I was 9. He was teaching a kids English course and I decided to sign up and learn more about the novels that intrigued me. I don’t speak in school so he was always on my back trying to see if I understood what he was doing.
By the end of the course when it was a rainy afternoon and class ended, he was leaving the building when I suppose he saw me heading home in the rain with nothing but a t-shirt and a pair of ripped up jeans to keep me warm.
So he came up to me in his tiny car and asked if I need a ride and like the lazy girl I was, I simply nodded and joined him in his car. To be honest I was surprised I accepted and kept a relationship with him. But for some reason pushing him away was quite the challenge.
We came to the front of the small rottened brick home and I got out and grabbed my stuff. “See you tomorrow Mr. Adams, thanks again,” I called out.
© Copyright 2017 Amy Cook. All rights reserved.
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