The sky dimmed as the setting sun dropped behind the bare trees. I curled up in my bed, hugging a pillow that lay uncomfortably beneath my head. As I shifted it, I began to rethink the moments that
led up to my imprisonment. The night I first let him touch me… The night I had found out I was carrying his child.
It's December, and I still haven’t told much of anyone--neither has my mom. I can remember her reaction when I told her… She screamed and cried, as if her shrill voice could steal the undeveloped
child from my tiny womb--as if her tumultuous sobbing could take back the touch, the feel of Jesse astride me, touching me, showing me how love could transcend the physical senses.
He even visited that evening, only a few minutes after I confessed to her. She answered the door, squinting her puffy, pink eyes when he asked to see me.
“I heard that she got sick at school,” he said, brushing his charcoal colored hair out of his eyes. “Can I see her?”
“You bastard!” she yelled.
Then, as if something unseen took hold of her, she lunged at him. My mother began swatting and swinging, and Jesse could do nothing but scrunch up his shoulders and shy away.
I shudder when thinking about it… It’s cold tonight, but nothing could be nearly as cold as that memory… Whenever I sleep now, I dream of that night--that moment…
The look on my father’s face was one of nonchalance. He didn’t seem to care one way or another, even though my mother stood beside him, bawling.
No matter how sincere my apology had sounded--no matter how many times I gave that apology--nothing would take away my mother’s tears.
She turned Jesse away, and she forbade us to see one another. After a week of Jesse demanding to see me, my mother realized how ridiculous it was to keep him away. So, she lets us see each other
but not unsupervised.
I’ve been so lonely since November--since that day… But December may prove to be the renaissance of my self discovery.
In her befuddling anger, my mother forgot to take away my dad’s gift--the cell phone.
Jesse and I have been texting each other nonstop since the incident. And now that school is out for the holidays, we’ve been texting each other all the more. Today, however, was different. We only
texted one another once.
---> 6:55 P.M. I’m outside
<--- 6:56 P.M. Alright, I’m coming
I opened the window and very carefully, I stepped out onto the roof. I crept across the blackened eaves and climbed down to where the lowest point reached the highest tuft of land. There was a tree
at the corner of the roof; I grabbed onto a branch and climbed my way down to Jesse.
Hm… In a few months, I won’t be able to do any of this anymore.
He held onto my waist and helped me down from the tree. Minutely, we smiled at each other. Then, he took my hand, and we walked down the street.
It was cold and my fingers were beginning to go numb. Jesse lifted my hand to his warm lips and kissed. I blushed… The feel of his lips was a distant memory which was quickly becoming familiar
“Let’s stop here," Jesse said, sitting down in the middle of the street.
I smiled faintly and followed his lead. Most people around were gone away for the holidays; so, it was quiet out here. Whenever a slight breeze passed through the trees, leaves billowed through the
chilled air and gently came crashing down upon the frozen street.
Jesse pulled off his jacket and spread it out behind me. I slowly reclined onto the chilled asphalt, and Jesse rested his head next to mine. We hadn’t been alone in so long that I had forgotten
what it was like to feel smitten by the sweet, impending words waiting to drip from the brim of his lips.
I waited for him to say something--anything. But, he said nothing. So likewise, I followed suit. For a long while, we laid on our backs in the middle of the frozen street, listening to the
stillness around us.
Then all of a sudden, he rolled over onto his side and very subtly, he slipped his hand under my shirt. His cold fingers moved delicately across the surface of my stomach.
Taken aback, I went still for a moment. Then, I put my rigid fingers upon his, and very thoughtfully, I looked across at him. He stared pensively at the nice sized lump our fingers and hands
created underneath my shirt.
“This is surreal, right?”
He didn’t answer. And for a while, he just continued to stare across at our fingers, clasped together atop my stomach.
“What do you mean by that?”
I struggled to find an answer.
“I mean--like--it just feels strange.”
I paused, anticipating a response from him; and when he didn’t answer, I continued rambling.
“I wish you were there with me more often… There’s just--things I can’t talk about with my mother; I know she’s maybe the best person to talk to about this, but I don’t need a know-it-all… I need
someone who’ll empathize with me--I'm scared.”
Jesse squeezed my hand a bit tighter.
“Sometimes, I just think--I wish I hadn’t...”
“--hadn’t let your guard down…?”
“It’s just, sometimes, I wish I didn’t allow you get so close to me.”
Everything went silent for a moment. I bit my lip and prepared to defend myself.
“I don’t blame you for feeling that way. It’s both our faults. But--this child is an extension of me… and, I can’t think of abandoning either of you. Just imagine--there’s something just like me
growing inside of you right now… I can’t fathom it.”
I quietly turned my head away. Silence ensued.
We lay there for minutes, hours maybe--I couldn’t tell--until my body began to take on the temperature of the rigid street.
After a while, Jesse sat up slowly and leaned back onto his elbows.
“I should really get you back home before your mother notices you’re gone.”
I opened my eyes and winced, then sat up slowly.
“I really don’t care if she does.”
“It’d be harder for me to see you again--”
I nodded and pressed my palms against the frozen asphalt for leverage.
Jesse stood first and then he helped me up.
For a long while, he just looked at me; and having nothing to say, I stared back. Then, he took my hand and pulled me closer to his side.
You’re really cold,” he said, attempting to massage the frigidity out of my narrow fingers.
I said pursed my lips together tightly, and enjoyed the feel of his hands upon mine. He pulled me to himself and held me under his arm.
The walk back home was shorter than the walk away from it. But, I cherished every second I got to spend close to Jesse, touching his face and feeling his heart beat through the thin fabric of his
It was a task to get back up to my room, but Jesse had it all figured out. He disappeared into the fog and left me waiting at the side of the house.
When he returned, he had a fairly large garden ladder underneath his arm. It was white and antiquated, and it didn’t look like anyone had been using it for a long while: months, years even.
“Where did you get that?” I asked, hoping that he hadn’t lifted it from someone else’s property.
“I found it.”
“In someone’s yard?”
Jesse winced and shot a hardened glance at me.
“No. I found it in the woods back there… I remember it from the first time I snuck out of your bedroom. I took a shortcut to school and I came across this thing--Now, are you gonna climb it? Or,
are you gonna attempt scaling the house on your own?” he inquired cynically.
I bit my lip and stepped aside.
He positioned the ladder carefully against the side of the house. Then, he took my hand and held my waist as I attempted to ascend upward.
The roof was a little tricky. It was covered in frost and tiny droplets of mist. I slipped and landed on my hands and knees.
Minutely, there was this sickly realization that I could have fallen--and that I had fallen. But once I regained my footing, I took a deep breath and continued my climb up to the room window.
“You alright up there?” Jesse called, noting my slight blunder.
I struggled to get the window fully open and surmised that it was frozen stuck.
“Yea,” I called back, steadily tugging on the window. “Everything’s fine--”
“Why aren’t you in yet?”
“The window’s stuck,” I replied.
Jesse climbed up the dewy trellis and met me at the window. He took a lighter out of his back pocket and placed the flame to the frozen metal lining surrounding the window. Then, he pushed up on
the window and it slid open.
“Stay with me tonight?” I asked after climbing in.
“I want to, but--”
“I don’t know…”
“You’re coming over tomorrow anyway, right?”
“Of course I am--”
“Then you should stay--”
“But doesn’t your mother come to check on you during the night? You don’t have locks on your door anymore… What if she catches me?”
I bit my bottom lip and looked down at my hands.
“Move over,” Jesse said, climbing through.
“Ah! So, you’re staying!”
“I guess so,” he said, brushing a few falling wisps of hair back behind my ear. "I guess so."
© Copyright 2016 Jennifer Brighton. All rights reserved.