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Jenny: An excerpt from a story
Posted by smalltownlady, Jan 9, 2012. 1034 views. ID = 5275


Posted by smalltownlady, Jan 9, 2012. 1034 views. ID = 5275
This post was written in 3 minutes.
This post is a Grab Bag which uses the following words: withholding, shriek, disintegrate
This post has been awarded 8 stars by 2 readers.

After what seemed like forever, Jenny’s dad came out of the house and got in the car. He didn’t speak or even look at Jenny. He just started the car and headed for the hospital.
“Dad, what’s happening?” said Jenny. “Mary Helen wouldn’t even talk to me. Is she o.k.? What happened last night anyway?”
“You really don’t know?” replied her father.
“No, no, I don’t know. I got here, at Mary Helen’s, just before I called you last night. Mary Helen wasn’t home yet and her folks asked me if I had seen her after the dance. I hadn’t seen her. She must have left before the dance was over because I didn’t see her as we were leaving. Brad and I didn’t go to Burger Shack, we just drove around awhile and then he brought me here.”
Jenny knew she was withholding a little information from her dad, but nothing that had any bearing on Mary Helen. She didn’t know how to tell him she was going steady with Brad when everything seemed so chaotic.
“Well,” said her father, “it seems that your friend and some other kids went out to the lake and had themselves a beer party. They started a bonfire and one of the rangers noticed it. When he went to check he saw the kids dancing around the fire and drinking beer and throwing beer cans everywhere. Apparently he called the local police and they came and broke up the party and took all the kids down to juvenile hall. It took the better part of the night for all the parents to be notified and to do all the necessary paperwork to release them to their parents’ custody. It’s good Mary Helen’s parents grounded her. I don’t want you to associate with her anymore. She’ll probably grow up and be fine. Nonetheless, this kind of behavior sometimes leads to much worse things. Jenny, you tell me the truth, have you ever been involved in a party like that?”
“No, Dad, I swear I haven’t. Brad doesn’t drink and Mary Helen’s crowd doesn’t want much to do with me since I’ve been seeing Brad.”
“How do you know Brad doesn’t drink?”
“Well, I’ve never seen him drink. I’ve never heard him say anything about drinking. It’s just never come up.”
“That’s good,” replied her dad. “You know how I feel about this. Sometimes it’s o.k. for adults to have a drink. And when I think you are responsible enough to handle it, I will serve you your first legal drink. Do you understand that?”
“Dad, I’m only 16. You can’t legally drink until you’re 21. Please don’t worry about it. I don’t drink.”
Her dad drove the car into the hospital parking lot. They locked the vehicle and made their way into the hospital. Dad stopped at the front desk to find out if Jenny’s mom was in still in the same room. They walked down the hospital corridor, past the men’s ward and into the area of private rooms. The door to Jean's room was closed. As her dad tried to push open the door, he was met by a nurse coming out.
“You need to wait out her, Les, the doctor is working on your wife right now. He’ll talk to you in a few minutes.” The nurse closed the door abruptly right in Les’s face.
“Now what?” muttered Jenny’s father.
“What is it, Dad?”
“I don’t know, Jenny. The nurse said we couldn’t go in right now, that the doctor was working on your mother.”
“What’s he doing?”
“I don’t know.” Les’ voice was shaking.
Jenny suddenly felt very cold and noticed that her hands were sweating profusely. Instinctively she reached for her father’s arm and he drew her close to him. Neither of them spoke.
Tick, tock, tick, tock, the clock on the hospital wall was the only sound in the deserted hallway. Les and Jenny looked at the clock. Eight forty-eight it read. The second hand ticked, tocked around a full circle. Eight forty-nine. Finally, at nine oh five, the doctor came out of the room. He shook Les’s hand.
“We can talk in this next room, no one is in there.”
The doctor led Jenny and Les into an empty hospital room and invited them to sit. The doctor sat down on the edge of the bed and looked Les straight in the eyes.
“Jean just had a second heart attack, Les. I’m sorry. It was fatal. I couldn’t bring her back.”
The doctor paused, waiting for a response. Neither Les nor Jenny said a word. Jenny felt herself growing colder, trying to process what the doctor had said.
“Is my mother dead?” she asked.
“I’m sorry,” said the doctor.
Jenny could feel herself disintegrate.
She heard a shriek before she realized it was herself screaming, “My mom, my mom. . . . .no. She can’t be dead.”
Her whole body shook as she sobbed uncontrollably. She couldn’t talk. In her head she saw her mom, her dad, Brad, Mary Helen. She was dimly aware of the events of last night’s dance. She remembered how Brad wanted to make love to her. She suddenly hated him. She should have spent the night with her mother. Now her mom was gone. Who could she talk to? Who was going to help Jenny figure out her life? Finally she was able to draw a breath and that’s when she looked up at her dad. His face was twisted in pain and his eyes were full of tears.
“Jenny, Jenny, pull yourself together, girl. We’ll get through this.”

Copyright 2012 smalltownlady. All rights reserved. has been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work. For permission to reprint this item, please contact the author.

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