Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Unravel

What I remember most about Jenny is her long brown hair curled by hot rollers and trailing half way down her back. She was tall with alabaster skin.

Our dads' were both professors at the university. We both had little brothers. She had an enormous white cat named Shmoo. And a piano and a swimming pool. Her family had moved from Michigan the year before. She knew what it was like to be the new girl.

It was mid-August when I went to her house that very first time. Our mom's had a mutual friend. We would both be starting seventh grade and they thought we should meet. I was painfully shy.

We made awkward conversations that were mostly orchestrated by the adults around us. We were both in Ms. Emery's second hour Language Arts. Our last names started with W and she was assigned the seat in front of mine.

Jenny was a talented violin player and pianist and had a beautiful canopy bed. Her room and her house were always immaculate. Her family was quiet and formal. 

I attempted to play clarinet though it left me frustrated and confused. I had generic looking bunk beds with mismatched bedding. My family was loud and laid back.

Jenny already had a best friend. Another tall, quiet girl named Rene who I had never met. She had  Rapunzelesque  hair which fanned across her back and fell well past her hips. She was a talented pianist and a member of the school orchestra. According to Jenny, she was fiercely competitive. 

I don't imagine Rene liked me much. I never meant to steal her best friend. Rene was diagnosed with Leukemia in high school.  She died before I ever had a chance to meet her.

And yet somehow slowly, cautiously Jenny and I began to build a friendship. Riding the bus downtown after school so we could drool over Esprit outfits and Merona shirts. Shopping trips to the city where we'd spend hours in Casual Corner as her mom modeled hundreds of navy blue suits that looked exactly the same and asked us.

Church lock-ins, canoe trips. That year in junior high when we gifted each other peach sweats with matching screen printed bears for Christmas. It was a pubic declaration of our bestfriendness. 

I was mortified when a note I wrote her was confiscated by the tyrannical Language Arts teacher and posted on the bulletin board for all to read. Luckily we had devised a clever code and didn't use real names.

Looking back there was no single moment that our friendship ended. We didn't fall for the same boy or stoop to mean girl tactics.

One day it just wasn't.

As I started to branch out and make more friends, Jenny stayed in the shadows. She was sweet, kind and well liked. The girl you'd want to share a locker with or have as a lab partner. She was a one-on-one friend and I was more of a run with a group person.

By the time we were in high school we didn't have any of the same classes. We had open campus lunch and invited her often but Jenny preferred to clutch her brown wrinkled lunch sack & nibble in the quiet of the library or the orchestra room. 

I think that is when she started to unravel.




20 comments:

www.icescreammama.com said...

oh jenny!! :(
totally engaging and genuine story of an unlikely friendship coming together and then coming apart. great read.

zoe said...

Makes me want to know more. Well done!

psychochef said...

This story drew me in. I like how all of the small details tell a multitude of stories. The ending leaves me very curious to know what happened to Jenny.

Karen

Natalie DeYoung said...

Oh my. This did not go as I expected. Although, neither does friendship, I guess. I want to know what happened to her.

Robbie K said...

Thanks so much everyone. There will be a Part 2 for sure...possibly part 3.

Sarah said...

I, too cant wait for part 2!

Gina said...

Oh! That last sentence. Hurry please!

TMW Hickman said...

Unravel is such a weighted word--so many possibilities.

More, please!

TriGirl said...

Jenny became unraveled? Holy cow. Yup, waiting for part 2.

Christie Tate said...

I can't wait to hear part 2. Love the references to Esprit and the time period.

Farrah said...

Isn't it interesting how sometimes friendships just cease to be? I am currently witnessing the death of one of my own right now.

And excellent storytelling my friend! I want to know more!

Linda Roy said...

Wow. Looking forward to part 2.

Karen P said...

Wow...and what happened to her?

Janelle said...

Well that is foreboding...

I had two best friends in school who eventually became best friends with each other and... demoted me, is the best way I can put it. Friendship politics (>_<)

SouthMainMuse said...

Great writing as always Robbie. I love the references. Casual Corner, Espirit. I salivated over those canopy beds. I had a simple twin. Want to hear more.

Dana Hemelt said...

Sometimes friendships just run their course. Please tell us how Jenny unraveled - that was a very ominous ending.

Bill Dameron said...

I did not realize this was fiction until the last sentence. Is it? Such wonderful details and so original.

Ashley Abele said...

Oh, what a great piece of writing. I was mad when it ended! Looking forward to reading more...

theinnerzone said...

This brought back so many memories of my childhood! Bitter-sweet, encapsulated in time when we are making choices, forming friendships and letting go of ones who wish to drift. Beautiful post!

Robbie K said...

Thanks & this isn't fiction. More to come soon.