JENNY

I found an old box of pictures burried under my bed.  In the pile was a picture of a girl I used to know.  Her name is Jenny.  I haven’t spoken to her in 7 years.  I’d like to tell you about her…

I was a freshmen at Keene State College when I met her.  18 years old.  She was an RA on the floor above me.  She was a junior.  20 yrs old.

The first few times I spoke to her it was stupid stuff, “How do I get to Carle Hall?  or “Where is the science building?”

Her looks never really blew me away.  She was by no means un attractive, but she wasn’t someone you’d call a “knockout”  Kinda plain looking.  If there was ever a girl next door type it was Jenny.  She was tall, blond, skinny, and she wore glasses.  She dressed mostly in jeans and t-shirts.  She wore overalls alot.

She made friends with some of her residents.  They looked up to her and went to her for advice.  I was friends with some of these girls so occasionally I’d be in the same place as Jenny.  Whether it be the dining hall or some sort of dorm function.

Like I said I never really talked to her.  She was just kinda there to me.  But I do remember being a bit intrigued by her.  She was at Keene pursuing a teaching degree.  She was minoring in German.  Jenny was very outspoken… in a good way.  She said whatever was on her mind whenever she felt like it.  Occasionally if something pissed her off she’d swear in German.  That was interesting to me. 

A friend of mine from Keene, Jim, described her as having “the glow”  I guess you would call it that love of life.  People seemed to gravitate toward her.  But not me so much.  I kinda just watched.  I didn’t go out of my way to see her or speak to her.  I didn’t think about her when she wasn’t around.  But when she was around, I paid attention.

To Jenny I’m sure I was just a guy who hung out with some of the girls on her floor.  Kinda quiet.  Who knows, maybe she thought I was gay or a creep.

Things changed one Saturday night when Tai and I came back from a party.  Jenny was working the desk at our dorm.  As usual she was surrounded by the girls on her floor. Our friends.

Tai and I walked  to the desk and began to chat with everyone.  Jenny was in the middle of a story about one of her friends who was dating a frat brother.  Apparently the guy was a huge asshole and not even that cute.  Jenny couldn’t understand what her friend saw in this jerk.  For the 1st time since I’d been at college I decided to “be Walt”.

As causal as could be I said, “Maybe she’s with him because he’s got a big dick?”

The girls went silent.  They gazed at me as if I was crazy.  Tai began to laugh but as soon as he saw the girls reaction he shut right up.  Jenny looked at me strangely.

“What?” she said.

I was not ready to let up.  I’d had a few drinks in me I suppose.

“Well if he’s a jerk, and he’s ugly, he obviously has a big dick…Unless your friends a retard and she likes ugly assholes.”

Jenny just looked at me.  Studying me.  She had a half smile on her face.  Then she began to chuckle.

“Yeah that must be it” she said half laughing. 

She glanced at me for a second longer and began to talk to the girls again.  After a few more minutes Tai and I decided to go back to our room.  We said our goodbyes and shuffled off.

As we turned the corner to go to our room I stopped at the soda machine.  That’s when I heard Jenny say it.  I’ll never forget it.  She was talking to a girl named Kelly and said, “How ’bout that comment from Walt”…( she paused for a moment )…”I think I love him”

When Jenny said “I think I love him”  I know she didn’t mean she “LOVED” me.  I think she simply meant she found me interesting or was amused at my smart ass comment about her friend.  Regardless of motive, when I heard her say that, for some reason or another my senses were heightened…

Over the next few weeks I made it a point to talk to Jenny whenever I saw her.  Even if we were just passing each other on campus I made sure stop and say “hello”.  She smiled every time she saw me and I liked that.

Whenever we were hanging out in groups we always seemed to end up sitting next to each other.  If there was an empty seat next to her I would casually sit in it.  Tai, who seemed to sense that something “different” might be going on, always seemed to leave the seat empty next to Jenny if he arrived at the table first.

Whenever I told stories to the group about my friends back home Jenny always asked the most questions.  Whenever I cracked jokes at other peoples expense Jenny laughed loudest.

But through all this harmless flirting nothing substantial ever happened.  I didn’t ask her out on dates, I didn’t call her on the phone, I didn’t walk her to class.  And she did none of those things to me.  We never really made it a point to hang out but when we did end up sharing the same space it was as though we were the only people in the room.

To be quite honest, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the whole thing.  I wasn’t sure if I liked her.  I wasn’t sure is she liked me.  I didn’t know if I enjoyed spending time with her because she paid attention to me or if I was starting to develop “feelings” for her.

I always considered myself socially smart.  But when it comes to this sort of stuff I’ll be the first to admit how clueless I really am.  In my mind, if Jenny and I were supposed to be more than friends, then it would simply just happen.  And one night, it did…..

Jenny was having “movie night” in her dorm room.  She was inviting a few of her residents that she was closest too, and luckily, Tai and I received an invite.

As we all staked out spots in Jenny’s small dorm room I made it a point to grab a spot on the couch.  Mainly for comfort purposes.  People jumped on her bed, and just piled on to the floor.  A girl named Meg was about to sit on the couch next to me when Jenny snapped “No that’s my seat!”  Even typing this I remember the lump in my throat when she said that.

We were watching a bootlegged copy of Dangerous Minds.  Jenny and I were sharing a couch but we may as well have been strangers in a movie theater.  Then in the middle of the movie she reached onto her bed, grabbed a pillow, put it in my lap, and laid down.  Before she did she said “Do you mind?”  As if this stuff happens all the time I simply shrugged my shoulders and pretended to be engrossed in the movie.

I had a strange feeling in my stomach the whole time she laid there.  Occasionally I looked down.  Was I supposed to do something?  Was she just trying to be comfortable?  Did she want me to do something?

I decided to try something.  I nonchalantly put my arm over hers  I was kinda resting my hand in front of her.  Acting as if this was completely accidental I whispered “oh sorry” and I began to move my hand away.  But she grabbed it…and held it.

And at that moment, with that simple gesture, everything changed.

There was no more uncertainty about my feelings toward Jenny…and I was scared shitless.

So it was official.  I had genuine feelings for Jenny.  The pot that had been simmering for a month finally came to a boil after “movie night”.  Tai was the first person I told.  His response: “No shit”

This was new territory for me.  Granted, I’d had crushes before, but everything about this felt different.  When Jenny was around me everything seemed to glow.  I know it sounds a bit cliche, but when I was with her I was on fire.

You could say Jenny and I were pretty much inseparable. ( insert forrest gump references here )  We tried our hardest to eat lunches together.  We always made it a point to have dinner together in the dining hall.  And yes, we spent our nights together as well.

At first Jenny and I would simply hang out at night then retreat back to our separate dorm rooms.  One night, her, Tai and I were watching a movie.  When the movie was over she got up to leave.  “I don’t wanna go” she said.  “Well, you can stay here”   I responded.  Without hesitation Jenny said “Ok”

I didn’t really expect her to say Yes.  But I was glad she did.  I asked Tai if he minded.  Of course he didn’t.  And even if he did I don’t think he would of told me.  He knew how happy I was.

As much time as Jenny and I spent together we never had “The Talk”.  I never told her in words how I felt and she said nothing either.  I never felt like I had to, and I guess she felt the same.  The funny thing is, I didn’t really think about it.  I never sat up at night wondering, ‘should I tell Jenny how I feel’

Everything was working out great.  It was a great big roller coaster and I don’t remember the last time my life was so exciting.  Then, about 3 weeks into this grand adventure, Jenny told me about Jason.

Jason had been Jenny’s boyfriend her freshmen and sophomore years of college.  At the end of sophomore year Jason left for South America to study abroad.  Before he left he and Jenny broke up.  They had both decided it was the right thing to do.  When Jenny told me about him she made it clear they were “done”  I did the math in my head:  They’d been broken up 3 months before she met me.

Quite honestly I was fine with the whole thing.  Jenny was an honest person and this was something about her life I suppose I needed to know.  Jason was coming home around Christmas time and Jenny did have plans to see him.  Truth be told I was fine with that as well.  Maybe I was too young and naive, or just plain doped up on love to be alarmed by this.  After the conversation I told Jenny I was glad she told me about him.  Then I kinda just forgot about it.  That is until I mentioned it to Tai….

Tai, who had pretty much been my wingman for this whole thing, definitely put up a caution flag after I told him about Jason.  He said it could very well be no big deal.  But 2 years is a long time for a couple to be together.  Tai’s theory was, things were all fine and dandy now while Jenny and Jason were thousands of miles apart.  But what happens when they share the same space again.  Thinking back on it, Tai was definitely making a valid point.  But back then, when I was living it, I wanted to strangle him for making me worry.

Aside from “the Jason thing”, life with Jenny remained on the up and up.  We did some great things that I can’t believe I did.  Like waking up a 5am, taking a bus 2hours to some state park and doing a “forest clean up”  It was a volunteer thing that Jenny suckered me in to, but honestly, at the time, I was happy to do it.  We used to walk to the movies alot.  One time, after we got out of the theater it was pouring rain.  The sidewalks were flooded.  Jenny, half joking I think, said “If you were a gentlemen you’d carry me back to campus.”  I gave her piggy back the whole way.

When I left for Keene in August I thought how cool it was gonna be come December to have a whole month off from school.  But as Christmas break approached I was kinda sad about being apart from Jenny for a month.  Yup, it was a crazy crazy time for me.

While home on break I told everyone about her.  Some people thought it was very odd that I was so hung up on a girl.  Truth be told I never had been before so it was only natural I wanted to talk all about it.

The first week I was home Jenny and I would speak on the phone every night.  The second week we’d talk every few days.  Then as Christmas approached we kept playing phone tag.  After Christmas she stopped calling.  When I would call her she didn’t answer the phone.  I’m not gonna lie, I was a bit worried.

Shortly after New Years, 3 weeks before the start of the spring semester, I got a letter in the mail.  It said what I already knew in my heart:

Jenny and Jason were getting back together.

I remember reading the letter standing in my kitchen.  I read it 3 times before I moved.  No matter which way I read it the message was clear; Jenny and Jason were getting back together.

Don’t get me wrong.  The letter, considering what kind of letter it was, was heartfelt.  Jenny apologized a hundred times.  She said she never expected this to happen.  She said hurting me was never her intention.  She tried to avoid all this but she can’t help the way she feels…blah blah blah.

When I told Tai about it he wasn’t surprised.  What ticked him the most was that she did this all in a letter and didn’t have the decency to call me.  On the surface I agreed with him.  But that part didn’t really bother me.  Truth be told, if the shoe was on the other foot, I would of sent a letter as well.

Before I got the letter I couldn’t wait to go back to Keene.  I was looking forward to the spring semester the way elementary school kids look forward to summer vacation.  But in the span of 15 minutes, the time it took me to read that letter 3 times, the last place on earth I wanted to be was Keene State College…

I spent the last few weeks of winter break drinking, going to the movies, and trying my hardest to forget that Jenny existed.  I believe the exact day I started to feel a bit better about the whole thing my father was loading his car getting ready to take me back.

I felt like I ate a brick.  I had no appetite, I was nervous, I looked like hell.  To put it simply I was a wreck.

I hid in my dorm room the whole day.  Just kinda listening to music and laying in my bed.  When Tai went up to Jenny’s floor to see the girls, he knew better than to ask me to come along.

That night before Tai and I turned in he said something to me: “I met Jason”

The brick that was in my stomach earlier suddenly came back.  I tried my hardest to ignore the comment and say nothing, but I had to ask, “What’s he like?”

“Ehh, he’s a douche-bag” Tai said casually.

Tai could of met the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ up there, or his boyhood hero Walter Peyton.  Regardless, he was still gonna tell me what I needed to hear at  that moment.

I turned over and went to bed.  Thinking of Jenny and her douche-bag boyfriend Jason.

For the first few weeks of Spring Semester I did a marvelous job of avoiding her.  I didn’t bump into her once.  Unfortunately, part of avoiding Jenny met avoiding the girls on her floor who I had become pretty good friends with.  But I would see them in the dining hall or at parties.  Besides, they knew the situation and they seemed to understand.

But Keene’s a small little school.  Bumping into Jenny was unavoidable.  I was coming out of the bathroom and she was walking down MY hall with Jason.  When I saw her my insides went bonkers.  I just hoped to maintain my composure on the outside.

“Hey Walt” she said casually

“What’s up” I said back.

And we both just kept walking.  It was quick and pointless.  But not painless.  It ruined my whole day.

Besides that little encounter Jenny and I rarely saw each other.  Occasionally I’d see her in the dining hall or across campus walking.  She was always with him.  It was my guess she was trying as hard to avoid me as I was her.

One night we had a fire drill.  Our dorm was evacuated.  We were all standing out in front of the building freezing our asses off.  I was standing with Tai.  He was looking over my shoulder.  A confused look suddenly came over him.  I turned and saw, of course, Jenny and Jason.  And it was suddenly clear why Tai had the look on his face.  Jason was wearing MY UCONN sweatpants that I’d left in Jenny’s room.  They were easily recognizable as they had rips in both knees.  At that point I could only shake my head and laugh.

Over the next few weeks things in my life got really really hectic.  My Grandfather passed away, Tai pledged a fraternity and then had to drop out of school for financial reasons.

When I came  back to Keene after the funeral I came back without Tai.  He had been with me through this whole Jenny mess.  I honestly didn’t know how I was gonna survive without him…..But, I managed.

I spent my weeks living a very non college life.  I went to class, and I went to the dining halls by day, and by night I would rent movies and talk on the phone.  Weekends I would travel to Boston or UCONN to visit my friends at their college’s.  My body was living at Keene but my mind was always someplace else.

One night I was sitting in my room playing solitaire on the computer.  There was a knock at my door.  I assumed it was Tai since he was on his way up from CT to visit.  “Come in” I yelled.  But Tai did not come in….it was Jenny.

“Hi” she said quietly.

I could barely look at her.  I was just starting to feel better about stuff.  Having her in my room, hearing her voice, was bringing everything back.

“Hey” I said back.  And then….there was silence.  Awful, awful silence.

I just stared blankly at my computer screen.  Then she spoke again.

“Do you miss me?” she said almost under her breath.

I wanted to say “Fuck off” or “Get the hell outta here!”   I couldn’t believe she had the nerve to ask that.  Of the million things I wanted to say, I could only muster up one little word:

“Yes”

After a few seconds I heard my door close.  She was gone.  I thought I was starting to feel better about everything, but Jenny’s unannounced visit proved how wrong I really was. 

I’ve never been a very violent or angry person, but at that moment I was so full of rage I did something I rarely do, I swung my arm at a glass full of pens that sat on my desk.  The glass flew across the room, hit a poster on the wall, shattered, knocked the poster down, and it all came crashing to the floor.  Pens and glass were everywhere.  And then Tai came in.

“I just passed Jenny in the hall”

I said nothing.  I didn’t even look at him.  He said nothing either.  He was obviously surveying the disaster that had become my dorm room.

“I brought a movie” Tai said casually as he stepped over glass and pens.

That was pretty much it for me and Jenny that year.  We had no more encounters after the incident in my room.  Between final exams and celebrating the various spring weekends at UCONN or The Boston Schools, things went by nice and fast.

Summer brought on a great healing process.  I know I couldn’t truly forget Jenny while I was living in New Hampshire.  Being home everyday is just what I needed.  I spent the summer partying, going to concerts, sleeping late, and enjoying my friends.

When I returned to Keene in the fall I felt like a new man.  I wasn’t afraid to see Jenny.   I was actually looking forward to school again.

One of my first stops on campus was to make peace with the girls from Jenny’s floor.  I had become pretty good friends with most of them but after Jenny and I had our falling out I kinda ignored them a little.  The whole guilty by association thing.

They welcomed me back with open arms.  We made the small talk, “How was your summer”  “What are your classes like” Yadda Yadda Yadda.

After the small talk Beth broke the ice:  “Have you talked with Jenny at all?”

“No” I said as casually as I could.  Like it was no big deal.  And quite honestly, it wasn’t.  That is until Beth made her next comment.

“So you didn’t hear about her and Jason?”

“No” i said, but I was ready for it.  I figured one of 2 things, they were engaged or she was pregnant.

But Beth said nothing of the sort:

“They broke up”

And at that moment…..Time stood still.

My initial reaction to the news of Jenny and Jason’s demise, was, in hindsight, an unhealthy one.

When Beth broke the story to me I acted as if it was no big deal.  But on the inside I was ecstatic.  Images and ideas were rumbling through my brain.  I figured it’d only be a matter of days before everything with Jenny was back to normal.  Things would be the way they were last year before HE came back.

I wasn’t thinking about the past 7 months and how much shit I went through.  I’ll admit there were times if I wasn’t missing Jenny I was hating her.  But hearing the news erased the sour taste in my mouth.  Anger and hatred were slowly being replaced with a warm fuzzy glow.

According to Beth, Jenny and Jason wanted different things.  Jenny wanted to graduate in the spring and get a teaching job in New Hampshire the following fall.  Jason wanted to travel the world and possibly return to South America.  It the end they decided to pursue their own dreams and take separate paths.  Which, as far as I was concerned, left the door open for me.

I’m not gonna lie, I fully expected Jenny to call me that nite or stop by my dorm to deliver the news.  But she didn’t.  Maybe tomorrow?  But nothing.  Eventually days turned to weeks.  No phone calls, no dorm visits.  Nothing.  After everything we’d gone through I couldn’t  bring myself to go to her.  After all, she ended us when she chose Jason.  It was up to her to come back to me.

Don’t get me wrong.  I did see Jenny on campus.  But it was never anything more than a “How’s it going”  Our dramatic reunion was not taking place.  After about a month I came to a realization:  Jenny was not coming back.  I guess she didn’t want to be with me.  Tai figured she was all busted up over Jason and most likely wanted to enjoy single life and be free.

I agreed with him.  I decided to put the idea of Walt and Jenny away and concentrate on enjoying the college life.  And then, one night, when all hope seemed lost, she came to my room.

She said she just wanted to say “Hi”  We made small talk for a bit.  I don’t think I could even hear myself talk or hear her words.  There was an uncomfortable weight in the room and neither of us could ignore it.  After a few awkward silences Jenny asked an important question:

“Do you hate me?”

And I was going to be honest: “No”

But I had a question of my own: “Where’ve you been for the last month?”

“I was afraid to talk to you.  I know I hurt you and I figured you hated me”

I felt like she was groveling.  Finally Jenny was pushed up against the wall.  She was trying to open up.  I thought about letting her stew in her juices but it just didn’t seem right.

“I’m fine” was all I could say.

“Wanna go for a walk?” she asked

Of course I did.

Jenny and I literally walked and talked all night.  We talked about everything; last year, Jason, breaking up with Jason, our summers, everything.

We ended up in front of her dorm around 5 in the morning.  As were were saying our “goodnights”, the exact thing I’d expected to happen all night happened.  We kissed….And I felt… nothing.

Last year kissing Jenny always felt right.  Every time felt like the first time.  I remember strange things happening:  Goosebumps, chills, a odd, nice feeling in my stomach.  I guess you would call it Fireworks every time.  But now, one year later, I felt nothing.  Nothing good, nothing bad.

It doesn’t matter what your mind is thinking.  The body doesn’t lie.  For months I’d thought about kissing Jenny again, but now that it finally happened….there were no more fireworks.

I knew she must of sensed it to.  Something good and something special that had always been alive between us was gone.  It’d probably been gone for a while, but it took this moment to realize it.

Instead of talking about all this I simply said “Goodbye” and started to walk back to my dorm.  As I was walking away Jenny stopped me:

“Don’t you want to come up?” she said innocently.

But I didn’t.  I honestly didn’t.  And I was all busted up over it.  I thought this is what I wanted.  I thought we were supposed to be together.  But I didn’t want to go up.

“Na, I’m just gonna go home I guess”

“Ok” she said calmly.

As I walked back to my dorm there was no doubt in my mind that Walt and Jenny were over.  The magic that had been all around us a year earlier was gone.

To this day it’s hard for me to figure out what the hell happened.  I’ll never understand how such strong feelings just seemed to disappear with one kiss.  Maybe they’d been gone for a while.  Maybe they started to die the moment I got that letter about her and Jason.  Maybe the damage done was so severe there was no coming back.  Maybe Maybe Maybe….

After that night Jenny and I rarely spoke.  She was super busy getting ready to graduate in the spring, and me, like an idiot I decided to pledge a fraternity.

By the time Christmas break rolled around Jenny was just another person on campus.

I never went back to Keene State College after break.  I transfered to Central CT State.  I don’t think I thought about Jenny much.  I was busy with other things….

A year and a half went by, and one day, out of the blue, Jenny called me.  I didn’t even recognize her voice.  We talked for a bit.  She told me she was teaching in Nashua New Hampshire.  She sounded good and seemed happy that I was doing well.

At the end of the conversation Jenny pointed out that it took alot of courage for her to call me, as she wasn’t sure what to say.  She was glad she got a hold of me, but said now the ball was in my court and it was up to me to keep in touch.  I assured her I would as we said our Goodbye’s.

That phone call was 7 years ago.  We haven’t spoken since.

And that is pretty much the end of The Walt/Jenny story.  A few people have asked me over the last few weeks “Why” I was writing about it.  And I’ve told them all the same thing, I Don’t Know?

I’m sure some of you were expecting some great ending.  I could tell you I got in touch with her and I’m brining her to Cooter’s Wedding, or she’s the mother of my kid…..But I’d be lying.

The Walt/Jenny story ended quietly with a 15 minute phone call.  Truth be told, after I found her picture I did try to find her.  I googled her and did a myspace search, but found nothing.

I don’t know that I’d visit her if I knew where she was.  I don’t know why I’ve written 5 looong ass stories about her. I don’t know if I ever really loved her or if she ever really loved me.

I’m only sure of one thing, not every day, or week, or month, but every so often, I will think of her and wonder what she’s doing and hope she’s doing well.

The End.

Advertisements

One Response to “JENNY”

  1. You should look her up on Facebook.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: