When Love is Loss
I was engaged. I was engaged.
I couldn’t wait to tell Donna.
Pressing Michael’s lips with one more kiss I fly out of the Hub to my Lincoln. As I bypass Michael’s van, I find Fez and Hyde leaning down on the ground next to it. I exclaim about my news to them before climbing into my car which was parked next to the van. Then I navigate out of the parking lot, smiling like an idiot.
But, could you blame me? Okay, put yourself in my shoes. Sure, maybe marriage isn’t what you’ve looked forward to your whole life. But it was for me. Now imagine that all of a sudden you’ve been rewarded with that one thing you’ve always wanted.
Like I said, you’d be smiling like an idiot too.
Why did I want to get married? Well, when you spend your life living with parents who cared for you in a superficial way, surrounded by ‘friends’ who you didn’t always fit in with and who maybe, just maybe, thought you were a burden, and marriage will seem like a much better alternative. It meant someone cared about you enough that they vowed to stay with you through it all.
That’s all I wanted.
Now Michael was going to give that to me.
Mrs. Jackie Kelso. I had repeated that name over in my head for years. Now it was real.
Soon enough I can see the Forman’s house, and then the Pinciotti’s house and I pull over to the curb.
As I step out of my car, I see Mr. Pinciotti crossing over the Forman’s driveway.
“Mr. Pinciotti, is Donna home?” I call over to him.
He looks up at the sound of his name. “Jackie,” he says, more to himself, confirming that it was me. He opens his mouth, about to say something more, but then simply purses his lips. “You should come with me.”
“Well, I actually have something really important I need to tell Donna. So if it’s alright, I’m just going to head inside,” I point to his house.
“Jackie, please come with me…first,” Mr. Pinciotti motions for me to follow him into the Forman’s house.
Giving up, I roll my eyes and jog to catch up with him as he makes his way into the Forman’s kitchen.
Kitty is at the counter baking some cookies. At the sound of our entrance, she looks up from her task.
“Bob, I made some cookies. What’s this I hear about bad news?” she looks concerned.
Mr. Pinciotti sits down at the kitchen table. “Where’s Red?” he asks.
Silently, Kitty makes her way into the living room. I sit across from Mr. Pinciotti. “What’s going on? What bad news? Is this…is this about Donna?”
Mr. Pinciotti doesn’t say anything. Red and Kitty walk into the kitchen.
“What do you want now, Bob?” asks Red, annoyed.
“Donna left,” Mr. Pinciotti blurts.
There is a beat of crushing silence, then, “Oh, dear…Well this, this is just not good,” Kitty carries her plate of cookies over to the table and sits between Mr. Pinciotti and me. “Do you know where she went?”
“To see Midge in California. She’s staying there all summer. I couldn’t stop her. My baby girl left me.”
“Donna’s gone?” I ask incredulously. “But why?” I ask. But I know the answer. Eric. Casey.
Nobody says anything. After a few moments, Kitty stands up and straightens her blouse. “I’m going to get Eric. Maybe he’ll know something.” She stands and makes her way to the living room. Passing Red, she says “Do something.”
“Gosh, I’m real sorry Bob,” Red says, clearly uncomfortable. He stays where he is standing by the sink. Maybe because Bob was in his seat, but I suspected it was more because he was uncomfortable. “Eat a cookie and maybe you’ll see a solution. We all know how sugar tends to inspire you.”
Just then Hyde and Fez make their way into the kitchen from the sliding door.
“Ooh, cookies,” Fez makes his way to the table.
“I wouldn’t,” I tell him. “Mr. Pinciotti needs those cookies. Come to think if it, I need one too,” I grab a cookie from the plate. Mr. Pinciotti gives me a weak smile.
“Well, Fez always needs cookies,” Fez reaches for the plate.
“Really? Is your best friend gone?” I ask him icily. “Because it looks like he’s right behind you,” I point to Hyde.
“Wait, what’s going on here?” Hyde asks no one in particular, sitting on one of the bar stools. Fez joins him on the other.
We are all silent again. This time Red is the one to say something. He clears his throat. “Donna is living in California with her mother.”
“What?” Eric says, walking in the kitchen just in time to hear his father break the news.
“Uh oh,” Hyde raises his eyebrows.
“Donna’s in California?” Eric says in disbelief. “Oh man, this is all my fault.”
“Is this because you wouldn’t take Donna back after she dated Casey?” Red says, starting to get angry.
“You what?” I ask suspiciously.
“Don’t start with me,” Eric says. “You were the one to set her up with Casey.”
“Yeah, because you dumped her!” I yell at Eric.
Eric glares at me. “Never mind you.”
“Hey, I care about her. Donna’s my best friend,” I stand up.
“Okay, okay. Enough fighting. Jackie, eat another cookie,” Kitty says calmly.
I sit down. But I don’t eat another cookie. Now I’m angry. Not even an hour ago I was on cloud nine…
“This sucks,” I lean my head down on the table. Already my engagement was being shrouded in tragedy. I wasn’t sure how I’d get through this summer without Donna.
I think about Michael. At least I have him. If no one else.
The phone rings. I lift my head and join everyone else in staring at the telephone. Kitty being closest, picks it up.
“Hello?” she says. A pause. “Donna!” Eric steps toward his mother. Mr. Pinciotti and I both stand. “Oh dear. Well this just keeps getting worse…” Kitty glances at me nervously.
My knees give out and I fall back into my chair. Why did she look at me when she said that?
“Well, okay. I’ll tell her. Is there anyone else – okay. Alright.” Another pause. “Okay. Well…I guess this is good-bye?...Yes, for now.” Kitty hangs up the phone, but doesn’t turn to face us.
“Well?” Eric asks.
Kitty finally turns around. “Um, Jackie?” she asks me. I meet her gaze, but I don’t say anything. “Donna wanted me to tell you that…Michael is with her on the way to California.”
Okay. Now imagine this: You’ve just been rewarded with the one thing you’ve always wanted. Think about it. This is amazing. This is perfect. You are so happy.
Now, you ready? Now that you’ve got that one thing, imagine it being ripped away from you.
It’s gone. Forever.