The Renewal

Grand Freakin' Summer

“You can take my job selling cheese,” I cross my legs, leaning back against the couch in Eric’s basement.

“Yeah, Jackie’s right man, you could pass for a cheese maiden,” Steven says to Fez.

Fez shifts positions in the lawn chair. “Oh, enough with the female jokes, Hyde,” he pouts.

Fez’s host parents were making him get a job the summer before his senior year. That’s why they had called him home early last night. I had arrived at the basement this morning at the same time that Fez did, and I was eager to offer him my job.

“Well, I’m quitting anyway. And in that time I would have been working, I’m going to write Michael a well-thought out letter of exactly how I felt about him leaving. Starting with how much of a coward he is,” I smile to myself.

“Hey, Fez is the one with the problem here,” Fez points to himself.

“Right,” I nod.

“Look, man. Getting a job isn’t all that terrible,” Steven shrugs. Fez and I both look at him, surprised to hear that coming from the token conspiracy nut. Steven seems to realize what he’s said. “Ugh, I need a beer.”

“But, but remember that time I tried working at the Foto Hut with you and Leo?” Fez says. “I got fired by Leo. By Leo,” Fez emphasizes.

“Fez, that’s because you need to get a job working at like, a jewelry store or something,” Hyde sits back down, beer in hand.

I nod a Fez. “He’s right. You do have a way with jewelry. Oh, and I think they’re looking for people at that store down at the mall. You know, All That Glitters?”

“What the hell, let’s go,” Fez stands up.

“Yay,” I grab my purse. “I’ve been looking for an excuse to go buy myself some jewelry now that I have money again.”

By the time Fez and I get to the mall, the parking lot is incredibly crowded. The inside of the mall is no different, but the jewelry store is exceptionally quiet.

The jewelry store was located between a shoe store and a lingerie store, and I had to pull Fez away from the latter.

The jewelry store was covered in dark gray carpeting and the entire length of the store was lined with glass display cases sparkling with gold and silver jewelry and diamonds from the overhead lights. It was like it was from a dream.

“God, I haven’t been in here in so long. I should have gotten a job here,” I touch my hand over my heart. “Oh, Fez, look at that necklace,” I point to one of the display cases.

“Where’s someone who works here?” Fez ignores me, so I focus my attention back on the task at hand.

“I know all the employees, leave it to me,” I tell Fez, walking to one of the cases where I recognize Stephanie Hilt, one of the employees, is standing.

“Jackie! Long time no see,” Stephanie says as soon as she sees me.

“Hey Stephanie. How’s business?” I ask her, making small talk.

“Same old, same old,” she shrugs. “But I did get promoted to manager.”

“Congratulations!” I grin. “So I assume that Help Wanted sign out front is for someone to replace your old spot as a sales employee, am I right?”

“You sure are,” Stephanie’s neatly manicured blond hair falls just below her shoulders and her signature pearl necklace rests over her collarbone.

“Well, Stephanie, I found the perfect person to take that job,” I turn around and gesture towards Fez. “Meet Fez. He’s foreign, and with the dark skin and accent, he’s perfect for the ladies,” I feel like I’m describing a prize on a game show. “Plus, he has a keen sense of feminine style, making him the perfect match for this job.”

“Hello, Stephanie,” Fez says politely. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Stephanie gives him a half smile before turning back to me. “Well, Jackie, there’s no customer I trust better than you, so if you think Fez is the perfect choice, then I’ll give him a chance,” she looks over at Fez. “Welcome to All That Glitters.”

“Great,” Fez rubs his hands together. “When do I start?”

Stephanie laughs, surprised. “How about now?”

An hour later I burst through the basement door. “I got Fez a job,” I say in a singsong voice to Steven who is still sitting in his ratty old chair, watching TV. “And then I walked to the other side of the mall and quit my job. What a successful day!” I sit on the couch and pull the notebook and pen out of my purse that I packed in there this morning.

“Where is Fez?” Steven asks.

“Already working. You should have seen him, he fit right in. Although, I wouldn’t be surprised if he wanted to start selling candy necklaces,” I joke.

Steven laughs. “Yeah. You should tell him that. He’ll be fired in a week.”

I click my pen and begin to write that letter to Michael I had been planning. I started by writing ‘Dear Michael’ but crossed that off quickly. I wasn’t about to be polite to him, even through a letter. Instead I began it with:

If you are surprised to be getting this letter, than you need the stupid helmet more than anybody has ever realized…

And I went from there. It all came out. I told him what a coward he was for leaving after our engagement, and if he really didn’t want to get married he should have said something then and there instead of running off and breaking my heart. And it wasn’t just an angry letter either. I wrote to him about how neither of us fit together right. He was too weak-willed, and I was good at controlling, and that led us both to become unhappy because he never made any decisions for himself.

I told him we were through this time, and I wasn’t going to give him a third chance; I never should have given him a second chance, because he broke my trust again, and this time it hurt twice as much, and he probably didn’t even care.

I told him that there would be a girl out there that could help him make his own decisions and love him for who he was, and how I hoped there was a guy out there for me who would accept me and yet help me grow into a better person every day, and for whom I could do the same. But I wasn’t that girl for him, and he wasn’t that guy for me. So we would never work.

By the time I finish the letter and zone back in to my surroundings, I notice that Fez is already back from his first day of work. I glance out the small basement window and see that it is already growing dark.

“And there’s this one guy who works next door at the lingerie store. His name’s Fenton, and he’s always marching back and forth between the two stores. And I tell you, brother, he’s not easy to like. He’s the one downside to this job,” Fez shakes his head.

Steven nods in agreement. “Yeah, man. There’s always going to be that one guy that’s out to get you. But you can’t let him get under your skin Fez. If he does that it means your letting the corporate America brainwashed ninnies get to you.”

“God forbid,” I mutter. Steven and his conspiracies. I suppress rolling my eyes.

“Welcome back, space cadet,” Steven looks at me. “Where’ve you been for the past four hours?”

“Sitting on this couch,” I say confused. “Fez, when did you get here?”

“Hmmm, about twenty minutes ago.”

“Wow, where have I been?” I frown.

“Anyways, I owe it to you guys,” Fez nods at Steven and I. “Hyde, for the idea of working in a jewelry store, and Jackie for finding the one for me. I found a job that I love, and now my host parents will get off my back. Cheers!”

Fez leans forward and pulls a beer from a six pack sitting on the table. Steven and I do the same.

“Here’s to a grand freakin’ summer,” Steven says, pulling the tab on his beer.

A grand freakin’ summer. Never had I thought I could have a summer like that without Donna and Michael. But all of a sudden I felt inspired to do exactly that.

“Amen to that, brother,” Fez nods.

I told myself I was going to make this summer count, and now it was starting.

I clack my can against both of theirs. “Let’s make it happen.”

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