The next day I woke up early and brought a mug of coffee out to Jesse. He smiled as he accepted it.
“So, I told Eric that I wouldn’t be his girlfriend.”
“Why would you do that?” he asked surprised.
“You were wrong last night,” I pointed out, “I like him but not the way he likes me.”
“You told him that?”
“Basically,” I nodded.
“I guess if you are not into the guy then you made a good decision.”
I sighed as I noticed that he was pretending what happened the night before didn’t happen. I also noted that he had no intention of asking me out.
“Is everything okay?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he lied.
“Fine,” I said, “You’re acting weird again, just so you know, so before we get into an argument, I will just leave.”
“Nothing personal,” he called after me.
“I don’t care!”
I bit my lip as I closed the door to my office. Why was he acting like nothing happened? Why was he acting like he didn’t care that I was officially single? Why was he acting like he didn’t care about me? He was driving me crazy.
The day went by slowly with Jesse avoiding me. Around five, Jesse punched out and came over to watch as I was helping Luca train another horse.
“Jen,” he called over the gate.
“I’m fine here,” Luca said, “Go see what he wants.”
I met him by the gate, “Leaving?”
“Yeah, just wanted to say good bye.”
“Alright, I will see you later.”
I rolled my eyes, “It’s just a saying.”
As Monday rolled around I woke up with tears in my eyes. I had four missed calls from Sara already, as I always had on this day. I rolled around in bed as I looked at the picture on my nightstand of my mother and I. Today was the anniversary of her death.
My father brought my breakfast, “Are you going to get up today?”
“I don’t think so,” I admitted.
Every year on this day I spent the day in bed, I would watch all her favourite movies and eat her favourite chocolates; it became tradition. It was the one day I let myself miss her with an intensity that I held in every other day of the year.
“Okay,” my father knew the routine, “I will bring you something to eat a little later.”
“Thank you dad.”
I got up and put my mom’s favourite movie into the DVD player for the television in my room. During the movie I went to go look outside, I spotted Jesse saddling Woody up so that Susan could ride him. It was hot so I took off my pants and got back into bed. I wore one of my mother’s favourite t-shirts as I clutched my teddy bear tightly.
Around noon my father came to bring me lunch, “Jesse asked about you.”
“What did you tell him?”
“What did he say?” I asked.
“He didn’t reply.”
I continued to eat chocolate and watch movies until supper time. It wasn’t my dad who brought my dinner, it was Jesse.
I quickly got under the covers as I was sitting on top and my legs were very visible. He watched as I slid under the covers, trying not to look.
“Hi,” he said placing a plate on the bed stand.
“Hi,” I repeated wanting to be left alone.
“I missed you today,” he said.
“I’m not feeling too hot.”
“You don’t need to make up an excuse, I understand.”
I looked to the sky as I felt a lump in my throat, “Thank you for bringing me food but I just want to be left alone.”
“I know,” he said coming to take a seat on my bed, “But like I said, I missed you all day today.”
He put his arm around me and pulled me into him letting me cry on his shoulder, “Just let it out.”
“I’m sorry,” I said after a few minutes, “It’s been like that all day. One minute I am fine and the next I break down. I know I shouldn’t after all these years. Every year I tell myself I am not going to cry but it never ends up going according to plan.”
“I know how you feel.”
“Remember I told you about my friend Jessica? She died, she had a tumor in her brain and they didn’t catch it soon enough.”
“I’m sorry,” I looked up at him as he wiped my tear away.
“I miss her too sometimes, she was my best friend.”
“I’m just afraid to do anything on this day, I feel like if I get out then it’s like I am forgetting her and I never want her to think that.”
“She will never think that, she loved you. She only wants you to be happy.”
“Sorry I didn’t help you out today.”
“No worries,” he said, “But it wasn’t the same.”
“It wasn’t the same for me either,” I admitted, “But I suddenly feel a little bit better now that you are here.”
“Good, because I want to be here with you.”
“You must think I am crazy, crying like this after all these years.”
“I think you’re stronger than anyone I know.”
“You’re only saying that because you don’t know many people,” I tried to laugh.
I lay my head on his shoulder as I closed my eyes. Every once and in a while I felt Jesse run his hand through my hair which gave me goose bumps.
“How long ago did Jessica die?” I asked.
“Five years ago.”
“Well, she was really lucky to have you as a friend.”
“I was really lucky to have her as a friend.”
“Tell me about her,” I asked.
“She could make me laugh when I was down, she would always get me in trouble, she was the first one I went to when I had a secret and she was the last one I spoke to before I went to bed.”
“She sounds amazing.”
“I wish you could have met her,” he said, “You would have loved her.”
“I think I would have.”
“Then again, I feel lucky to know you right now.”
“The feeling is mutual.”
“You sort of remind me of her you know?”
“Just the way we joke around sometimes, I feel comfortable around you, the way I did with her.”
“Not really,” I pointed out, “You haven’t told me your secrets yet.”
He frowned, “I knew her my whole life and it pretty much took me my whole life to tell her my secrets, but I don’t have many.”
I sighed, “Do you think you will ever trust me the way you trusted her?”
“It’s not about trust,” he said cupping my face to look into his eyes, “It’s about judgment.”
“What does that even mean?”
“I don’t want you to judge me; I don’t want to ruin whatever it is that you feel for me.”
“I wouldn’t judge you,” I countered.
He huffed as he kept one hand on my cheek, “There really are no interesting secrets.”
“They don’t have to be interesting,” I said trying to get him to open up.
He leaned against the wall of the bed, “One day,” he stared, “I’ll share everything with you.”
I smiled, “I have secrets too you know?”
“Oh really?” he winked.
“But I already told them to you,” I grinned.
Jesse kissed the top of my forehead, “Okay, I will tell you one, but then you can’t bug me about my secrets anymore alright?”
I nodded, “But it has to be a good one.”
He laughed and brought his lips to my ear, “I had to repeat grade twelve because I failed three courses.”
I looked at him seriously, “Really?”
He nodded, “I am not proud of it but I was quite the rebel in my teen years and I didn’t really care much about my future, until I failed that is.”
I smiled, “Your secret is safe with me.”
“I know,” he smiled, “That is why I told you.”