It was Monday afternoon and Tessa ran to the only place that could calm her down. A gigantic oak tree with a trunk so big that her arms couldn’t even fit half way around. The leaves were all different shades of orange, red, and yellow because it was early fall. It was the most beautiful tree you could ever imagine. It was like a piece of artwork. Tessa sat down at the foot of the tree and buried her head in her lap and cried. She came here whenever she was upset because the tree was so far away from everything in the town and it felt like an escape. There was only one other person that knew about this tree and it was her best friend Jackson.
Tessa texted Jackson a message Oliver. Come now.
Jackson named the tree Oliver when he was 6 years old so he will understand her message. Jackson had no friends when he was younger so he named a tree. So what. When he met Tessa he showed her Oliver because he knew that she would appreciate him just as much as he did. Now it was their little secret.
Jackson came running up to the tree within 5 minutes of Tessa’s message. Tessa was the only thing he cared about (besides Oliver) and he would drop anything for her. Even if it meant leaving school.
“ What’s wrong!! Why aren’t you in class?” Jackson questioned.
Tessa looked up from her lap and Jackson saw that she was crying. Jackson got really concerned when he saw her crying because Tessa never cries. Only when something really terrible happens. Tessa always came here when the popular girls made fun of her because she wanted to be alone. She was never upset about it and she definitely never cried over it. Jackson knew it was something serious. He rushed to her side, sat down and put his arms around her. They sat in silence. Jackson knew she would tell him what she had to, when she was ready to.
Tessa caught her breath and wiped her tears away. She looked straight into Jackson’s eyes and said, “My father died last night. I’m relieved, of course. He was a terrible human being. I’m happy I don’t have to deal with him coming home drunk and angry anymore. I won’t have to bail him out of jail anymore. He was never a Dad to me and Stephanie. Steph and I can finally live in peace.”
“So then why are you crying Tess?” Jackson was still confused. He knew that Tessa was dreaming of this day her whole life. Her father was like a parasite you couldn’t get rid of and now he was gone.
“I have to move in with my Aunt Elizabeth. She’s my only living relative and she’s not any better then my dad. I don’t want to move all the way to New York, Jack. I hate this town but what am I going to do without you.” Tessa cried into Jackson’s shoulder. If only her father lived for 5 more months, then Tessa would be 18 and she could live on her own. Her father was making her life miserable even after he died.
“When do you leave?” Jackson asked.
“The CPS lady is picking us up at 6:00pm on Wednesday.”“ No Tessa, you’re not leaving. We planned to leave this terrible place together. Let’s get Stephanie out of school and go to my house. I have an idea.”