As much as I wanted to tell her that I loved her, I couldn't. See, there was this obstacle. A big obstacle. His name was Mike, and he was Jenna's boyfriend.
Even better, he seemed to be a pretty great guy. He was in Iraq, shooting children, burning shit, hell, he was probably making sure every Iraqi child had their own kitten, from the way Jenna talked about him.
So, I came into the whole Jenna/Mike movie into the middle, and tomorrow is the day that Mike comes back. Somehow, she'd talked me into going with her to meet him at the airport.
She wanted me to drive with her, keep her company on the two hour drive. I wanted to say no, I wanted to find some excuse, (diahrrea would work) but when she looked at me, and said "please?" I never even hesitated. I said yes.
I had just finished burning a cd for her when she burst into my house. She had this look, this excited, happy... fuck, call it a glow, because that's what it was. She was almost on fire, she was so happy.
I stood up, and as soon as I did, she ran toward me. When she was about three feet away, she jumped and wrapped herself around me. A full body Jenna hug.
I laughed, and hugged her back, trying to will myself not to have an erection, thinking about those long legs wrapped around me.
When she finally let me go, I handed her the cd I'd burned for her. It was all the songs I knew she loved, the ones that made her sing, and I needed that if I was going to prepare myself for this Mike guy.
For at least another two hours, she was going to be just mine, and I wanted to sit in that passenger seat, storing up images of her, happy, singing, and for the next two hours--just mine. Me, her, and the blackbird, with no Mike in sight.
Jenna ended up loving the cd. I was pretty sure she would.
The first song was one that I'd heard her sing many times, but it never got old. She would really get into it, fist-pumping, hitting the high notes, and her voice almost became the singer's.
When this song came on, she rolled down the window, yelled "Whooo Hooo!!!!!!!!!" out the window. "Now don't you wait, or hesitate. Let's move before they raise the parking rate" she sang along, her voice becoming husky and sweet, splintering the words the same way the singer did.
"I said "Slow, don't go so fast, don't you think that love can last?"
She said, "Love, Lord above,
now you're tryin' to trick me in love."
I happened to look over at the speedometer, and Jenna saw me looking. She shrugged one shoulder and said "My baby feels like going fast today." And that was that.
When her hand found mine a few songs later, I told myself that it was just her excitement to see Mike, spilling onto me. She didn't even seem to notice our fingers intertwined that way, but i found it impossible to think of anything else.
I thought I had prepared myself for meeting Mike, but there was no preparing that I could do for seeing him swing her into his arms, seeing her kiss him. They fit together so perfectly, I felt like I was trespassing on their moment. I'd never felt so alone, so single, so unattached, as seeing him touch her hair, and seeing her eyes closed, tears spilling over, the emotion that he created within her.
I just wanted to get away from them as quickly as possible, and go straight to drunk, with no side stops.
I drove back to the hotel with them, then told Jenna that I was going to hit up some of the clubs that were close. I pasted a big grin on my face, showing just how alright I was.
After the fifth shot, everything else is a blur. I remember laughing, throwing up, and then I woke up in my room. My head felt about three sizes too big, and I smelled like well used Jack Daniels. After I crunched through three aspirin, I decided I needed to shower off some of the stink.
When I was toweling off, I heard my laptop. I hadn't remembered starting my playlist, but apparently I had. Gimme Shelter. Not bad.
If I don't get some shelter
Oh yeah, I'm gonna fade away
I started singing along, and then I saw her.
I almost didn't recognize her. I'd never seen her eyes look so sad, so wrecked, so completely hurt. If this is what pain did to her, I never wanted to see it again. Just seeing her like that, broken, aching, brought tears to my own eyes.
She had mascara smeared under her eyes, and there were tear tracks down both cheeks. She seemed completely unaware of it, and even if she was aware, I had the idea that she really didn't give a fuck.
Before I could say one word, she said, "It's over." The words fell from her lips like stones. I could feel the weight they brought, the pain, and as much as I loved her, I never wished for this.
She stood up, walked over to where I was standing in the doorway of the bathroom. "It's over," she repeated dully, as if I hadn't heard, "I'm so sad, I feel like I'm broken into a thousand pieces."
Ooh, see the fire is sweepin'
Our very street today
Burns like a red coal carpet
Mad bull lost its way
"I waited for him. A whole year, Jared. A whole, fucking year."
As much as I wanted to say something, to comfort her, I couldn't think of two words to put together. Her pain had stolen every word, her hurt, her grief was so big it consumed everything.
"I spent that whole last year just waiting. Doing everything in my power to make things better for him. I-- I waited, I wanted, I needed. But I told myself that I'd get through it, that when he got back, we'd make up for everything."
War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
She continued on, her eyes never leaving mine, "And the thing is, I'm so angry, and I'm hungry, and I'm pissed the fuck off. That's not the best part. Or the worst part. Or whatever. The worst part is that I've waited a whole fucking year to have sex," this drew a bitter laugh out of her. "That's the one thing that pisses me off the most. And that's all I can think about."
One single tear rolled down her cheek as she said that last part. She looked at me, seemed to look into me, and her voice became a whisper. "Don't make me ask you," she said, her voice filled with tears, "Please don't make me ask you."
For the first time, her eyes left mine and she looked down at her hands, as a tear trickled down her cheek.
"Don't make me ask."