A Story 2

October 22, 2009
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she pushed open the door of her house and ran upstairs to her room, not bothering to close it behind her. after a three hour trip to the mall you'd think she would have something more to show for herself than another black eye liner. she dropped it into her drawer with the others and went to work on her closet. she tried to find something that resembled something welcoming and happy but all she could find was black. she didn't remember throwing her other clothes out, yet the only thing left was a white dress. after slipping it on with some black flip flops she left the house and started towards the school with another hersheys bar in her hand. for the past week she had been leaving them on the bleachers, hiding behind the building and watching jack come and take them. today she planned on talking to him, and rather than scare the poor child with her wardrobe choices she was going for a friendlier look. as she rounded the corner she saw him outside for the first time tossing a forgotten baseball

that girl he had seen on his first day in ravenswood was walking towards him. he dropped the ball and started to run to the temporary place he had made under the bleachers. but as he was running he realized she was his support and survival and making friends might change things. he would talk to her today, that would be a big step. he slowed down and headed for the oak tree that separated the field from the playground, sat in its shade and started to pick at the grass. she walked over and sat down, not at all hesitant to stain the last remaining piece of clothing she had that wasn't black. she peeled open the chocolate bar broke off a piece and handed it to him. he gave her a grateful look and began to eat it. she took a piece for herself and put what was left in between them. as a piece offering maybe. he never asked me if he could get remarried, you know. jack surprised himself by starting his story. you miss her don't you? asked alex. she was never supposed to leave, he answered

the days passed and the roots of the oak tree grew stronger as did alex and jack. despite the age difference they had become each others support and maintained a friendship many would envy. with the long conversations spent under the shade of the tree came an unspoken bond that was the essence of their friendship. just like on the first day they spoke, they tended to guess things about one another they otherwise wouldnt have shared. but as it came so easily to them they didnt think twice. beside the lilacs in the garden alex shared her story, a tale of loss and brilliance only jack could understand. and it was under the leaves of the oak tree that the story of jacks family began to unfold. both of them had suffered loss, both choosing different ways to fill the space it left
it was on a rainy tuesday afternoon when alex stormed out of the house flipping out her cell phone. she called sam and told him to pick her up in his convertible as soon as possible. she had just walked into her brothers room to see her mother sitting on his bed crying. she remembered the night of his death only too clearly and this was just too much for her

I know you miss him alex. i have an idea. jack said. alex wiped away a tear and the eyeliner that had started to run

when they arrived at the cemetery the gate was locked as it was long passed midnight. they climbed the fence and alex led the way. JAMES WILLIAM RENSON read the gravestone. James Andrew Cornelius...Jack. he whispered. alex sunk to the ground as a tear rolled down her face. James is a noble name she replied.

august arrived and with it came preparations for the fall. children could be found walking down the crayola aisle in desperate search of a set of crayons, mothers at the checkout counter silently hoping they came in under budget this month, and teenagers trying to conspire against the town councils feeble attempt to raise the driving age. the entire town was busy and therefore didnt pay any attention to a rebellious looking teenage girl and a little boy missing shoes as they walked through town. alex had offered jack, who she now called by his rightful name- james, a pair of her brother jimmys old shoes. james had taken them but didnt wear them. he kept under the bleachers where he had continued to sleep. though he had never met jimmy, he felt a sertain amount of respect for him, almost as much as he did for alex. though it had not seemed possible, their friendship had grown stronger. whether it was shopping for alternate clothing choices for alex- at james persistence, or using alexs allowance for a visit to starbucks they spent every moment together. time passed and after throwing out her collection of black eyeliner, alex realized she had been calling sam less and less. it became apparent to her that she had james had begun to fill spaces in each others lives. in her life it was jimmy and in his it was Charlotte- his mother. james needed to return home and alex needed to prepare herself for school. she tried endlessly to tell james how important it was for him to go home, how cold Massachusetts winters were, and how much his pet dog names Cat must miss him. but james was smart and at 11 years old he made the arguments of a 30 year old. and truthfully, alex didnt want him to leave. she wanted to be older, old enough to take of james, to get him out and give him a childhood as great as the one she and jimmy had shared. and her inability to do that frustrated her.
it was when they were walking home from Starbucks, each holding an iced tea that a police car from the next town slowed down next to them. he pulled up to the curb and waved them over to him. whats your name, son? he asked looking directly at james. j-j-james he stuttered.
Alex had come with james in the car on the ride to the station, waited with him under the bright lights walked him out to his fathers car, and now it was time to say goodbye. she repeated her cell phone number for the 7th time knowing full well he had memorized it within the first week they met. she took a hersheys bar out of her pocket and handed it to him wishing she had something more to offer. out of his pocket james pulled a necklace with a locket dangling from it. he handed it to alex and got in the car. by the time alex had cleared her tears he was gone. as she turned to walk home she looked at the locket. on the back in thin writing she read Charlotte.

it was 2:37 am and alex couldnt sleep. a week had passed since james left and she had felt him missing every moment. he had called her once from his friends phone but it had only been a short call before the connection was lost. she had called sam more in the past week than she had in the last month, and she managed to find a black eyeliner that james hadnt gotten rid of. her white dress seemed to have altogether disappeared. she felt things going back to how they had been before and the reason for the was clear. it was time to get to james, and that moment seemed like the perfect time. she pulled on her black leggings, skirt and sweatshirt and climbed out her window and into the tree whose branches sometimes brushed against her window at night. not bothering to get her shoes from the mat outside the back door, she set out on the path she knew like the back of her hand. it was the way jimmy used to take her to her ballet lessons. the ones she quit after the car accident.





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