The author, Elisa Jeglin, is a legal secretary and belly dancer (!), who is working on her first YA novel about Azrael, the Angel of Death. After you read her piece, go check out her blog at www.wheresmypencil.wordpress.
By Elisa Jeglin
By Elisa Jeglin
Janelle drank the strange green liquid. It burned her throat as it passed down her esophagus and settled in her stomach.
The glow of the computer cast eerie shadows on the walls, while the window rattled from the chilling beat of the song. Janelle scrolled up to the red flag with the picture of a letter and clicked.
A new message flashed across the screen, hey how are you, and she rolled her eyes.
“Jesus Jimmy.” She said. “What do you want?”
She just finished typing the words when a new message popped up.
I know I haven’t talked to you for over a year…it’s just that I haven’t been able to since…you know.
The memory of him standing on her front porch in the middle of night with a bleeding hand and broken beer bottle still haunted her. Her mother comforted her for weeks after she had torn him a part with those two words, “it’s over,” and she’d avoided forming a new relationship again, terrified of damaging another person so completely he would break down at the mention of her name.
In the months that followed he showed up to school with long scabs running down the length of his arms. Frightened by their appearance, along with the rumors circulating around their friends, Janelle went to the school councilor, who called Jimmy into his office.
Nobody asked her if she was okay. Nobody worried about the way this affected her.
The pressure grew until Jimmy graduated. When he moved away she was happy; although it hurt a little he didn’t say good-bye.
Are you still there?
Janelle shook her head, trying to center her woozy mind.
She erased the words she had written before and typed back yes.
Yeah, well I just wanted to tell you I’m sorry I didn’t talk to you sooner…it took a lot of girls to get over you.
The words blurred together and Janelle blinked.
It’s okay. She wrote back. I don’t blame you. I never wanted to hurt you, but I didn’t care for you in the same way. It wouldn’t have been fair to you if I continued to see you.
Janelle’s stomach churned and she crossed her arms, fighting back the tears.
Hey, don’t worry about it. It was only puppy love. I know that now. I just wanted to thank you for the time we did have. I think of it whenever times get hard. I learned a lot from you.
Several small burps erupted from her intestine and a putrid aroma escaped from between her lips. Everything in her body burned and the tears she’d been holding back began to fall.
I’m glad. She typed.
Guilt found a way to weave its way through her pain and the image of a sandy-haired boy with sad-blue eyes appeared in her mind. She had left Jimmy for him. He sat next to her in science and he always found a way to touch her. Sometimes it would be as innocuous as accidently brushing her hand with his, but other times it was as brazen as him laying his palm on the inner part of her thigh. It didn’t matter how he did it, just as long as he did. She needed his touch, like a heroine attack needed drugs, but she never told him. He never knew. Jimmy never knew.
You know, you were the first girl I ever loved. You were the only person who was there when I needed someone the most and for that I’ll always be grateful. You saved me.
Janelle leaned to the side of her chair and threw up between sobs.
“Why,” she cried pulling at her hair, trying to erase the boy from her memory. “Why couldn’t it have been you?”
She reread Jimmy’s message, her tears staining the keyboard as she typed.
I wish it wasn’t you I’d saved, but now it’s too late.
Her head landed on her desk with a thud and she breathed a small sigh of relief. Her pinky resting over the enter key and her eyes staring absently at the tall red can in front of her, green liquid dripping down its side.
Ping. A new message appeared on the screen.
Janelle laid there. Her hand completely still.