Second Chance for Love(2)

By: Leona Jackson







Chapter 2: Chase



I’d forgotten milk at the grocery store so I was forced to drink my coffee black. I think the bitter taste woke me up more than the coffee. The sun was barely up when I crawled into my truck. The diner wouldn't be open for another half an hour so I would have to wait outside.

Since my divorce, I’d found myself avoiding the house more and more. After four years, I’d fallen into a bad pattern of only being home long enough to sleep. The waitresses at the diner knew all my favorite dishes and placed my order before I even sat down.

Most mornings, the diner was full of lonely, old men trying to escape their wives. I didn’t mind them. Anything was better than being stuck at home listening to the silence that echoed around the empty rooms.

I almost kept driving when I saw my father's truck parked out front. Being a creature of habit, I decided to ignore him and have my breakfast anyway. A small group of men stood by the front door, leaning on their canes and talking with each other. One of the waitresses, Destiny, stood in the middle of the group. As I grew closer, I could tell she was crying. My heart skipped a beat and a lump formed in my throat.

Destiny looked too much like her sister, Jetta, and seeing her cry brought back memories that were best left in the past. I lit a cigarette and got out. Over the years, I’d remained friends with Destiny, the only one of Jetta's sisters that would still talk to me. She’d even helped me with my daughter, Abby, after Melissa first left.

Abby now spent most nights with my mother. She claimed the food was better there, and I had to admit she was right. I’d inherited my Dad's skill in the kitchen, which meant I knew just enough to burn water.

Destiny broke away from the group and ran towards me. “Daddy died last night!” she said, throwing her arms around me.

It was a blow to the gut. I couldn't say that I ever cared much for Musco, but I didn't like to hear about anyone dying. I hugged Destiny back and asked if there was anything I could do to help.

“No. Mama wouldn't want you around the house,” she told me. “Sherry's going to come and open for me. I’ve got to get over to Mama's and make sure she's okay.” She wiped away tears with the back of her hand. “She's trying to get Jetta to come back home.”

Hearing Jetta's name knocked the air from my lungs. I watched as Destiny ran to her car and pulled out. I could feel my father staring at me. The last thing I wanted was to talk to him or anyone else. I hopped into my truck and drove home since my appetite had completely disappeared.

I poured myself a cup of cold black coffee and turned on the television, more out of habit than anything else. Destiny's words still bounced around my head.

“She's trying to get Jetta to come home,” she’d said.

“Jetta,” I whispered to the empty house.

Jetta and I had fallen hard for one another in high school. We had our whole lives planned around one another. I’d even signed up for a fashion design class our senior year just to make sure we had all our classes together.

From day one, it had been a long, hard battle for us to be together. Mostly because of our families and the small town with backward ideas that we lived in. It wasn’t normal to see a black girl dating a white guy and the town people talked about us. Jetta even had to sneak out of her house to go on our first date. My father forbade me to see her, “that black girl”, but I didn't listen. I was determined to have the life I wanted and to give Jetta the world.

My father and I had never gotten along and that sealed the loathing between us for good. I was determined to be more than some redneck racist who spent his life being blind to anything good in the world. I wanted more and I was determined to have it.

I had more in common with Jetta than with anyone else I'd ever met, past or present. She was the woman I’d wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I hated to admit it, but it was my own fault that things didn't work out between us.

When I proposed to her my first year in college; my father threatened to cut me out of the family will. When that didn’t convince me, he threatened to stop helping me through college. Being so young at the time and faced with living in poverty, I felt I didn't have another choice.

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