Second Chance for Love(5)

By: Leona Jackson

“There's your girl,” Henry said, elbowing me in the ribs.

Henry was the old black pharmacist who had on more than one occasion covered for Jetta and I when we were kids. Since hearing that she was coming back to town, Henry hadn't relented in prodding at the subject. He acted as if it were our big second chance. I reminded him again and again that she was most likely happily married with kids. A woman as beautiful as Jetta wasn't going to stay single long.

“You should go talk to her,” he said. “Abby can stay here with me and finish telling me about the unicorn in the park.” He winked at me above Abby’s head.

“There's a unicorn in the park?” Abby asked, her eyes growing wide.

“No, there's not, Abby.” I frowned. “And I'm not going to talk to Jetta. It wouldn't be right.”

“Whose Jetta, Daddy?” Abby asked.

“An old friend of your Daddy's,” Henry told her. “One he should go say hello to.”

“Why don't you say hi to your friend?” Abby asked, tilting her head.

“Because she's sad,” I replied. “Aren't you going to ask Henry what he meant by the unicorn in the park?”

She looked puzzled then went back to eating her chicken nuggets. “You said there wasn't one.”

As soon as Abby finished eating her lunch we left, skipping our usual dessert. She was upset about it and I hated to rush her. I needed to get away from Henry and his foolish ideals about love. He might have been married to the same woman for forty-two years before she died, but that was them, not us.

What we had was long dead, and I wasn’t going to lie to myself about it. I wasn't about to get my hopes up for some pipe dream that had no chance of matching up to the reality I lived in.

I dropped Abby off at my mother’s and drove home alone. I felt bad for upsetting her. After all, she was the only one I still had in my corner. That’s why I didn’t want her to see me angry and upset. I’d always been careful to seem happy and optimistic around her. She was a child, and children deserve to be carefree. They don’t need to be worrying about their parents.

What really got to me after all these years, was that I still lost everything my father had threatened to take away from me after Jetta left. I ended up quitting college and he’d cut me from his will after divorcing my mother.

Truth was, I gave Jetta up for nothing.

Chapter 5: Jetta

My heart skipped a beat when I saw Chase sitting outside of the diner. He was there with a little girl who looked so much like him. One part of me wanted to run into his arms while another part of me wanted to slug him. It didn't seem fair that he was living a normal, happy life after all he’d put me through. I always hear people talking about karma. Seeing him living the life we were supposed to have, while I was so miserable made me doubt its existence.

I remember the night that I left home. I drove to his place to tell him I was leaving and to ask him to come with me. Ask isn't the right word. I begged Chase to come with me. It didn’t matter that he’d already broken up with me by that point. I saw the pain in his eyes when I crossed paths with him around town, and I knew he still loved me. At least, I had thought so up until then.

Chase was sitting on his front porch with Melissa. She was glowing with pride and love, and it made me sick to my stomach to see them together. Still, I begged him. I poured my heart out as if she wasn’t sitting there listening to every word. She left yelling that Chase had better get this worked out, because she wasn't going to have his “black whore” show up once the baby was born.

Her words cut me like a knife. It wasn't enough to call me a whore. The bitch had to play the race card too. I wanted to scratch her eyes out. Instead all I could do was cry. I'll admit it wasn't my proudest moment. I was making one last desperate attempt to be with the man I loved.

“You've slept with her?” I demanded, tears rolling down my cheeks.

“I was drunk, Jetta,” he said, trying to calm me down.

“I don't care. Please!” I begged. “Just come with me and we'll make it work. I know we can! We just need to get somewhere away from our parents and away from this snake pit of a town!”

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