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Paper Moons and Golden Skies
I ran down the stairs, pulling a burgundy sweater over my head as I turned the corner to walk into the kitchen to say “hi” to my mom. She looked at me with her award-winning smile.
“Well, don’t you look pretty”
“Thanks mom” I sighed, as I grabbed a piece of wheat bread and popped it into the glowing slits in the toaster. I looked out the window, wondering if the weather was ever going to change.
“Hun, you seem bothered. What’s on your mind?”
“Nothing!” My answer came out kind of snappy sounding.
She glanced at me with an irritated look.
“It doesn’t matter Adele, I’ll be fine.” She sighed.
My toast popped up into the air. I grabbed it and slapped a chunk of butter on it, spreading it all over, and slopping it onto the granite countertop.
“Mom, why do you think this happened to me?” I said, as I stared relentlessly into her eyes.
“Why did what happen? Is something wrong?” I glanced at her direction, realizing that I wasn’t going to bring it up. I saw the expression on her face and quickly looked back at my toast. I got up and threw the now cold piece of toast into the garbage can and headed back upstairs.
“Jesa, where are you going?”
“To my bedroom! Thanks for interrogating me, Adele!”
“Anytime!” She said with a sarcastic tone pinned to her voice.
I trudged up the stairs, making an effort to stomp extra hard. The house rattled as if I were to stomp any harder, it would poof into a pile of dust and rusty nails. I laughed at the image of that. It could easily happen, being that our house is like a billion years old, well 86, but that’s still really old for a house! My mother, Adele, bought it about 13 years ago, when she was still with my father. Christopher and Adele got married when they were about 20, and had me when they were 21. I’ve seen several photographs of him. He was very handsome! He had big brown eyes, and curly dark brown hair. Adele and Christopher split up when I was three. Christopher moved to Ontario, Canada. I never really talk to him, except on birthdays and Christmas, when he calls long enough to wish me well and to check and see if I received the usual twenty dollars in the mail. That’s okay though, because according to Adele, his is just a self conceited imbecile, and I wouldn’t like him anyways. I never argue with Adele, because according to her, she is always right. I grabbed my book bag, which was loaded down with an endless number of heavy books. I tripped on the antique looking rug at the top of the stairs and clumsily tumbled down, spilling my books everywhere. I saw Adele peek around the corner to see what the racket was about. She walked over to me,
“Jesa, when will you learn to watch where you are going? Are you okay?” Adele said laughing as she grabbed my hand to help me up. I looked at my leg.
“Ugh, that’s going to be a nasty bruise tomorrow”
I am a klutz; my mom is the complete opposite. She is the most graceful human being to ever exist. Sometimes, I wish I was her. She is beautiful. Her long golden locks wisp around her perfectly shaped face, and curl past her shoulder blades. Her eyes are a marvelous emerald green. My eyes are plain brown, just like my hair. I am nothing special, just the average plain Jane. The town I live in is one of those picture-perfect Good Housekeeping towns you see when you look through the magazines in the checkout. The residents however, are not so picture perfect. Most of the residents in Kootenai County are elderly. The men resemble Uncle Sam, complete with scraggly white hair and a beard to match. The woman have pale sun bleached skin and hair from all of the time they spent gardening throughout their lives. I am one of the few adolescents in this town, other than the occasional grandchildren visiting their grandparents. There are a few middle-aged adults, like Adele. I don’t think she looks a day over 20 though. She is really up-to-date on her wardrobe, unlike me. On usual days, I just throw on a pair of blue jeans and a sweater. It’s not like our town is full of fashion-foreword teenage girls ready to judge anyways. I am one of the three juniors in our so-called school. Kootenai County High School is probably somewhere near gaining the title of â€˜worlds smallest school,’ (if it hasn’t already) with a grand total of 15 students ranging anywhere from kindergarteners to seniors. Adele always complains about how little income the school gets due to the small amount of residents occupying Kootenai County, Idaho. According to her, because of the low income, our school textbooks are outdated as well as the school itself, but we make due with what we have.
“Jesa, are you there?”
“You’re going to be late for your first day of school if you don’t get moving.” “Right, see you later, Adele!”
I ran out of the door, grabbing my lunch money and car keys off the table. I jumped into my rusty and very outdated Oldsmobile. I started the engine and drove off. The streets weren’t busy at all. I drove past Mr. McFarland’s Victorian-looking home. He peered up through his bifocals and smiled. I honked my horn and continued on to “Kootenai High.” Today is just another cold, rainy day in Kootenai Idaho. I got out of my Oldsmobile, grabbed my extremely heavy book bag and trotted over to Jebs’ red Jeep.
“Urgh, he’s already in class” I said looking around, noticing that all of the cars were empty.
“Class must have already started, great.”
I ran to the door and turned the knob. Locked! I knocked a few times, nobody came.
Okay, now what? I prayed a prayer asking God to help me have a better day, since it’s already not so great.
“What the hell are you doing here, Jesa Parker?” I heard the husky voice of Cassandra Burk coming up from behind me. Cassandra is a senior at Kootenai, and she means business with anything but her school work. I do my best to avoid her. Her appearance alone gives me chills. Her long jet black hair covers one of her makeup darkened eyes. She has pale, almost transparent skin, with blood red lipstick and an all-black wardrobe.
“Jesa Parker! I’m talking to YOU!” She growled. I was speechless.
“Praying again, huh? You are such a stupid goody two shoes! Praying is pointless, why waste your time?”
“Because I…I love… I got to go!” Right then Jeb was beside me. He pulled me up to him and held me close.
“Cassandra! Leave Jesa alone!”
Cassandra made a snarling sound and stormed away.
“Wha…Wh…Where’d you come from!?”
“Jesa, did she hurt you? Are you okay?”
I was completely in a daze. It seemed as if everything was going to be okay once I was safely in Jebs arms.
“Hun, school was canceled today the pipe broke in the bathroom, and flooded it. “Oh, at least I won’t have to see Cass…”
“Shh, don’t speak of her name, she is just a bunch of trouble, don’t waste your time worring about her, she won’t hurt you. I promise!”
I knew the rest of my day would be perfect because school was canceled, and Jeb could come over and we could spend the entire day together. He opened my Oldsmobile’s rusty door and helped me in. Then, he bent down and kissed my cheek.
“Jesa, please don’t worry, I really do promise that I will keep you safe, no matter what.” He started walking from my car.
“I love you.”
“I know, and I love you too, forever and always. Nothing could ever change the way I feel for you.”
I smiled and started the car with a loud roar, I started driving off. I looked out my rear view mirror, and caught Jeb looking back at me, smiling. He saw me looking and blew me kisses.
Once I pulled into the driveway of my home, I felt a little safer knowing that I was far away from Cassandra and Jeb was on his way. A few moments after I entered the house, Jeb walked through the doorway with his arms held open. I ran to him and hugged him with all of the love in the world. Jeb grabbed my hand, laced my fingers around his, and we walked upstairs to my bedroom. I sat at my pine study desk and logged onto my lap top. Jeb sat quietly on my white wicker day bed, looking at my laptop screen as I logged onto Myspace.
“Hmm, I have a new friend request.” I clicked on the button and it led me to a page.
“Um, Jeb, do you know who â€˜S@t3n$_lil_@ng3l’ is?”
“I have no clue; maybe Micah made a page to kid around with us.”
“I sure hope. Take a look at this!” I was on the mystery person’s page. It had an all black background with fire-colored text.
“Oh, goody, Hello!” the about me read.
“So, there’s a reason you got a request from me! Maybe it’s cause I hate you, or better yet, maybe you love god! Ha-ha, there’s a place for people like you! IT’S CALLED HELL! God is a fake!!!”
“I’m going to take one guess and say this is Cassandra!” I said, looking at Jeb.
“Yeah, that’s a good guess, but like I said, don’t worry about her, she won’t harm you in any way, I won’t allow it.”
Jeb always makes me feel better. I have never known such a pure-hearted person in my life. Jeb is definitely one-of-a-kind. Jeb grabbed me by the waist and pulled me close to him. He grazed his hand across my cheek and kissed me very gently He stopped for a brief second and whispered
“I love you.” I turned to face him, he locking his fingers gently intertwined, lead me over to the middle of my room.
“May I have this dance, Miss Parker?”
I crinkled my nose and kissed his smooth, flawless lips. The feeling of forever must feel like this. He held my waist as I wrapped my arms around his neck. He picked me off the ground and held me close, spinning and humming me the song that was playing. It felt like the day was going to last forever, and I really didn’t mind that at all. Out of nowhere, I felt a piercing pain coming from everywhere on my body. My head felt like it would explode and my legs felt like mush. My whole body was on fire.
“Jesa, Miss Parker? How are you doing?”
I opened my mouth, but no words came out. I tried to pull my hand up to scratch my nose, but I couldn’t. I was hooked up to some machine. I could feel the IV hooked up to my arm. I had a breathing mask on and a tube hooked up to my throat. I also had a terrible headache.
“Jesa, thank goodness you’re awake, the pain killers will be wearing off soon, do you want more? Please blink once if you do”
“Okay, dear, these will make you very drowsy; it’s okay if you fall asleep. You’re going to need a lot of rest in order to heal.”
What happened to me? Is Adele okay? Where’s Jeb? Is he okay? I had so many questions I wanted to ask, but I was incapable of saying anything. I was completely tied down with wires, tubes and machines of all sorts. I opened my eyes. My vision was blurry, like looking through the fumes of gasoline. I couldn’t quite tell who was standing above me looking down. I didn’t recognize the woman.
“Wha” was the only word I force out of my tired lungs and numb body.
“Miss Parker, please don’t try talking, it will be painful. You are in good hands and you’ll be okay.”
I tried turning my head to look and see where I was. Jeb, where are you? Please come here! I love you so much! Do you love me? I wanted Jeb to be here, holding me while I cried through my half-blind eyes. I wanted him to sing me the song we danced to, and I wanted him to hug me and tell me everything was okay. I wanted Jeb to stay with me while the blurred woman told me what was wrong with me. The woman shuffled her feet along the floor, grabbed something off a table, and came back. She injected a fluid into my IV tube. It stung.
“Jesa? Miss Parker? Are you awake?”
I looked up and saw a new figure standing at my bed looking down at me. From what I could tell, it was a tall, overweight colored woman.
“Ma’am?” The new blurry woman said as she stood up, walked over to the colored woman and mumbled something.
“Alright, sorry to bother you. That’ll be all Miss.”
I stared at the ceiling, trying to make out the square shaped panels, but all I saw once again was blurred colors. I made a sound, trying to call Adele over to my bed. She stepped over and sat at the chair next to me.
“Shh, don’t worry Jes, Everything’s gonna be alright.”
Her voice sounded so beautiful to me. I didn’t realize until now that I can’t hear very well, at all. I want Jeb here, maybe he could somehow translate the quite sounds that my mother is saying so I could understand and hear better.
“Ma, mom?” I was finally able to push out.
“Oh, Jesa!” She said.
“What happened to you?”
“Well, Jesa” she interrupted (As if I could talk anyways.)
“You were driving home from school, and you were hit by a man in a semi-truck. A girl in a black Dodge Neon in front of you was hit also, she wasn’t as lucky as you though, I’m afraid she didn’t make it. I wanted to ask who the girl was, but I was scared.
“The girls name was Cassandra Burk, did you know her?” My heart stopped beating for a brief second. That same moment, machines started beeping and doctors and nurses all piled into the room.
“Charge â€˜em to fifteen!”
“NO! It isn’t working!”
NO NO NO! What is this? They shocked me with some machine. I’m alive, can’t you tell!? I felt a terrible shock through my body, shaking me profusely.
They hit me with lightning again. I opened my now teared-up eyes to look and see what horrible person was torturing me. I wish I could see Jeb. I love him. Those were my last words.
“Hey! Nurse! Come here! Hurry!”
“What? “I think Jesa’s wakin up!”
“Seymour! Seymour! Come Quick!”
“What’s goin on?”
“Je… You’re sister is waking up!”
“No! No way! Jesa? Sis?”
“Sir,, give her time, she doesn’t hear you yet. This process takes days, if not several weeks to finalize. She most likely won’t be out of the coma for a while, but she is showing progress.”
The colored woman walked in. Her name is Betty.
“Yes?” “What did you just see…? I’m gonna need ta talk to ya.”
“Okay, I’m right here, talk away.”
“What did ya jus see happen to your sister? Did you witness her eyes open? Close? Move? Did her fingers move at all? …Or any other part of her?”
“I don’t know, Adele just told me she is commin outta it.”
Betty got on the intercom.
“Docta Murray, please come ta room 157, we need ya to look at a patient.”
Then, she turned towards Adele and Seymour.
“We’s gonna need ya’ll to leave, we haveta take a look at your sista.”
Adele rushed to my bed. I wish I could move and talk, I’d tell them that I was okay. The nurse escorted Adele and Seymour out of the room. Adele yelled and fought, wanting to be with me. Seymour helped the nurse take her into the waiting room.
“Ma, just let â€˜em do their job, they’ll do a fine job and Jes will be back in shape in no time.”
Adele hugged Seymour, crying and wishing to have me out of the hospital.
“I can’t believe Jesa’s been in the coma for a year and two months!” Adele cried. “She missed my wedding, she doesn’t even know about Jack. She don’t even know about you or Jude! She missed her eighteenth birthday!“
“Adele, don’t worry about that stuff, just have faith.”
Adele sniffled and stood up out of the brown leather waiting room chair. She looked at Seymour.
“Don’t tell me that she’ll be alright, Seymour! She isn’t! Have you looked at her?! If she was gonna be alright, she would have waken up by now!”
Seymour stopped himself. “Ade…”
Adele collapsed on the floor, cupping her hands over her face.
“It’s been a year! A whole year, Seymour! I can’t take this anymore! I’m done tryin to be happy and hopeful! IM DONE!”
“Mrs. Parker! Seymour! Come quick!”
Seymour grabbed Adele and helped her up. They ran into my room.
“Betty! What is going on!?” Seymour gasped.
“It’s Jesa! She is really showing awareness! I think today is the day!”
Adele broke down in sobs, sobs of hope and happiness.
“I haven’t been able to talk to her for so long,” She cried. “I don’t even know where to begin when she can talk to me!”
“Don’t worry about that, Adele.”
I could hear every word, and understand it too. I wish I could find a way to answer them, and let them know I’ll be awake soon. I worry so much of Adele’s pain. I didn’t mean for this to happen! If I could have prevented it, I would have. I felt like a translucent piece of glass, just there, for people to walk around. I felt like nobody has cared about me all that much until now. Now, I am seeing the true impact of the pain I have put Adele, Seymour, and Jack through, as well as Jeb. Adele doesn’t know that I know about Seymour or Jack. Adele also doesn’t know that I love her very much. She and I fight too much. I wish that would stop. Adele! I love you! I wanted to say. I want to see what my new stepbrother looks like. Adele had a baby. So, I have 2 little stepbrothers, Seymour and Jude. I bet Jude’s cute, especially if he has Adele’s green eyes. I don’t even know what Jack looks like. I have plenty of time to worry about that though, I have all of the time in the world, just to sit here and think about pointless, unimportant things.
“Baby, please come out of the coma! Please? I miss you, sweetheart.” Adele sobbed.
I thought to myself about where Jeb was, quite often actually. I miss Jeb the most. I keep getting more energy building up inside of me. I am trying to come out of the coma. I would really like to! I’m leaving it up to my body. I think I’ve gotten plenty of rest, and I’m ready to go! I want to go home, to sleep in my bed in stead of the uncomfortable…my mind drifted off.
“Jesa! Jesa, you’re alright! I’ll go get Adele and tell her you’re out, she’ll be so happy!”
“Mrs. Parker? Seymour?”
“Jesa, Jesa? Is she awake!?”
“Come see for yourself!”
They walked in, Adele still crying. I slowly opened my eyes. They were still blurry. I want to see the details of Adele’s young face again, and I want to see my big brother for the first time and my baby brother and my step-father. I want to be able to clearly see the world how the rest of my family sees it, and soon I can. I have the best feeling that the doctors will help me heal to the best of my abilities. Life has been very boring. I just lay here day in and day out.
“Oh, my baby! My baby, you’re awake!”
Adele rejoiced. If I had the energy, I would have rolled my eyes. I was finally able to fully open my eyes and details appeared. I blinked. The air was dry. Adele was hunched over my bed, tears still streaming from her eyes. I blink. The air is dry.
“Jesa, I love you!”
I tried to tell her I loved her too, but all that came out of my mouth was a quiet mumble. I met her eyes and she smiled the gentle smile that I had missed so much. Doctor Murray came into my white-washed room. He checked my pulse.
“Mrs. Parker, has she said anything?”
“No Dr. just mumbles
“That’s still very good,” He said with his deep cigarette-tired mouth. “Jesa is showing immense signs of improvement.”
A warm tear rolled from Adele’s chin and puddled on my hand. She is the most perfect mother ever.
Tonight the room is cold. I covered up in multiple blankets and watched the street lights shimmer outside of the window. The outside air was crisp and still. Snowflakes floated from the sky, striving to dwell on any surface possible. There were several inches of fallen snow on the ground. Earlier today it was freezing rain. Adele told me all about it. She is sound asleep on the blue vinyl cot across the room.
That morning when I woke up, there was a strange feeling in the air. This was the first time for over a year that I woke up to Adele’s voice. It was a happy, yet overwhelming feeling. I have never seen Adele as happy as she is until she met Jack. He seemed nice, for the few seconds I had talked to him. At this point in my recovery, I shouldn’t be able to even talk, let alone in full sentences!
“Jeb? You there?” I asked.
I could swear I heard Jeb talking.
“Jeb! Jeb! Jeb!” I screamed.
The nurse, Betty, came in and told me to hold it down. I was so scared! I just want to see Jeb! I’d do anything! Adele walked in.
“Jesa! Jesalyn Parker! Jeb is not real!” My mother screamed.
I was in shock that she would ever yell at me for something so miniscule.
“I don’t know how to tell you any other way! I have done everything in my will to get you to realize he isn’t real! When is it going to sink in, Jesa!?”
Streams of big, salty tears started rolling down my cheeks.
“Ma, Jeb is real! He is! Believe me ma!”
She stormed away, turning back to glare at me with her fierce eyes. She was gone.
Three weeks later, I arrived back at my house. Seymour had made a big â€˜Welcome Home, Jesa!” banner and strung it across the entry way to the living room. I walked up the stairs after thanking him and entered my bedroom for the first time in sixteen months. It felt the same way it had the day I was dancing with Jeb. I sat on my bed and buried my face in my pillows to muffle my cries for Jeb. I turned my head to look at my computer and there, standing more beautifully that ever, was Jeb. He held a red rose out to me as I stood up and tried to regain composure. I hugged him with no intentions of ever letting go. He held onto me for several minutes as I cried to him about how Adele didn’t believe me. He sighed.
“Jeb, what’s wrong? Is it me?”
“Listen Jesa, I have wanted to tell you since the day I met you, because I knew I could trust you. I really shouldn’t tell you this, but I love you and know you’ll listen to what I have to say.”
“Jeb! Of course I will listen to you! I always do!”
“Jesa, since the day I met you, I knew that this would be a difficult relationship. I knew that I would never get to meet your parents, or marry you, or even someday have children to you. I would love to lead a normal life, the way most people do, but I can’t! Jesa, I am an angel. I know it sounds like a lie, but I would never, ever lie to you! If you could just believe me, Jesa, please?”
He started crying.
I was completely speechless. I wanted to believe him, but who would believe something like that! You can’t talk to angels, or dance with angels, or kiss angels. I am alive, and so is Jeb. He is a human. I thought and thought about the few life-affecting words he had told me. It is truly unbelievable, insane. I had no clue what to say to something like that!
“Jesa, do you promise you won’t tell anyone?”
“Jeb, anything for you! But, Wha…how…” I was completely tongue-tied.
“I’m sorry to put you in the place where you have to keep such a large secret, but I couldn’t live with myself hiding that from you.”
I leaned up and kissed him.
“I did always want to know what it was like kissing an angel.”
“So you aren’t mad?”
“How could I be mad at you?” I exclaimed.
“Thank you. He said, kissing me.”
I smiled and went to my closet to grab a sweater, then returned with great speed. â€˜My angel’ I thought to myself, smiling even more. I am so amazing. November twenty eighth, two thousand and seven I found out that Jeb Peterson was more than just a human, more than just my boyfriend, Jeb was an angel. I replayed the words “Jeb is an angel” in my head a countless number of times, feeling more amazed each time. I’m pretty positive that my life will never, ever be the same again.
Jeb comes over every night now. He is always here. Adele, Seymour and Jack don’t even know. They can’t see him. I pray they won’t. Jeb and I went to the park yesterday. He gently picked me up and placed me on his feet.
“Jesa, you won’t leave me because of what I told you, will you?”
We danced and kicked powdery snow into the sky, laughing.
It started to get dark, Jeb walked me home. I was exhausted. I drifted to sleep.
The sun arose. It was a beautiful sunset this morning. The orange and pink glowing skies contrasted with the white sparkling snow. I ran through the snow, laughing and carrying on the same way I did when Jeb and I were at the park yesterday. A demon emerged from flames in the sky. I screamed for Jeb, but in his place, Cassandra stood beside me. I trembled with terror. I squeezed my eyes shut, picturing Jeb in Cassandra’s place, but she somehow invaded my mind and wouldn’t let me think of him. I have had many terrifying experiences, but none like this. I trembled and cried, hoping Jeb would show up and save me. I opened my eyes, and I was lying in my bed. It was a nightmare. Jeb was with me all along, sitting in the chair across my room. The only thing that could keep me from breaking down in tears because of Cassandra was Jebs love and protectiveness. I closed my eyes again and listened to the rain change paces, along with my heart. I know that around four, Jeb would have to leave until the next day. He kissed my goodnight and headed off, to wherever angels go.