This is a continuation of a story I wrote here.
Jesse was cleaning out her closet and at the back; she found an old notebook from high school. Wow, she thought, I can’t believe I still have this. It’s been about 20 years since high school.
She flipped it open to see what was in it and found where she’d been practicing her name as if she was married to Jon, her old boyfriend. Jesse’s mind drifted back to one day in Algebra class.
Mr. and Mrs. Jon Malone
Mrs. Jon Malone
Mrs. Jesse Trioli-Malone
Mrs. Jesse Malone
While doodling in her notebook, Jesse was imagining what it would be like to be married to Jon. They were so in love. Every high school girl with a steady boyfriend had pages in their notebooks like the one Jesse was doodling.
Jesse missed him when they weren’t together. She wished every day could be like this past Saturday.
They had gone over Brittany’s house to hang out with friends for the afternoon. Jesse and Jon curled up together on one couch, Brittany and Matt on the other, with their other friends hanging around as well. They just hung out together, listening to music and being silly. There was, of course, plenty of making-out, also.
Eventually, Brittany’s parents had come home and Jon had to go to work. He dropped Jesse off at home and they took a very long time saying good-bye. Jesse knew that Jon would call her when he finished work that night and they’d spend hours chatting about everything and anything.
Jesse closed the notebook and dug back into the closet. But she was still thinking about Jon and their times together. Jesse was amazed at how much she had dreamed about being with Jon for the rest of their lives; how sure she'd been that it would happen.
She had dreamed they would go to college together and spend all their time together on campus. When college was over, they’d move to the city, get a place together and live happily ever after. They'd come back for visits to their families, spending the holidays with them and go back to their place in the city where they were happiest. Life would be perfect.
But that was not to be. Jesse broke up with Jon in his senior year. It was devastating to both of them. So why did it happen? Because Jesse was immature and was being wooed by another guy. The new guy convinced her that Jon was wrong for her, that he was a better person and could have more to offer. And she fell for him, hard. She was infatuated with him and all that he was.
Jon graduated from high school and went to college. Jesse was a senior and thought she was in love with her new guy, Kyle. That relationship was not smooth sailing. There was fighting from the beginning. And manipulation, and lies on his part. Yet, he still managed to convince Jesse that she would never do any better than him.
Jesse stayed locally for college so she could be with Kyle. They eventually married and after many unhappy years, divorced.
Jesse, while battered and bruised mentally, was glad to be moving on and was looking forward to enjoying her life, free of the misery of Kyle. She actually was packing up the house where they'd tried to make a happy home and was moving into an apartment where she knew she would heal.
A few years pass, with Jesse getting her life on track but not finding that someone special with whom to spend her life. That's when she ran into Jon at a local restaurant. He saw her enter but she didn't see him. When Jon finished his meal, he came over to say hello. Jesse's heart beat picked up and her stomach felt like it had butterflies inside. The hug they shared was like home; Jesse felt like she fit in his arms.
They chatted for a few minutes then Jon had to leave. Jesse suggested they get together while he was in town. No definite plans, but when Jesse checked Facebook that night, there was a message from Jon asking for her phone number and suggesting a couple of days to get together. Of course, Jesse responded.
The next week finds Jon at Jesse's house with a glass of wine watching the sunset with Jesse. They spent the evening catching up on everything they had missed during their years apart. They compared divorce stories, kids, jobs, and future plans. Jon was living in another state with his girlfriend; he was in town for a couple more weeks to finalize his move.
They remembered the good and bad times of high school. Jon told Jesse how badly she broke his heart by breaking up with him. Jesse said she was really sorry. They moved on to being friends. While Jon was still in town, they would text and flirt. They even got together a couple more times for old times sake.
Jesse, even knowing that Jon had a girlfriend and was leaving, couldn't help but imagine how life could be if he were to stay with her. She imagined the two of them living happily together in her apartment, raising their kids together, and growing old together. She never let Jon know that she thought more of him than a friend. He was in love with his girlfriend and was moving across country to be with her. Jesse would not be responsible for breaking up a relationship due to her imagination.
Their time together ended, Jon moved away but they still kept in touch occasionally through text messaging and emails. One day, Jon called Jesse. Jesse was a little concerned when she saw who was on the caller ID but happy that he was calling. Jon was very upset because his girlfriend was critically ill and not expected to live. Jesse listened and tried to calm and comfort him. By the time they were done talking, Jon seemed calmer and a little more focused.
Every day after that, Jesse would either call or text Jon to see how he was doing. If too many days went by without hearing from him, she'd get worried. Time went by, Jon started living life again as best he could. Jesse and Jon were talking every day for hours, chatting about life, sharing memories of the past and flirting a little bit. All this time, Jesse was feeling the return of the feelings from high school. She tried to ignore them but at the same time, she couldn't help but imagine, again, how life could be with him. How happy they could be and that it was finally the time for them to be together as a couple. Part of her knew this was not to be, there were too many complications to overcome. The distance, Jesse's family and her ex, Jon's commitment to his girlfriend and so much more.
Jesse decided that she would just have to find a way to put her feelings aside, stop imagining a future that possibly was not to be, and start thinking of Jon as just a friend. She would have to stop the flirting and just be there for him as his friend. As hard as this was going to be, she would rather have him in her life as a friend than not at all. Only time would tell if Jesse could do it.