When Jordan rode his bike back to his house, he was feeling pretty good. He was living in two different worlds and he was thankful for that. At least part of the time he had a place to escape to, and his grandfather and Henry helped make life a lot easier to handle.
As he pulled up to his house, he headed around to the back and put his bike under the deck. He took the stairs two at a time and as he grabbed the handle to the sliding glass door, he froze.
Jazmin and his dad were having a heart to heart in his kitchen. At his kitchen table. His very drunk dad who didn’t say more than a couple of words to him at a time was sitting there with Jazmin and they were shooting the breeze like old friends.
Jordan slid open the door and stepped inside. Jazmin turned her head casually and said, “Oh, hi Jordan.”
“What are you doing here?” he asked suspiciously.
“I told you I wanted to talk to you,” she said matter of factly.”
“I told you I would see you in school.”
“Jordan, that’s enough,” said his father. The girl came all the way over here to see you. You could act a little nicer.”
“Dad, stay out of it. Better yet, you two can keep talking. I’m going upstairs.”
“Wait,” cried Jazmin. “Can we talk? I’ve been waiting for a while for you to come home.”
“Oh, then you must’ve seen quite a show by now. I think it’s time for you leave.”
“Jordan no. Wait a sec. Can’t we talk on the front porch? Just you and me?”
He didn’t know how to get rid of her. He just wanted this to end as quickly as possible. Getting her out of the front door was a good first step.
“Ok, come on.” As Jordan walked past his father, he looked down into the mug he was holding. Sure enough, there was coffee in there. Not vodka like he usually drank.
Jazmin walked confidently through the house toward the front door. When Jordan got there he looked back at the table. He noticed it was turned at a different angle than usual which wasn’t uncommon for him to find. Then he noticed there was no glass in any of the picture frames and that wasn’t unusual either, except he didn’t come home to find the glass all over the floor. Someone had cleaned it up before he got there.
Taking a deep breath, he turned from the table and followed Jazmin outside onto the porch.
“Thanks for cleaning that up.”
“No problem. Just so you know, I have the same situation with my Uncle Alby. This is nothing new to me.”
“Sorry to hear that.”
“Why didn’t you ever tell us Jordan?”
“What? That my house is a freakin’ nightmare? No thank you. I can deal.”
“Please stop doing that.”
“Doing what Jaz?” he said with exasperation.
“Acting like you can handle the world on your shoulders.”
“I can. It’s what I do every day.”
“I thought we were friends Jordan.”
“What? You can’t be friends with someone whose life isn’t perfect?”
“Don’t even try it. You know who you’re dealing with.”
Jordan looked away and Jazmin said, “I meant because you didn’t come clean. You can’t hide things like this from your friends. You’re treating me like I’m a stranger.”
“Come on Jaz. You know better than anyone what it’s like. When people know your business it gets harder to hold things together. I just want to pretend everything is normal so I don’t have to deal with this all of the time.”
“I’m sorry Jordan. I get that. I really do. It’s just that I feel horrible like I’m the worst friend. You’ve been going through this and I haven’t been there for you.”
“How could you Jaz? You didn’t know. Besides, if it makes you feel any better, you pretty much know me better than anybody, even Danny.”
“Yeah, that’s why I was surprised that you thought I would ever be interested in your friends. I can’t believe that you are even interested in your friends.”
They both laughed at that.
“Well, who are you interested in? Jazmin asked.
“No honestly. Are you up for it?”
“Yes,” she stated. “Tell me.”
“Someone like you.”