Jen's journey from a poor worn-out poverty stricken farm to the bright lights in the city. Short story
Jen needed to feel like ' somebody '
Jen watched the dusty dirt rise as the gray hound left her part of the world and entered interstate 57' She'd been counting the days since she was 10 years old when she could leave this poverty stricken place. Her life was dull and drab, poor white trash, a feeling that never left her. Her pa working from daylight to dusk trying to eek out a living from worn-out soil. Electricity just across the road, but couldn't afford the cost of instillation. Sometimes it was even difficult to buy the oil for the coal oil lamps. She trudged one and a half mile to an old country school only finishing the eighth grade. She was super smart and always in her subconscious was the need to be ' somebody '
Jen was a good cook. She'd been cooking for her pa since she was old enough to stand on a foot stool.
Her pa James told her about her ma leaving when she was only one and a half years old. She didn't remember her, but she knew for sure she didn't like her. She used to sit for hours looking at her picture. A picture of her and pa on their wedding day. They looked so happy. " I wonder what happened? " She thought.
James was an old forty year old man, one day he complained of a stomach ache a few days later he started to vomit blood. He was gone two days later.
Jen was eighteen and had earned some money working at the flour grain mill up the road from her house. She saved every penny knowing she was going to leave this ' God forsaken place ' as soon as she saved enough money for the bus fare and a place to live once she reached the city.
She arrived in Littlerock Arkansas the next morning. She was ashamed of her old worn-out suitcase but happy to be in the big city.
She had one good thing going for her she was beautiful with a tall slim figure, perfect white sparkling teeth. She remembered how she'd begged her pa for toothpaste she'd seen at the old country store, but he'd refused telling her to use a mixture of salt and baking soda. She resented it at the time, but she discovered it was really good because her teeth were perfect. She had natural brown hair that had never been cut because her pa told her that long hair was a woman's crown of beauty.
When she stepped off the bus she felt a chill along with joyful excitement. " What do I do now? " she thought. She walked a couple blocks when she noticed a " Help wanted sign " in the window of a doughnut shop. The chubby man behind the counter was friendly and said, " I hope you're looking for a job? " She told him " Yes I'm looking for a job. " He told her that he was the doughnut maker. She would work the counter. The chubby man's name was Frank and they became good friends. She opened up to Frank telling him about her life on the farm and her need to be ' somebody. '
Jen settled in and found a one bedroom apartment close by
one day she noticed a black limousine stop outside the shop. The chauffeur came in and ordered a half dozen cinnamon twists. The windows in the limo. were dark, but she could see the silhouette of a man sitting in the back seat. The limo. driver stopped in at least twice a week. One day instead of the chauffeur coming in the man in the back seat came in. He was at least 15-20 years her senior but handsome. He had thick salt and pepper gray hair a thin mustache, dark eyes slim and muscular, dressed in a suit and tie. He said, " I think I'll try something different, what do you suggest? " Jen looked at all the goodies in the glass case and said, " I like them all but my favorite is the chocolate doughnut. " He told her that chocolate was his favorite too and I'll have a half dozen but only if you will share one with me. Jen was pleasantly surprised and actually blushed. Frank was listening in the back and yelled, " Go ahead Jen, I'll take care of the counter.
He introduced himself." My name is William Stone. I know you are Jen my driver has been telling me about the beautiful ' doughnut girl. " Jen smiled and tried not to appear nervous. It was apparent that William was more than interested in her. He asked her what she liked to do for fun. She told him that she enjoyed a good movie and she loved to dance.
It was December and everyone was beginning to decorate for Christmas. William thought for a minute and suddenly said, " I know what we could do would you like to go to a Christmas dance at my club? " Jen said that she would love to go with him. The prospect of going to a fancy club intrigued her. He told her that he would pick her up on Saturday at eight o'clock.
She knew she didn't have anything fancy enough so she splurged and went shopping. She found a beautiful red velvet dress, black patent leather shoes and a sequin clutch bag. When she looked in the mirror she felt beautiful.
She was content and happy all week anticipating her night of dancing with her handsome new friend. Finally Saturday night arrived and the limo. pulled up in front of her apartment. When she opened the door he told her how beautiful she looked. When she got in the limo. she felt like ' somebody ' for the first time in her young life.
When the dance ended the chauffeur drove them to her tiny apartment. William walked her to the door and said, " May I kiss you good night? " Jen moved close in his arms and kissed him. His eye's were shinning with happiness. He told her that he had a beautiful home he wanted her to see.
She hummed a tune all the next day. Frank knew he was going to lose his counter help but he didn't care. He knew Jen had found someone who loved her and he knew she'd found that someone who made her feel like ' somebody '
Christmas music was playing on the radio and Frank was tapping his feet as he kept time with the rolling pin while he rolled out another batch of doughnut dough.