I cut my teeth writing on Hubpages back in 2009. I've written 17 novels, numerous songs, and short stories since. I love to write love.
Lost in Love
The far, faraway look in High School Junior student Jane Leavens's eyes was only as far as Senior Justin Zolerman as he talked with his newest main squeeze, Beth Mitchel. Justin was so handsome with long wavy brown hair and always dressed in the coolest worn and faded bell-bottom jeans and tie-dye T-shirts. Those round John Lennon-type glasses so enhanced his ocean blue eyes.
Jane was very pretty but didn't realize how pretty she was. Being pretty counted for popularity and attention in the 70s but mainly if you hung out with the "Cool Crowd." Anyone can go back through High School Year Books years later and see many good-looking kids they ignored at the time.16-year-old Jane went pretty much unnoticed walking through the halls of Franklin High School. She was from a middle-income family. Her father was a night foreman in a local factory and her mother worked part-time at a local beauty salon. Her father didn't like the "Hippie Look" which made Jane even more attracted to Justin Zolerman.
Jane wasn't allowed to wear shorter skirts like the other girls. All of her dresses and skirts were hemmed just below her knees. One could say that Jane Leavens was never allowed to dress "Groovy." Jane was sitting at her desk in Mrs. Harmon's English class and had made one of those multiple folded passing notes and handed it to Sally Colter to hand to Melany Raider. Sally started to hand the note to Melany but Kevin Mosser grabbed the note from Sally's hand. If looks could kill from all three girls, Kevin would have been incinerated.
Jane whispered loudly, "Kevin, you give that back!" Mrs. Harmon, who had been writing on the chalkboard turned around quickly, saw Jane leaning toward Kevin, and said, "Miss Leavens, do we have a problem?" Jane's face was blushing red as she answered, "No Mrs. Harmon." Kevin was smirking as he put the note in his shirt pocket. Mrs. Harmon saw him pocket the note and the look on his face.
She pointed at him and said, "Kevin, bring the note to me." He held his hands out and said, "What note? I don't have anything." She snapped back, "Jane is obviously upset and I believe you have a note she was passing as I was writing lessons on the board." Kevin reached in his pocket, quickly unfolded the note, tearing part of it, and defiantly read it aloud as he walked to the teacher, "Justin is so dreamy! I wish I could be Jane Zolerman."
Lesson from the Teacher
The class erupted in laughter as Mrs. Harmon ripped the note from his hands and angrily ordered him to go directly to Principal Jodes's office. Mrs. Harmon hushed the class and saw tears in Jane's eyes. Melany and Sally were trying to comfort her. Mrs. Harmon walked to Jane, held out her hand, and said, "Come with me." It terrified Jane to walk past Justin Zolerman's girlfriend Beth Mitchel who was seated in the back of the classroom by the door. She simply covered her eyes as she walked by her. She could hear a few more snickers as they went out the door.
Mrs. Harmon took Jane to the Teacher's Lounge, bought her a Mars candy bar and a Pepsi. She handed Jane's torn note to her and said, "I know how it is to hurt like you're hurting now. Someone overheard me talking to a friend about a boy when I was your age. The whole school knew by the end of the day. I had to go through teasing and even what I thought was tormenting at the time but I plowed my way through. It didn't take them long to move on to the next newest gossip." Jane wiped her tears and asked, "How long did it take?"
Mrs. Harmon smiled and said, "Long enough for me to realize that the beauty of life is always close to the smile of a true friend. Let your friends help you get through this." Mrs. Harmon allowed Jane to stay in the Teacher's Lounge until the end of the day. Not long after Mrs. Harmon left, Jane heard what sounded like three very hard whacks in the hall by Principal Jodes's office.
The next couple of weeks were tough for Jane Leavens. She would embarrassingly look away when she passed Justin Zolerman or Beth Mitchel walking through the halls. Mrs. Harmon was right. In less than a month the whole school was talking about Freda Larson being pregnant and Ralph Jones being busted for marijuana possession. Jane was glad to be old news.
The following year at graduation, Jane was seated with Melany and Sally in the front row, all dressed in their gowns. Beth Mitchel walked past them, held her left hand out showing an engagement ring to Jane, and snarled, "Soon to be Beth Zolerman." It was like Beth was throwing the final teenage High School foolish jab at Jane. As Melany and Sally mumbled, "Skank and sleaze," Jane simply smiled and said, "I love my friends." Not long after graduation Jane married Robert Avery who was from a small town in the same county. He wasn't, "Hippie Cool" but did have long hair and was a bit of a redneck. Jane's dad even liked Robert.
Fifty years later, Jane was standing on the porch watching Robert walk with their dog, Molly in the backfield toward the woods behind their home. There was a strong cool breeze and she smiled as she saw that Robert was talking to and laughing with Molly. She couldn't hear what he was saying but could see both were happily playing. She thought of how she'd spent nearly fifty years with that gray-haired old guy. Their marriage was never perfect but it was perfect love. Again, Jane had that far, faraway look in her eyes but this time it wasn't for a cute boy in bellbottom jeans. It was for a man. It was for the only man she ever allowed to roam in her heart.
She reminisced when she and Robert were young, he would spontaneously dance with her in parking lots, waiting in line at stores, and even at the doctor's office. She smiled and thought out loud, "I bet Justin Zolerman was just too cool to dance spontaneously." She thought of that terrible day in English class and felt the tears coming. The memory and hurt faded away when she thought of Melany and Sally. She watched her crazy old husband dance with their dog.
Robert saw her watching. He waved and grinned. As Jane waved back at him, she remembered what Mrs. Harmon had told her that day, "The beauty of life is always close to the smile of a true friend." She remembered so many wonderful things she'd experienced with Robert in her life. He was indeed her best friend. Her faraway tears rolled over her smile as she stepped off the porch and walked to the field.
© 2022 Tom Cornett