Jack & Joelle – Chapter 7

Their months apart passed as slowly as the fog rolled in over San Francisco bay, as slowly as the night crawled in over the Seattle, summer sky. Quarters ended after every 2 1/2 months with a two-week gap in which they would alternate visits to each other’s cities. Summers would be spent in his California and winters on her occasionally snowy Alki beach.

Both of them changed during their time apart from one another. Neither of them cheated, heck, they couldn’t even begin to fathom that either one of them would find somebody else to love as well as they loved each other. Their winter visits in Seattle were magical: snow as light as powdered sugar fell over the bay, slowly but surely replacing the sandy shore with flakes of the solidified rain. Joelle found great pleasure in her trips down to San Francisco; her hours alone listening to Lana del Rey albums in her car was a personalized getaway to a nirvana of relaxation which could only come when alone in one’s presence. Hearing another person’s voice when she was by herself made her feel less alone, as though she was with someone comforting without worrying about being judged for being herself.

As the years went on, Jack eventually graduated from FIDM with a degree in men’s fashion. A few months earlier, Joelle had graduated from the University of Washington with a bachelor in journalism. He had made the car journey to the Seattle campus to see her graduate and grasp her diploma in her impeccably manicured hands, wearing his favorite dress. Passing through Oregon state on I-5, she felt different this time although she had made this same trip several times over the past several years. She didn’t want to listen to music. She didn’t want to be alone but she also didn’t want to with somebody else. A tingle crept over her spine and up into her neck as she clasped the steering wheel with her dominant hand and sped off into the distance.

He finally had it. He could see it. He had it in his hands. Seconds ago, the dean of FIDM had handed Jack his diploma, a piece of paper he had been busting himself over for the past six years. He never wore suits; if was going to class, which he never missed, he would be wearing jeans and a t-shirt; if he was at home, he was in a pair of sweatpants and old t-shirt. In the back of her car she had secretly packed all of Igor’s things and Igor himself in his crate in order to surprise Jack with the greatest animal ever. Slight meows every now and again from the sleeping feline in the back of the car gave Joelle the company that she wanted for the long, lonely, journey to northern California.

They awoke in his bed, in an apartment which overlooked the fog-covered bay region. An hour ago, Joelle had snuck out to her car to grab Igor, bring him back to his condo, and pretend to fall asleep into Jack’s arms again. Something scratched his legs and he couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised to feel the soft cuddles of his little, baby cheetah.

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