Black &White Testimonial-
Jessie: "Sometimes I think about what it would be like to be a little kid again. Summer was something to look forward to and it flew by fast. The only decision I had to make was what kind of treat I wanted from the ice cream truck. I had no concept of time, no guilt, no confusion, no worries about anything. Things were simple." She pauses a moment "But then again, if I were a kid, I wouldn't know what it was like…to care so deeply…about something. To have something to look forward to. To feel…I don't know…alive? Nervous? Happy? Maybe growing up isn't as bad as everyone else makes it out to be. But then again, what do I know? I'm just a teenager."
Jessie sat playing with a loose thread on her sweater. She appeared to be solely focused on that piece of fabric, but she was actually in another place and time at the moment. And she failed to realize that her thoughts were bringing a conspicuous smile to her face.
Jessie looked up as her fingers let go of the thread. "Huh?"
"I said you're smiling," repeated Dr. Rosenfeld.
"Am I?" asked Jessie.
"It appears that way."
"Sorry." Jessie looked down at her sweater again. She wanted to roll up the sleeves, as it was becoming increasingly hotter by the minute. "Well, I guess I'm happy."
"That's what a smile usually indicates. What are you happy about?" asked Dr. Rosenfeld.
Jessie began to tug at the sleeves of her sweater. "You know…"
"I'm not a mind-reader. Enlighten me."
"Katie comes back tomorrow," said Jessie, almost in a whisper.
"Is that where you were just now? Thinking about Katie?"
"I don't know…maybe," answered Jessie, but they both knew it was a definite yes.
"So what's going on with you two?"
Jessie looked up again. "What do you mean?"
"Well, we skipped last month's session. Last I heard, she was spending the summer in Wisconsin with her family."
"Yeah. She's got relatives out there."
"And she comes back tomorrow?" asked Dr. Rosenfeld.
"Have you spoken to her since she left?"
"Of course. I mean, we talk every day. On the phone, through email…whatever way we can."
"And you miss her?"
Jessie nodded and looked back down. For some reason, the intricate weaving of the material on her sweater was way more comforting to look at right now. She smiled to herself thinking of Dr. Rosenfeld's question. Of course she missed Katie. She missed her every day. She never thought she'd be so happy that school was starting up again soon. That meant summer was over and Katie was finally coming back. The trip to Wisconsin was sort of a last minute thing Katie's parents sprung on her right when school got out. The girls had just recovered from the scare that Jessie might have to move to Australia. But when her dad was offered another job here, he opted for that one and the family stayed where they were. With the new baby coming, Rick decided it wasn't the best time to uproot the entire family. So Jessie and Katie had dodged that bullet and made plans to spend the entire summer together. Until Katie's grandmother, who lived in Wisconsin, fell ill and her parents decided to spend the summer there and spend time with her before it was too late. It had been the longest two and a half months Jessie had ever endured. But Katie was worth it. Worth waiting for. And Jessie couldn't wait to see her face again.
Black and White: -Jessie smiles and looks away from the camera.-
"So she makes you happy."
Jessie nodded. "Yeah. Yeah, I guess she does. Uh…does that mean I'm cured? You know, since I'm happy now?"
"Do you want to be cured?"
Jessie shrugged. "I sort of like coming here. It helps."
"Well, I'm glad. But Jessie, you really don't need to be 'cured' of anything."
"I thought anorexia was an illness."
"It is. But it's not a matter of 'take two of these and call me in the morning.' It's an ongoing struggle. And not just the anorexia. Your self-esteem issues, your shyness. It's all a constant battle. And you've been throwing punches with the best of them. You've been making excellent progress. Katie seems to be playing a big part in your recovery."
"I talk about her a lot, huh?" asked Jessie.
"I think I know everything about her except the exact time she was born and her least favorite Beatle," said Dr. Rosenfeld.
"3:36pm and Ringo," answered Jessie.
Dr. Rosenfeld smiled to himself and shook his head. "So you two are doing well, then?"
"Are you officially…together?" he asked, trying not to sound overly curious or threatening in any way. He understood how delicate the situation was and knew how sensitive Jessie was about it.
"I don't really know. I mean, we never really got a chance to talk about it before she left. We discussed it a little bit at Jake and Tiffany's wedding, but I guess we assumed we'd have the whole summer to figure it out."
"What about your phone conversations?"
Jessie didn't know how to answer that, so she just shrugged. Their emails and phone conversations were always kept innocent. They'd talk about anything and everything except their romantic relationship. They both desperately wanted to discuss it, but neither of them knew how to bring it up.
"And your parents still don't know what's going on?"
Jessie sighed. "I don't even know what's going on. How can I tell them what I don't know?"
"But you like her."
"And she likes you."
"Sounds pretty cut and dry to me."
"But there are other things to consider. It's…complicated."
"It's always complicated. Nothing worth having is ever easy. I'm sure you heard that before," said Dr. Rosenfeld.
Jessie sighed again. "So…I'm making progress, huh?"
"Yeah. And I know a subject change when I see one. Has it come to this? Have you actually grown weary of talking about Katie Singer? Have you really run out of things to say about her?"
Jessie rolled her eyes. This guy always knew how to get a rise out of her. But as her thoughts fell upon Katie once more, she felt a nervous excitement in her stomach just thinking of tomorrow. She was finally going to get to see her again. And as flashes of Katie's face came to mind, the corners of her mouth unconsciously started curling up again. This did not go unnoticed by Dr. Rosenfeld.
"I hate to break it to you, Jessie, but you're smiling again.
"Am I?" asked Jessie. "What can I say? I guess you're just really, really good at your job."
"Yes, thank you. Give me all the credit. I'll take it, even if it's not mine," replied Dr. Rosenfeld, sounding very satisfied.
The next day, Jessie was in her bedroom at her mom's house waiting for 5:00pm to roll around. Katie's flight landed at 2:00pm and Jessie figured it take about three hours for Katie to get home, unpack and do whatever she needed to do before she could go out. Jessie wanted to greet her at the airport, but Katie said she'd rather meet up later once she had time to freshen up. 'Airplane hair' was not exactly the sexiest thing on the planet. Katie didn't reveal to Jessie that was why she wanted to meet up later. But that was exactly why. She wanted to look good for Jessie, after not seeing her for over 2 months.
Jessie stood in front of her mirror, studying her face in different angles. She was just finishing up putting on her lip gloss when her mom knocked on the partially open door.
"Can I come in?"
Karen slowly made her way into her daughter's bedroom. She was still somewhat recovering from her accident walking with a slight limp, but now she was finally able to walk without the support of a cane. She came over and sat on the edge of Jessie's bed.
"You look nice."
"Thanks," replied Jessie, as she sat down on her desk chair.
"Are you excited about seeing Katie again?"
"Is she meeting you here?"
"That's the plan. She should be here in an hour or so."
"Well, I know you two have a lot to catch up on. I just came in to let you know that Henry and I are heading to a movie in a few minutes. But call me if you need anything, okay?"
Jessie smiled. "Okay. Thanks."
As Karen got up, she took another look at Jessie. Her hair was up and styled differently, and she was dressed a lot nicer than she had been dressing the whole summer. She couldn't help but notice how her daughter seemed to blossom over the summer. "You really do look very nice, Jess. Are you wearing makeup?"
Jessie turned away, slightly embarrassed. "A little. Not much. It's just…Katie and I might go to dinner later or something. I just don't want to look like a slob in case we go somewhere nice."
Black and White: -Jessie puts her head in her hands, embarrassed-: "Mothers notice everything."
"Well, there's nothing wrong with looking your best," said Karen as she played with a strand of Jessie's hair. "Anyway, have fun. And call me if you're going to be out later than 11, okay?"
"Sure, mom. Bye."
As Jessie watched Karen leave, she breathed a sigh of relief. She thought she did a good job of covering. She hadn't expected her mom to notice the difference in her appearance. She had momentarily forgotten how astute mother actually was. Then she realized that Katie was just as perceptive and thought maybe she would look like she was trying too hard with the makeup. She stood in front of the mirror again for a few minutes, contemplating wiping the makeup off when she heard another knock at her door.
As the door opened, Jessie turned around to see who it was. Her breath caught in her throat when she saw Katie walk in wearing a huge grin on her face. Jessie stood there, her feet firmly planted on the ground. She couldn't remember a time when she had seen anything so beautiful. She reached back in time, searched every memory she could gather, but failed to find any moment as beautiful as this one.
Black and White: -Jessie looks at the camera incredulously-: "Oh my God."
They both stood there in silence. The bedroom door started to creak loudly as it began to slowly close behind Katie. Katie smiled shyly as she looked Jessie over. She couldn't believe they were finally in the same room together. And Katie wanted nothing more than to run up to her and hug her at that exact moment. But something was holding her back. Perhaps it was the uncertainty of not knowing what Jessie was thinking at that moment. So she stayed right where she was and waited for Jessie to make the first move.
Jessie took a step towards Katie. Katie, in turn, took a step towards Jessie. Jessie stopped and held her gaze on Katie. The silence was killing Katie. She didn't want to be the first one to break, but she couldn't take it anymore.
Katie smiled sweetly at Jessie. "Hi."
Jessie smiled back. "Hi. You're early."
"Yeah. Your mom just let me in. I wanted to surprise you."
"It's good to see you."
Katie bravely made her way towards Jessie. As she stopped in front of Jessie, she reached down and nervously took her hand. "It's good to see you, too."
To Be Continued…