Notes From Jon chapter one

Everyone has a nemesis. Mine was named Jasmine Jensen.

Jasmine was exotic looking. She had long creamy brown hair that almost blended into her skin. Once I went over her house and stayed the night. That’s when I found out she was adopted. We were playing Barbies – she had everything. I couldn’t believe that someone could have all that STUFF – including a bedroom of her own and still be unhappy with it. I was supposed to stay the night. There weren’t many other girls my age at church and our parents really wanted us to get along, even at ten years old. This was that attempt for us to get to know each other.

I don’t remember what happened exactly, I just remember Jasmine being upset and going to her mother to cry about it. When her mother didn’t agree, Jasmine shouted ‘you don’t love me because I am adopted!’ I was shocked that she would use that defense, because my father had been adopted and had taught me my entire life that love was not for the one who bred you but for the one who fed you – and that adopted children were ‘chosen’ just like the children in Narnia were ‘chosen.’

It was even harder to like her after seeing what an obnoxious brat she was at home. She was worse at home than she was at church, which was bad enough. We never really got along after that and her mother took me home shortly after Jasmines fit. I never did get to stay the night.

Jasmine had a brother that was her age. His name was Jonathan. The odd thing about the Jensen’s is they all had the same initials, except their father, Leonard. Everyone was J.J.J. It made me think of Spiderman and J Jonah Jamison, but I never asked why they did it.

Jonathan wasn’t very tall at ten, but he did love to torture me. When I got stitches in my leg, when I was about twelve, he made some snide remark about me shaving my legs. He laughed, but I wished I could hit him then.

He was popular, like his sister. Popular, middle class, with all the things that that meant in our world, friends, music, THINGS. And he was cute, not quite as cute as his older brother Jeremiah, the eagle scout straight a student, but if he was going to look anything like his older brother, his future looked fairly bright.

The Jensen’s were so perfect. Even if Jasmine wasn’t really related by blood, she was still in that perfect little Mormon family. She played piano. They were always asking her to fill in at church, imagine, being twelve and filling in for adults.

Anyway, she’s the reason I taught myself how to play.

My family couldn’t afford to pay for lessons like hers could, but my father did have a piano. It had a very odd, long, poignant history. It was the only thing he had of his fathers. My grandfather had played for Tommy Dorsey when he was alive. The piano, with the thick enamel paint that had faded from white to a sick yellow, still showing glints of gold on the trim from it’s band days, had been sitting in our living-room since we moved to Banning, California. I would watch my father play. He was unusually fond of the Moonlight Sonata. I would watch him, imitate him, then look at the sheet music and compare where my fingers were to where the notes were. My style was a mix of play by ear, since my father did and never played properly per music sheets, and reading, since I picked up a lot of things after teaching myself that my father never played, like Truly by Lionel Richie.

I spent several years in Banning, but one year, we moved to Las Vegas. It wasn’t bad, being fourteen and living in Vegas, except that one time that guy followed me home and asked me to get into his car. The great thing about leaving Banning when I was thirteen, was coming back when I was fifteen. I knew everyone when I came back, but they all looked at me differently. Suddenly the guys were paying attention to me. Of course they were paying attention to me. I had boobs. Rather impressive rack, if I do say so myself, for fifteen, at least.

They all looked a little different too. Everyone was taller, guys had broader shoulders, and all of them seemed to have forgotten that I was, or had been, a tomboy, or that my father was their coach, suddenly, they were actually interested in talking to me like I was a GIRL. It was a strange wonderful but new thing.