So Jenny had met a nice boy.
Doing so had been one of the items on the big list of things to do before going to university, her ‘bucket list’, but she didn’t expect it to actually happen. She liked to think of herself as unattainable, independent. It’s only boys without girlfriends that are pathetic. Girls without boyfriends are liberated.
Was Derek her boyfriend? Well, he was a boy, and he was a friend, but no, no. Just a chap to have a nice natter to just make the school day more bearable.
Still, she did take a little advantage of him. She requested that he come with her while she was babysitting Mrs. O’ Peerin’s child Lucy. Babysitting did give her that extra bit of cash for her CDs and various knick-knacks, but still. Having grown tired of that little brat…er…girl, she thought if she had someone else by her side, the task would become more tolerable. Derek was more than happy to come along, he said he would do anything.
So that Saturday night, while Mrs. O’Peerin was off to the cinema to forget her divorced husband, Jenny walked along to the house, Derek by her side.
‘Are you sure you can handle this, Derek?’
‘I’m pretty sure I’ve been through worse.’
‘I thought you’d be good at this, since you are pretty much a big kid yourself.’
As they both entered Lucy O’ Peerin’s screaming caused Derek to jump, which was followed by him landing on the floor. That moment of physical comedy did end Lucy’s cries, which were replaced by a small laugh.
‘Do it again!’ cried the kid.
Jenny rolled her eyes and decided Derek had the situation in hand. Lucy seemed to get along with Derek from what I could see, with him putting on her favourite Happy Green Dinosaur DVD, and reading her a Happy Green Dinosaur bedtime story.
Happy Green Dinosaur. Jenny sighed with relief that she no longer had to bother with that tripe, as she lay down on the couch and waited for the mother.
I pick up her favourite story: Happy Green Dinosaur in the Land of Kitties and Puppies, and see it as what could have been.
I could have heard this story at bedtime. I could have had LOVING parents, reading this to me with a smile, and giving me a good-night kiss. But that could never be. I was born a predator, without the LOVING privileges of humanity.
As I began to read, I began to escape…
I’m no longer in the bedroom, I’m with Happy Green Dinosaur in the Land of Kitties and Puppies. I see bright sunshine, trees with lush green leaves and great big smiles and of course, pink kittens and brown dogs everywhere.
Happy Green Dinosaur is there, as are his friends, the children from Fa-La-La Town, who are singing songs about how important it is to smile, be happy and eat greens.
I want to stay here. I want to escape with Jenny here. Here, I am free. Here, there is no murder or nightmares, no voices bellowing in my head. Here, there is nothing but joy, an escape from the miserable reality.
I walk, no, dance around this new place, my eyes greedily scrutinising this new world. I then run up to Happy Green Dinosaur, his eyes full of tenderness and LOVE.
I say ‘Hello.’ He laughs with joy.
He laughs with joy.
Why does it sound so maniacal?
‘Still dreaming about your perfect little wonderland, aren’t you?’ he questions, his voice now grisly and full of evil intent.
He pounces on me, his eyes full of flame and his teeth jagged with thick saliva dribbling off them. He laughs another insane laugh before opening his massive jaws and swallowing me whole.
I brought myself back to reality, my face wet with tears.
Derek had seemed quite happy when Jenny had brought him here (and so was she as he was saving her a job) but he appeared to be crying after he had put Lucy to sleep.
‘I just wanted a childhood like hers.’ he told her through empty tears.
‘Oh boy,’ said Jenny, rolling her eyes, ‘you sound like a Disney movie.’
Wiping away the tears, Derek turned back to Jenny, ‘I’m sorry.’
‘Let’s just wait until Mrs. O’Peerin gets home, shall we?’
So they both sat on the couch, kicking their feet about in boredom, until Mrs. O’Peerin, that fat old woman, arrived and gave Jenny her payment. As Jenny gave Derek his cut, she asked, ‘So I guess we’re friends now.’
‘I think we are.’
‘So…maybe sometime you might like to come over?’
And he did.
When they were at Jenny’s house, they watched a movie, the 60’s Batman one. The two spent that time in unmoving silence, but there was this one scene that made Derek squirm. After playing ‘Monstrous Alien Monstrosities: Part Deux’, where Jenny won merely because all Derek did was push the buttons without rhyme or reason,Jenny decided to ask Derek something she knew she was going to regret:
‘Would you come with me to that dance on Friday?’
Derek’s face adorned a large, almost disturbing grin at that moment. He immediately began crying out ‘YES YES!’ frantically, but soon calmed down, telling me he was going to ask her the same thing and that with her, he was more happy than he can ever remember being. He even joyously danced the way home.
Well, a date’s a date.
The night of the dance came quickly, even with all the slow classes in between, and Jenny was ready. She wore a red, sparkling sleeveless dress, which was short enough so her legs would be visible. She had ditched the pony-tail, letting her long black hair flow in the wind. She had even applied some glitter to my hair, in hopes of looking more…bewitching.
Grandpa had given her a lift, and his old banger did nothing to diminish the compliments she received from the other students. She knew that would be the reaction, and so walked slowly to where Derek was waiting for eher.
Derek looked a little less attractive, only donning a short-sleeved blue shirt and smart black trousers, nervously sipping a coke.
He said nothing, but Jenny still took his hand.
As she held his hand, adrenaline rushed through her veins. As the music played, the two took over the dance room floor, rapidly dancing like nobody’s business. They held each other close as they twirled around the dance floor.
Derek said ‘Ow.’
Still, Jenny chose to ignore that as she led Derek through the crowds of people, knowing that the crowd would pay her more compliments. While Derek was jiggling about his legs in hopes of making something resembling a dance, Jenny helped him glide throughout the room, and soon, they became one. Just as Derek seemed to be tripping over again, Jenny caught him.
They ceased dancing, Jenny holding Derek in her arms.
Jenny saw Derek pucker up his lips, so she did too. They neared each other and…
‘I’m sorry,’ he said, giving Jenny a quick hug before bolting out of the hall.
Everybody stared in puzzlement.
Jenny ran after Derek, outside into the cold night air.
What was with him? was the thought that kept repeating itself through her head.
What was with him?
She ran outside and when she saw Derek…
He was holding a broken bottle in his hand.