There was an almost clean warmth that surrounded the girls. Penelope and Jessica sat under the bleachers, sun flowing through the slots between the thick pieces of metal. The grass was darker under the bleachers but they didn’t mind.
There was a dampness about the cool air that protected there young faces from the harsh reality of bottomless, clear emotion that they would later face. The cold air protected them, let them swim through the misty day, like a cloud in the breeze.
Jessica sorted her skittles by colour. Eating the red ones, saving the green for Penelope and throwing the rest beyond the eye could see.
Penelope laid in Jessica’s lap. She sat and stared at the other girls. Flirting with boys above the bleachers. Sitting on the track, stretching. Getting ready to cheer on a team that eventually lose, maybe not this game but they would eventually lose the cruel game that we all face, they might get taken by the undertow, thrown around the world. Might even drown in what we all call the game of life.
“Whatcha thinking about?” Jess pushes Penelope’s hair behind her ear. She notices Penelope’s face. Glassy eyes, overthinking something. Poetic indeed, but scary too Jessica. “You okay?” she stares into those eyes of harsh reality, bringing them back to the present.
“Yeah I’m fine, just wanted to,” Penelope reaches into the skittles bag, with only greens left and stares back at Jessica. “You, are everything,” she exclaims, biting into the skittles dramatically as if she hadn’t eaten in weeks.
Penelope looks at Jess, who looks back at her. Penelope starts to chuckle, looking out at the sun dripping down through the bleachers. Jessica starts to laugh back, once they start the two can’t stop, even if they don’t know what exactly they’re laughing at.
“What?” Jessica cackles.
Penelope looks back at the light blowing in through the brakes of the bleachers.
“It's nothing. Really nothing.” Penelope laughs, as she sees the light hit Jessica’s eyes.
“You're just like.” Penelope stops herself then keeps going “you're like the best person I know.”
Jessica looks at Penelope, her eyes are a crystal clear emerald green, glimmering in the Sun. Almost as if a sprinkling of Joy fell upon the two, They continued to look at each other, Eye to eye.
Penelope focuses in on Jessica's smile. Jessica’s smile was always calm, serene. Her smile was like a hug, an embrace. The type of smile that made you feel things, that people wrote stories about.
Jess however couldn't focus on one aspect of Penelope, she could swim through the words unsaid. The words of beauty, the words of sophistication, the words of perfection.
Penelope will always be perfect in Jessica's eyes.
“I wrote you something,” Jessica says, unsure of herself. A shiver is sent down her spine and her mouth goes dry as sand. Penelope’s mind was a vast mirror to society, and to Jessica, all she wanted to do was show Penelope her love.
“Lemme hear it!” Penelope says with genuine excitement. She pushes herself into a sitting position, opposite Jessica, patiently waiting for a masterpiece of happiness.
“Ok.” Jessica begins to read a story. A story of a princess so bold and brave that Jessica has to bring her voice down an octave to read her lines. This princess, Jessie, had a necklace of clear emerald green that told her what to do. It told her when to share and how to help people. Jessica, looked over at Penelope to see the face of a brazen warrior, like princess Jessie wanted to be. The princess fought for her villages freedom. Travelled through the arctic and won. When she came home she made her necklace king.
“So she would never have to leave it” Jessica readout, with a raspy voice.
Penelope sat, in awe of Jessica.
“Your mind is the most beautiful thing, I have ever seen,” Penelope whispers, in admiration of the power Jessica possesses. “You’re words they’re.” Penelope stops herself as she watches a tear drizzle onto Jessica’s cheek.
“Hey, hey,” Penelope says, holding onto Jess’s chin, moving it so they’re looking eye to eye again. “Hey. You’re amazing.” Penelope went on “You are perfect.”
Jessica chuckled as Penelope wiped the tears off of her cheeks.
“I just, I don’t know what to do. I want to share my work I want to..” Jessica takes a pause, she’s awaiting the crashing of words Penelope is about to unleash. But instead, Penelope holds her hands, tight.
“And One day, everyone is gonna read your work. Were gonna go to new york, and we’re gonna live together, without the stupid people who can’t see how perfect you are. And we’re gonna write, and we’re gonna keep writing. Everything’s gonna be just fine because I’m right here. And I’m not going anywhere.” Penelope says, staring into Jessica’s weepy eyes.
The entire world was out there, waiting for them, so why were they so scared. Suddenly a shower of eyes fell upon the girls. Staring at them holding eachother, unaware of the story, quick to judge.
There’s a chuckle from the track as a group of girls look under the bleachers. What a sight to find. An emotionally dishevelled Jessica and an empathetic Penelope. If they only knew the whole story.
But the laughing kept growing, waves of laughter surrounding them, Drowning them. Chuckle by chuckle Jessica started to cry more as Penelope packed her bag. She grabbed the skittles and cramped them into the small pocket of her patten leather book bag.
Jessica sat, frozen. She couldn’t move, couldn’t think. The laughter was too loud and the voices were too loud and everything screamed at her, bursting her eardrums, splashing up against her face. Penelope stared at her, then jammed her notebook into her bag and put it in her lap. Jessica didn’t notice. She noticed the whispers, she noticed the giggles, she noticed the people who would be taken down by the tide in ten years but she couldn’t notice Penelope trying to calm her down.
Slowly the crowd dispersed, and with it went Penelope, leaving Jessica, alone and broken. She wanted to be her warrior, she wanted to fight in the arctic, she wanted to marry her emerald necklace and make her emerald necklace the king of her village. She wanted to move to new york and write and be with Penelope. She wanted to be able to float in the world with Penelope at her side, not a care in her head.
But alas, she couldn’t swim. So she grabbed her bag and walked through the flowing breaks of light in between the damp, dark, grass. Maybe she’s not princess Jessie, maybe she’s just Jessica. at least she still has her emerald green necklace.