Jenny was a pretty girl. Like a movie star from the forties. Susan Hayward. Myrna Loy. That kind of pretty. Her boyfriend, Don, had a face that would make a mother cry. But he had money, and he spent it, freely, on Jenny.

Jenny grew up in foster homes. A turbulent childhood, to say the least. It scarred her; beautiful as she was on the outside, inside, she was a mess. Like a swirling hole that never stopped and nothing could ever fill.

Don thought he could fill that hole. He bought her clothes and jewelry. He bought her a black Miata. What Jenny wanted, Jenny got. Maybe Don had a hole, as well; if she said, jump, Don would say, how high.

He wasn’t much to look at, but he was a charmer, and he had money. Don used to hang around the clubs, and around the bands, for the girls, of course. The girls would hang around Don for the same reason the band members did. Don was in what you might call “sales.” Whatever you were looking for, he either had it or he could get it.

He was a busy man, enterprising, some would say, and Don had a different girl every night of the week. Until he met Jenny, that is.

She was very, very pretty, and Don was crazy about her. His time and attention all went to Jenny, and it poured through her like a sieve.

One night we were at Falco’s, Jenny and Don came up to the table. We’re getting married, they told us. Don said, Honey, show ‘em your ring, and Jenny looked at him and sighed. Don talked about wedding plans; Jenny yawned and said, “let’s go.”

They left, and we shook our heads. We gave it a month. Maybe two at the most.

The economy’s getting better, they say. That’s news if you live around here. A straight-line storm came through our town. Left homes and lives in splinters. You do whatever you can, sometimes. Sometimes, whatever you have to.

Jenny and Don are still together. I saw them the other day, I was at Sweeney’s, in the drive-through. There’s a motel across the street. A by-the-hour place.

A man knocked at one of the rooms. Jenny answered, barely dressed. They chatted for a moment. She waved him in and nodded before she closed the door.

Don was outside on his phone. He checked his watch and nodded back. Still in “sales”, still the go-to guy.

I wondered now when he said jump, if she would say, how high, and I smiled and thought, poor Jenny.

Maybe I have a hole, as well.



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