Hugs are a wonderful gift to receive. They make you feel warm, and help you realize the people out in the world who care enough to take the time to press their happiness into your heart.
It’s too bad that Jocelyn didn’t see it this way.
In this time and era, hugs have been known to be almost as overused and meaningless as the acronym LOL, and the fact that Jocelyn was in a high school where people enjoy hugging just a LITTLE bit too much - I guess you could say that they pressed a little bit too much happiness into her heart. Because Jocelyn exploded. In a classroom. At a teacher... just let me explain from the beginning.
It was a Tuesday morning, and Jocelyn’s mother had announced to the school that the divorce between her husband and herself was officially in action. Jocelyn had dressed in a pair of jeans and a casual tee-shirt with a smiley-face on it.
A matter of minutes after she had entered school, she was hugged by Laura Woods and smiled at by a group of seniors. Jocelyn smiled back in hopeless confusion.
Oh, did I fail to mention that Sharon Summers, or I guess now she was Sharon Reynolds, had not broken the news to Jocelyn that her parents’ divorce was now open to everyone to gossip about.
As she walked to her locker another hug was passed to her from a girl whom she hadn’t talked to in months.
On Jocelyn’s way to the classroom, she accepted two more hugs, and wondered if someone was playing a practical joke on her.
A matter of hours later, Jocelyn was coming from lunch and had hugged so many of the students that she figured that it could be National Hug day or something.
Jocelyn went to meet Nadine in the bathroom. The handicapped stall was empty, so she waited. And waited. Oh, and waited...
Jocelyn finally decided to open her lunch. She was taking out her water bottle when she heard sniffling in a neighboring stall. As I have said in the past, out of the two, Jocelyn was more outgoing, and Nadine was more enclosed.
“Hello?” Jocelyn questioned to the stall next to her.
“Is there someone in here?”
There was another long silence, and then a voice replied, “Joss?”
Jocelyn smiled, “Nad!”
They were now both eating in the handicapped stall when Jocelyn made the realization that Nadine had been crying. And despite the fact that she was upset over the divorce, she was in a good mood and was being extra bubbly. “Nad, were you crying?”
Nadine’s smile vanished from her face, “Yeah”
“I was - well, is there anything that you want to tell me?” Nadine knew that she was being a bit too harsh for Jocelyn’s state, but didn’t apologize or take back what she had said.
“Not really sure what you mean,” Jocelyn didn’t want to tell Nadine. Because if she did, it would make it real. If Nadine didn’t know about it, then there was still a chance that things could change back to how they used to be. But sadly, this chance had been stolen from her by her own mother.
Nadine sighed and took a bite of her sandwich in silence, and then bursted out, “I know about your parents’ divorce!”
Jocelyn stopped smiling.
“Joss. Joss! Joss?”
“Nad, but how...?”
Nadine swallowed her saliva and then answered, “Don’t you know?”
“Joss. Everyone knows.”
“The - the divorce,” Nadine didn’t want to say it. Because like Jocelyn she too knew that if people knew about the divorce, then it would be real. And this was a reality that neither Nadine or Jocelyn would be able to live with.
Lunch ended and now the hugs had begun to make more and more sense to Jocelyn. She walked into her science class and realized that she had forgotten her homework in her locker.
“Um, Mr. Fenby, can I go to my locker? I left my...” but Mr. Fenby cut her off.
“Of course Miss Summers, I know that you have a lot on your mind right now. Go right ahead”
Jocelyn had always been a good student. Teachers liked her... sure. Maybe she wasn’t the top student in her class, but she still respected and tried to be respectful to all teachers. In this moment, her entire school career and reputation changed.
Mr. Fenby looked up from his computer, “Yes Jocelyn”
“I need to say something. No this is not in any way about you. This is about everyone. I don’t get why you all think that you know me just because I might have talked to you once,” she started pointing to people.
Jocelyn pointed at Mr. Fenby and passive aggressively yelled, “Sure - you might grade my papers,” Jocelyn pointed to a girl in the front left of the classroom, “And you, Melissa, you might talk shit about me and then smile at me when I am letting you copy my math homework,” Jocelyn pointed to a boy in the back center of the classroom, “Matthew, you dated me for attention and then broke my heart. None of it means that you know me!” Jocelyn stopped to catch her breath and stared at the floor. Nadine stood up from her seat and Jocelyn resumed her rant in warm tears, “And you,” Jocelyn said pointing to Nadine, “You... you are the only real one. So you might as well sit back down and enjoy the show. Because I’ve got something to say to everyone else in here. Fuck. You,” and Jocelyn slowly walked out of the classroom.
Nadine followed her scattered and confusedly. At first Nadine assumed that Jocelyn was going to a bathroom to let out her tears, but when she passed the bathrooms Nadine questioned, “Joss, where are you going?”
There was no answer. But Jocelyn began to walk faster and faster.
“Joss! Where are you going?” Nadine was now crying too.
But Jocelyn stopped, and Nadine waited for her answer. It never came.
Nadine wiped away her tears and yelled for the world to hear, “Joss!”
“Nad, I’m going to my locker,” Jocelyn said calmly.
Nadine didn’t have to say anything. But everyone else did.
Teachers and students poured from classrooms and offices. One freshman questioned, “What the hell is going on here?” and a teacher replied with, “Shhhh,”
Phone calls were made to the parents of both Miss Summers and Hart. But it didn’t matter. Their parents were more angry at the teachers and students than at their own children. Because school a place that was supposed to be safe and made for learning was now serving the same purpose of a bedroom.
Only crying and tears came from this place. And thank god the girls now had a valid excuse for taking a few days off from school.
Just a girl...