Then the dream had taken a new twist. There were some gorgeous
satin-coloured suits in the shop. The more she thought about it the more vivid
the dream had become. Suddenly she realises that she has to make a decision;
she has to marry Kenny, or she will have to be brave and go home to her cold,
empty, lonely life. She has to choose her own destiny.
The dream takes a more practical form.
She has just walked out of the shop having bought herself a suit when
she hears the bell ring and is shocked to realise that she is late for her
appointment. She hurries over to the shop door and pulls it open.
Standing there, in the doorway, is Kenny, looking so handsome in his
nice navy blazer. There’s an awkward silence between them, she thinks for a
moment, as they both stare at each other nervously. Then they both say, “Good
She knows that she has to say something. She has to say something
because she knows that if she says nothing the silence is going to kill them.
“Kenny, I don’t wish to go home after what happened. I love you. I’m
sorry, but I can’t marry you. Please believe me, I’m the biggest fool in the
world and I love you, but I can’t.” She smiles but it isn’t a real smile –
it isn’t meant for him; she’s just trying to make it look good.
His face falls as she reaches for his hand in a warm, intimate manner.
There’s no response, no words, no smiles. Just a simple nod.
“Good night, Janis.”
As she turns away from him, she can’t stop her tears from flowing.
* * *
As Janis makes her way down the stairs, she wonders what to
do. The one thing she had feared most about the whole thing had been
that she would have to face reality, admit she had made a mistake. She is an
intense, emotional, strong-willed woman, and a marriage to Kenny is just not
in the cards. But what if she was actually in love with Kenny? She realises
that she is actually very frightened. She knows that Kenny would never hurt
her, but he might. She just doesn’t know how she would cope with him then.
As she starts up the stairs, she sees a tall, dark-haired
man standing there with a scowl on his face and says, “Can I help you?”
He looks at her suspiciously and says, “I’m sorry to say this, but you are
late for an appointment, and your name is not on the list.”
Janis feels a sinking feeling. She glances up the road and
realises Kenny is walking away from her; he’s heading for the police station.
She decides to hurry up and get to the top of the stairs. As she gets in a
minute or two later, she hears a car pull up outside. It’s Kenny’s car. She
can hear his voice telling the driver to wait. She hears him get out of the
car and open the door. She stops at the top of the stairs to give herself a
bit of space; and a minute later the door opens and Kenny slides
“Janis!” he looks at her sadly and says, “I’m sorry, and I’m
sorry for you, for everything, but I love you and I want you in my life.”
Janis’s stomach falls. She can just imagine the last day of
their relationship, it would have been a normal day in their lives – Janis had
just pulled herself together after all the bad news; Kenny had just walked in
to the office, smiled at her and asked her to stay; the staff hadn’t smiled
or made a big fuss; Janis had just told him she loved him and he had just
walked out of the door. Her world had just fallen apart!
But, she has the whole thing in reverse now. She is making the
decision that she has to live with for the rest of her life.
* * *
Kenny and Janis have just fallen asleep together. They
are lying on the sofa. She is tucked up on his side, his arm supporting her
head. Kenny is sound asleep and Janis is wide awake.
As she stares at the ceiling the familiar thought ‘if she was
me, if I was her, would I do the same thing to save my relationship’
comes to her. Janis wants to tell Kenny, but what would happen if he woke
up – would he be angry with her? Maybe he would be hurt by what she had
said. Janis needs to make the decision now. Now.
Janis goes to the telephone and looks at the number she has to
call. She has to call her parents, she has to call her old schoolmates. She
has to face them. She needs to get up and make a decision so that she can
continue her life. She needs to make the decision to go home.
She dials the number of the school where she had taught for four
years and she rings the office and gets through to the secretary’s
office. She has just been told that classes would be cancelled if she didn’t
come in. Janis rushes into the office and gets the secretary to apologise to
her in advance.
When she gets home Janis can’t face Kenny. She can’t face him
yet. She calls her parents. Her mother begs her to come home, says that her
life is in danger and that she needs Janis. It’s not like it isn’t. They are
both scared and Janis’s father says, “You’re taking a big risk, Janis. I don’t
want you to see Kenny again”. Janis knows that she loves Kenny and she loves
her mother and her father, but she can’t risk their lives.
The next day Janis is standing at the bus stop with Kenny in her
arms. Janis is crying. She is crying because she knows she is going to have
to choose; she is going to have to risk everything, and maybe even lose
everything. She’s so frightened about the decision that she is trembling all
over. She can’t wait to go home again. Her body is shaking and she is
calling out in panic, crying, “Please, Kenny, I have to go home. I love you,
but I have to go home. Please, I have to go home.”
Kenny holds Janis in his arms.
* * *
At the end of term, Janis is taking the bus home again when she sees
Kenny sitting on the school bus. He has his head down, and he is reading a
book. Janis walks towards him and her heart breaks a little as she looks at
what she thought was her future. She can’t see it now; she has to make the
decision, but she doesn’t know how. She keeps waiting for her mind to go into
overdrive and give her a decision, but the decision makes itself.
She’s still only just arrived home when Janis’s mother throws
open the front door to her.
“Janis, my darling daughter, what on earth have you done?”
Janis can’t help but feel hurt by this reaction. “It’s all my
decision. My decision. I’ll go home if I have to.”