(chicago november 2008)
jules was happy not to have to travel by plane this holiday season to visit her mom in chicago. she had been settling into her new apartment close to both the university and her mom’s. the one thing most missing for her was finding a new therapist, but she was still feeling hesitant after what happened with doctor mann. she was constantly on edge and protecting her mom from her last months in brooklyn and everything that….changed. but she was throwing herself into her new job with the media company and she was just tickled to be making music playlists for their new venture online music site. and she hadn’t gotten a hang up since she changed her cellphone to a chicago based number again. it was hard to give up her old brooklyn number and the memories that the number contained with….it was so hard to say her name, even in her mind.
jules kept a box on the top shelf of her bedroom closet with letters from jack, files from detective nelson and the case and a ton of pictures from her college days and their lives in brooklyn. the box felt right having all of it together and in one place. she didn’t stumble upon a memory by accident anymore.
her cellphone interrupted her thoughts…
“hey sweetie, what time do you think you’ll be over on thursday? I have a surprise guest coming for dinner.”
“fun, mom. I do need to catch up on some music stuff before coming over so probably about 3
“okay jules, so I know to plan for around 4.”
jules chuckled. her mom knew her all too well. she always ran late when she left from home midday….harder for her to get started versus keep going. ever since she was a child.
“and who is this surprise guest? I know it’s tough for you to keep a secret. you get too excited!”
“well jules this is a secret I am going to keep this time. even if you think I will cave I won’t!”
jules chuckled at this.
shortly after she hung up with her mom jule’s cellphone rang again, this time from an unknown number. that was odd. it had been so long since she had gotten a hang-up. no message. jules decided to put it out of her head since she didn’t really have a space to process these fears in chicago yet.
jules checked her backpack to make sure she had all her notes with her for the talk tonight. she was so excited to give this talk to the incoming freshmen at the university. she hasn’t been back for any of the reunions, for obvious reasons. she would get nothing but a barrage of questions if she hung out with her classmates, but this freshmen group knew nothing about her and wouldn’t have any of the details through the grapevine because the legal proceedings kept things very private. she felt like this could be a reunion with her school she could actually enjoy. plus the talk was the last thing she had on her agenda other than some catch up for work that she had before thursday and she was really excited about thanksgiving and seeing her mom and surprise guest. she had been planning this talk about getting into a career in the arts for quite some time and she not only couldn’t wait to get to campus but she also didn’t want it to be over.
her cellphone was ringing but she had no idea where it was. it was in here somewhere, buried under her file folders of notes for the talk, maybe under her three outfit choices. shit, she missed the five rings and it was going to voicemail when she finally finds it under her cute new leather jacket she was excited to wear tonight. one new voicemail….this ought to be important otherwise she’d be pissed about the interruption. only the crackling of what sounds like someone in a car or on a train and breathing but nothing….and it goes on for like a minute or so. she didn’t have time to wonder anymore about this and getting scared for no reason wasn’t on her agenda for tonight visiting the campus again.
“miss parkson, when you first graduated did you apply to regular jobs or did you just focus your efforts on artistic ones?”
this got a laugh from the crowd of young people in the auditorium.
“thanks for your question, stephanie from the west wing. by the way, that was my wing when I was a freshman and I think you’ll have a blast there. my path was pretty circuitous, I worked a lot of service jobs and odd jobs on my path to finally working in the arts. I think all work brings dignity and should be respected, so not sure what you mean about regular jobs. “
this gets another chuckle from the freshmen.
jules is just about to call on the next student when she sees movement in the back of the auditorium. she sees a woman about her age entering the room, looking up at stage and then swinging the doors open and quickly as she entered to exit. the back half of the room all turned around at the commotion. jules could feel the know in her stomach grow as the interruption stymied her train of thought and threw her off course. there was also something distinctly familiar about the way this woman had carried herself in and out of the room. she had to put it aside and gain control of her breathing again.