Your emotions will save you
Photo credit: Darrin Atkins
“You’ve got a new assignment,” said the metro editor at Thomasville Gazette, one of the last daily newspapers in the Midwest.
“Not another puff piece," said reporter Jenny Thomas, who was related to the founder of her paper, the great “Terrible" Thorn Thomas.
“Hey, those puff pieces pay the bills."
“Yes, Mr. Porew."
Jenny straightened her full-length green dress and twisted on the big white buttons. She was a young, energetic, idealistic black woman who loved her job as a reporter.
“What is it?” she asked with anticipation.
Mr. Porew pointed his finger across the room at the old faded city map he had on the wall.
“Northeast corner,” he said.
“There’s nothing there," said Jenny. “The sugar mill closed down years ago."
“The big brick house. Go see the woman there. People say she’s never left the residence, not since she tripled the rent on everyone.”
“She’s all alone inside that five-story building?" asked Jenny.
“That’s your job, to find out. Go on now. I need the story by midnight."
“On my way." Jenny stood up with her notepad and phone.
“Take Jorge if you need some muscle."
“Jorge? I beat him in arm wrestling last night at the bar. I can handle myself.”
“I know. Be careful out there.”
Jenny stepped outside the big brick newspaper building, the place she loved more than her own apartment. Her mind was already thinking about how to start her story, the information about the financial hardship that the mill bankruptcy caused on countless families.
Jenny remembered her first series in the paper, how she had to chronicle the struggles and sudden money problems that plagued so many people. One part escaped her memory, about the woman who owned the five-story building and why she wanted everyone out so quick.
Jenny drove her little white car up the long dusty road and parked.
“Doesn’t look scary at all," she said to herself, unconvincingly.
The darkness came all of a sudden. She felt for her phone in the left pocket if her green dress. She saw the time and it was 7:45 p.m.
The front door seemed impossibly tall. Her reporter instincts helped her remember lots of details, as she needed them for her stories.
After a moment the door opened and a pretty young white woman in a dark black dress opened the door and stepped outside.
“Again, my name’s Miss Lish Silver, just like it sounds.”
“Yes, thank you so much for helping me with the corners. It was really frightening.” Jenny cried a bit, overwhelmed she was with so many emotions.
“Oh sweetie, you always have me to protect you from harm," said Miss Silver.
The darkest night descended upon them and Jenny could just barely see Miss Silver.
Jenny reached out to her new friend and they hugged tightly. Jenny felt dizzy, but coherent.
“Here’s your car, right where you left it. You’ll see the outline of the road once you’re in your way.”
“I’ll never forget you,” said Jenny as she looked away, as she had to hurry to meet her deadline. She drove off and cried, for a long time she cried. It was both fear and passion.
She looked at the time on her phone and it showed 7:47 p.m.
That couldn’t be right, she thought. She just experienced two full hours of memories. Jenny had fallen in love.
She stopped at the closest cafe and typed up her story as fast as possible.