Tess didn't know what to do with herself. She stayed for the longest time leaning against the full length mirror in the restroom. She studied her finger-nails. They were pathetic. She needed to take vitamins. Finally she gave way with a sigh. What was she trying to do here? How could she just walk in on Jory? As if he'd listen to a word she said.
It finally hit her, how drained she was. How she should be asleep, right now. She wanted to go home and get in her comfy flannel pajammas and crash. She tired not to think what Jory saw when he looked at her. She was not that person, she told herself. She was not. Yet deep down, she knew she could be. Still.
There were just certain things she had to live with, with herself over the years. She might have been twenty-three, but had seen enough in her life to be forty-three. She'd taken care of mother when she was small. But then again, they'd told her, she was her sister. That she was just a little liar. She didn't believe the truth. There were a lot of things she'd been told. But she never believed any of it. She knew what she saw. She did what she did out of survival.
Even in first grade, she knew she wasn't like other girls. And if she knew what was good for her, she'd better keep her mouth shut. They knew she was different too. Dirty, gritty skin. Hair that had been killed by dye her mother would try first on her, to see if she liked it while Tess went hungry, all along. But then again, she never knew exactly what happy was. And if she had it, did she deserve it.
She wasn't even sure now. Tess let the tears flood her face. She could not see anything good come of her. Still. But this really wasn't about her and if she didn't think about herself..everything would be OK.
She splashed her face with warm water. It was time to wake up. Go on. And she would. So she made it through quietly, not saying a word to anyone.
"What's the matter?" Molly asked on the way home.
"Nothing." Tess shook her head, wondering what there was at home to eat. But Puck took care of that. He had something in the crock pot.
"Sal's brother came by." Puck told both of them. He'd done the laundry. Tess looked around the place. Puck went to town with the cooking and household stuff. "Kramer took Sal to the hospital."
"What? To the psych ward?" Tess wondered how long he'd be there.
"Psych ward?" Molly looked at them both serious. "What happened?"
"It was nothing." Tess winced. She plopped against the couch as if she needed some place to take refugee.
"No. Sal..Sal went to see the baby." Puck nodded.
"He did?" Molly questioned as she went to put her stuff away and make a phone call.
"Look, you've got some mad skills, when it comes to taking care of people. Why aren't you a nurse? You could even be a doctor." Puck told Tess as he scooted in next to her.
"I wouldn't have the energy for it." Tess sighed.
"You should think about it." He put his arm around her.
Tess nodded. She slightly smiled. It was funny, she thought now, how he had a way of making her believe it true. Tess bit her bottom lip. Maybe she could be that good.