Sussy immediately responded to Jill’s text saying, “But why are y’all hanging out? You JUST broke up with your boyfriend!” Jill replied “We were both wanting to see Jessie. Just hanging out. It’s not a big deal.” This very in-depth textathon was happening all while Desmond was hanging out with their group of friends, none the wiser. Sussy and Jill eventually stopped texting and the group sat around laughing and talking for hours. Around midnight, as the group started to dwindle, Jill and Desmond decided to say their goodbyes.
As Jill and Desmond got into the car, Desmond said “I’m hungry”, a phrase Jill would hear many, many, many more times after that night.
The two decided they should head to IHOP, one of the three places open at midnight in sleepy Cleveland, Tennessee. The drive there was just a few minutes apart, as everything was (is) in sleepy Cleveland, TN.
The two sat down at a booth and ordered, and the words continued. This in itself was quite a feat. This was “silent boy” the one Jill had to force words out of. And yet, this night, words flowed freely.
Desmond shared all about his life as a military kid, basketball, his family, and his recent Summer experiences as a camp counselor. Jill, a lover of words and information, sat soaking it all in. The food arrived, pancakes of course, and the words continued.
Box Tops and Inside Jokes
Their unfinished food went into to-go boxes, which became the perfect scratchpad for doodling.
Jill, being herself, frequently stated things that caused Desmond to laugh, and he began to coin her verbiage ‘Jillingo’. She often commented “I’m a fan of that” to display how much she liked something, or stated, “That is out of control” to which Desmond shortened OOC. Already inside jokes had formed and Desmond began to jot them down on the box top, forever inscribed in styrofoam.
THE boxtop, which Jill learned months later that Desmond kept, and still has to this day.
It’s 6 O’Clock!
Hours later the two realized the sky outside had changed from inky black to pale pink. They glanced at their phones and realized it was 6 AM!
The reality was that something had happened in those 6 hours. While sitting in an IHOP booth, eating pancakes and talking easily, Jill realized she just might have feelings for this boy, even though he was three years younger than her…
Sunrises & Car Talks
The two grabbed their to-go boxes and headed to the car. They had decided they should go and watch the sunrise. They arrived at a nearby park and sat, listening to music. The sun slowly crept up and the conversation continued to flow.
Around 8AM they drove back to Jill’s house, where they proceeded to sit in Desmond’s car and talk another hour until Desmond reluctantly said that he had basketball conditioning in an hour and had to go. They got out of the car and stood talking in the driveway a few minutes more before Desmond drew Jill into a long hug. They separated and waved goodbye…
Next, read Chapter Four