She stood on the driveway of her parents’ house – tinkering with her IPod in the early morning light. The whole neighborhood was probably asleep – except for the two of them.
Jess is home, Jeremy smiled to himself. His childhood friend was finally home at the same time he’s in Cali.
Their parents live across each other. As far as Jeremy could remember, they had been inseparable – even when they went to different high schools – Jess went to Henry M. Gunn High School like Josh, while Jeremy went to Palo Alto.
He hadn’t seen her in over five years – since the summer before he left for Harvard. Jessica was a year younger and was to start International Business and Global Management at the University of Hong Kong the following year. Jeremy had hoped to spend time with her before she left for Asia, but her family decided to spend their summer with Jessica’s grandparents. So when Jeremy came home to Cali for summer break from his freshman year in Harvard, she was gone.
They e-mailed a lot during her first year of college, but both their academic lives and Jeremy’s basketball career made them too busy. But the usual birthday greetings and E-cards found their way and Jeremy would hear from her parents once in a while that she’s doing great in Hong Kong. Their vacations never overlapped, so that was that.
Jeremy looked at Jess now, not wanting to attract her attention until he’s had a fill of her looks. Her hair was longer, but still the raven black color Jeremy remembered. With her 5 feet 7 inch height, she was quite tall – for an Asian girl. She looked smaller, though, more delicate than Jeremy remembered. Maybe because you grew taller, Dumbo, Jeremy laughed inwardly. That’s what she teased him with when they’d fight as kids – Dumbo.
Jess had such a huge crush on Josh that she got so mad when Joseph started chanting “Jessie and Jeremy sitting on a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.” Jeremy just laughed – they were pals, that’s all.
Over five years – that’s a long time and a lot of changes.
Old habits die hard, that’s what Jessica thought as she tried to find that specific track she usually jogged to. Didn’t really matter which continent she was on– she needed her early morning run – no matter how jetlagged she was.
Jeremy was her usual jogging companion in high school – they needed to run the miles for their sport of choice – basketball for Jeremy and track and field for Jess. The last time they jogged together was the morning Jeremy had to leave for Harvard – over five years ago.
She had not seen him since – unless you count the pictures and videos she had found on the Net. She had tried to keep in touch with him, too, but her studies were her priorities. She missed him, though. Jeremy was a great friend.
She looked across the street towards the house that she had known almost as much as her family home. Lots of happy memories there, Jessica smiled.
Then she saw him. He was standing – smiling – like he usually did when they were younger. With a shriek she vaulted across the distance. Jeremy laughed, bracing himself. She launched herself into Jeremy’s arms with a force that would normally topple another man – but not Jeremy.
Jeremy hugged her tight and buried his face in her hair. It’s still Jess, he reminded himself as he smelled lavender in her hair and felt her body against his. She might have filled out more and smelled differently – it was still Jessica – your friend.
Jessica felt hard muscle. Well, he grew a lot and was certainly not scrawny anymore, she noted. She drew away, to look up at him. The same quick smile, those dimples – still Jeremy.
“Hey, squirt. Welcome home,” he said.
“I should say the same thing to you, Dumbo,” she countered.
They just stood for a few minutes, soaking in the sight of each other.
“You ready?” Jeremy asked.
“Whenever you are,” Jess answered.
As they jogged together, they barely spoke – music playing in their ears.
They both thought that five years hadn’t changed much – not really.