Morgan was a 23-year old army brat putting in four years of college before transferring elsewhere to work on her masters. A brunette by birth, with an occasional freckle upon her slightly tanned cheeks. She was voted best smile in high school, alongside the charming (though half witted) Josh Braunson. When they had their photograph taken, they were asked to “put on that smile that made you famous” and to “turn to each other.” It was with that Morgan commented, “Do you want the smile or the pose?” Naturally, this remark flew over the meticulously trimmed and sprayed head of Josh Braunson who proudly confirmed, “I can smile from any position.” Morgan lightly commented, “That’s suppose to surprise me?” Again, her words were lost with his ears.
Jason Richard Wright met Morgan on Monday morning. It was November, the rain was falling outside and the kids were retreating to anywhere warm. Morgan was sitting in a chair, near some vending machines, working away at some homework. Jason Richard Wright came into her corner to retrieve the recyclables from the night before. She glanced up at the sound of motion like a kindergarten kid with ADD.
“Hey,” she greeted.
“Hi,” that was all he muttered.
“Come here, check this out,” she beckoned Jason Richard Wright to sit near her, “Listen to this retardedness.”
“I’m working,” Jason Richard Wright begged to be left alone.
“It’s called taking a break,” she unveiled that smile, “Everyone deserves a break.”
Jason Richard Wright set beside her, in her hands was a worksheet assigned by a psychology professor. It was one of those surveys that tries to define who you are by what you answer to questions that repeat themselves, you know the drill.
“Is it just me, Ace, or is this question asking the same question as number 13?”
“Practically,” Jason Richard Wright responded.
“And look at this question,” she read out loud, “‘If an employee came to you, the acting supervisor, and informed you they had seen another employee stealing funds from the register, would you fire the accused or give them a second chance?'” After reading the question, she dropped the page down into her lap in frustration, “I mean, seriously? As if this world is so black and white. What would you do, Ace?”
“I guess I’d give them a second chance,” he responded.
“How, by walking up and telling them you knew what they had done and you were giving them a second chance?”
“But,” she started, “What if the first employee has a personal vendetta against the accused and is making it all up simply for the benefit of getting that person fired?”
“Oh, that’s true,” he replied, “They could be lying.”
“I hate this thing. The only way this questionnaire works is if we live in a world without choices,” Morgan stopped for a moment and then looked to Jason Richard Wright, “What do you think, Ace?”
“I think you’ve got it figured out,” he replied.
“Not nearly enough,” she sighed, then smiled, “The name’s Morgan. You work down here often?”
“But it’s morning.”
“I work through the night and into the morning,” he explained, “Nice to meet you Morgan; I’m Jason Richard Wright.”
“Whoa, all three names, huh? I don’t know if I’m ready for that kinda commitment, Ace,” she snickered, “Well, you better get back to work, huh?”
“I guess so.”
Every Monday morning, Morgan was in her corner, hammering away with some psychology homework that was due in three hours. She’d beckon Jason Richard Wright over and throw her opinions of this week’s homework at him and in the end, he’d have to interject that she “had it figured out.”
Morgan once deterred from the topic, “So, there’s this guy I know. I see him about once a week and I don’t even know the dude, but… he’s gotta be my knight in shinning armor, ya know?” Jason Richard Wright knew all to well, for he was thinking similar thoughts of her. He was smitten again. She went on, “He’s got all the right stuff I’m always keeping my eyes peeled for. Soft spoken, charming, witty but knows when to turn off the joke machine. He could be the one that calms me down and keeps me safe,” she sighed and pushed her brown hair back from her eyes, “But I’m a dud when it comes to this sorta thing. I can talk all day, but when it comes to talking to someone I really got a good feeling about, I can’t get a single intelligent sentence out. It’s retarded. It’s like I’m fated to be the best friend everyone loves, but no one dares commit to.”
In his mind, Jason Richard Wright knew Morgan was speaking of him. Speaking of him in the third person was her way of making it bearable to her nerves. He was riding with her the whole way, but he was having difficulty himself summoning up the courage to say it was okay. That he felt the same way and that he knew they were destined for one another.
“What do I do, Ace? How do I pull this off without looking like a loser?” she begged for guidance.
“Just tell him how you feel… to his face,” that was his answer. And he prepared for her reply, his heart racing, sweat beading. Love was coming to Jason Richard Wright.
“But I barely know the guy,” she sighed, “I’ll look like an idiot, a real hopeless romantic.”
“Just tell him you think there’s something there, that you wanna give it a try,” he almost died, “I know he won’t refuse. No one dares never try. Not with you.”
Morgan smiled, “You’re right, I’ll tell him today.”
“Tell him now.”
“I can’t,” she explained, “It’s not like I know where he lives, besides how creepy would that be? I’ll tell him after psyche class. That’s where I see him. He sits two rows in front of me and three rows to the left. I’d know the back of that head anywhere, as much as I sit admiring it.”
Jason Richard Wright was heartbroken. He felt anger flood his soul and he ran. Behind, he left his recyclables and love. In his closet, the anger left him. He sat staring at a wall.
And he cried.
This would be the last time Jason Richard Wright would ever deny his impulses. Morgan confronted the admired boy and much to her dismay finished the conversation without a smile. Later that evening she would write in her diary, “Stupid janitor, he had me going. Now I feel like an idiot. Life isn’t black and white. People are jerks. So many times betrayed.”
Much later she would write this entry, “Just read about Jason Richard Wright in the newspaper. I should be dead. I’m going to cops tomorrow. Poor Jason, so many times betrayed.”