In Finding Us, Jade and Garret are going to a new college in California. This is a scene from Garret’s point of view as he watches Jade get ready for the first day of classes. Finding Us releases October 3.
When we get home, Jade packs her backpack for class. She’s like a little kid. She takes it so seriously. She puts pens and pencils in the little slots in the front of the backpack, then packs extras in a zippered pouch. Then she opens another zippered pouch and tosses in a calculator and a protractor.
“Why are you bringing a protractor?”
“Because it’s a mathematical supply,” she says, as if that should make sense.
“Those are for geometry. You’re taking calculus.”
“I still should have one.”
“You’re not going to use a protractor, Jade. You’re not going to be measuring angles.”
“Maybe not, but I need the calculator.”
“What does that have to do with the protractor?”
She sighs and points to the pouch. “This is the mathematical supply pouch. I can’t just have a calculator in there and nothing else.”
“Because then it wouldn’t be a supply pouch. It would just be a calculator pouch and that doesn’t make sense.”
I give up trying to understand her logic and watch her fill up another pouch, this time with miniature Kleenex packets, some lip balm, several headbands, hand lotion, some aspirin, cough drops, and after that I lose track of what she’s tossing in there.
“Jade, why are you bringing all that shit to class?”
“You have to have this stuff in case something happens.”
“Like what? A hair emergency? Dry lips? You suddenly develop a cold in the middle of a 50-minute class?”
“Yes, those are all possibilities,” she says very seriously. “What’s in your backpack?”
I motion to it. “Take a look.”
She picks it up and sets it on the kitchen table. Inside I have my laptop and the one book I need for tomorrow.
“You haven’t packed it yet.”
“It’s packed and ready to go.” I yawn and stretch out on the couch.
“There’s nothing in here. Where are your notebooks and pens?”
“I don’t use that stuff. I take notes on the laptop.”
“What if your battery dies?”
“I’ll charge it. Hey, could you throw the cord in there? That’s what I forgot to pack.”
Jade appears in front of me, holding my backpack. “Garret, I can’t let you go to class like this. You need supplies. You want some Kleenex?”
I laugh as I imagine myself sitting in class, pulling out one of those tiny packets. Yeah. Not gonna happen. “No, Jade. I’m not bringing those.”
“What if you have to blow your nose?”
“I’ll go to the bathroom and do it.”
“You can’t just get up in the middle of class.”
“Sure I can. I did it all the time last year.”
“At least let me put some pens in here. I have extras.”
“I know you do, but I don’t need one.”
Jade has a ton of pens. She pretends it’s a collection but it’s really just a bunch of freebie pens she picks up at various locations. Frank and Ryan bought her some better ones last year and she guards them with her life. I don’t dare use them because I always lose pens and she’d kill me if I lost one. For Christmas I’ve decided I’m going to buy her an assortment of nice pens so she’ll toss out those freebie ones that never work.
”I’m going to put a pen in here, just so you’ll have it.”
“Okay, Jade. If it makes you feel better, go ahead.”
I watch as she returns to the table with my backpack and starts searching through her pen box for just the right one. This is more entertaining than watching TV.
“Were you always this way?” I ask her.
“Do you always pack like this for class?”
“Usually, but I didn’t last semester and it was a complete disaster. I went to the first day of class totally unprepared and it was all your fault.”
“What did I do?”
“You kept luring me to your room for sex and because of that, I didn’t get myself organized for class.”
“I don’t think that was my fault.”
She finally picks a pen and sticks it in one of the pen slots in my backpack. “It was totally your fault.”
She sighs and looks over at me. “Like you don’t know this already? You’re really hot. And you smell good. It’s completely distracting. I’m lucky I got anything done last year.” She unzips one of the pouches on the front of my backpack. “You still need more supplies, Garret. You want some cough drops?”
She’s so serious about it, I have to laugh. “I don’t want any cough drops.”
“At least we see each other between classes. I can loan you stuff if you need it. Hey, you’re taking accounting. That’s a math class, which means you’ll need a calculator. And you don’t have one. Ha! I told you you weren’t packed.”
“I’ll use my phone. It has a calculator app and so does my laptop.”
She comes over and slumps down beside me. “Okay, I think I’m done.”
“You didn’t pack your laptop or your books. The two most important things.”
“Damn!” She bolts up. “I knew I forgot something.”
I’m laughing again. I should’ve got this on video.