Chapter II - Jenji BeginsA Chapter by Suze
We meet Jenji.....
I don't really know how Jenji began ~ whether it was a seed planted in my sister's head from years back, or if Jenji was always there; inside my sister, waiting.
The first emergence that I knew of was three days after the first anniversary of my niece, Kayleigh's, death. I was sitting in the same crappy old bar that my sister and I sat in every weekend, nursing a vodka and pineapple, when Jenji blew in the door. I was expecting my sad, blond sister, Cassie. Instead, I got Jenji. When she sat down next to me at the bar I didn't even recognize her, she had to tap my shoulder to get my attention. When I turned and saw my sister's blue eyes under that bang of dark hair, I literally felt a chill.
"Cassie, what the hell did you do?" I asked. "You're brunette!"
"No, Cassie is blond. Jenji is brunette. How do you like it?"
This person calling herself Jenji fluffed her newly cut hair, stood, and held her arms out for inspection. Not only was her hip length, blond hair suddenly dark and up to her shoulders, but gone were the black yoga pants and baggy UCONN sweatshirt of the past year; this girl was dressed to go out in tight black skinny jeans and a little red tank under her leather jacket. Make-up, jewelery and black boots finished the ensemble; Cassie looked ten years younger than she had at the cemetery a few days earlier.
(Maybe if I'd said something that night, refused to play the name game with her, maybe then the Jenji thing wouldn't have gone so far. But I was grieving, too, remember, grieving with vodka. My niece had died, and a huge part of my sister with her. I was weak.)
"What's going on, Cass?" I asked.
"NO, Jenji." She motioned to the bartender without looking at me.
"I said, No, it's Jenji. Call me Jenji, no more Cassie." Her voice was firm, but when she turned to me, her eyes were pleading. To say I was a little creeped out was putting it mildly.
"What's going on?" I asked again.
"I'm sick of Cassie, that's what. I'm Jenji now, and Cassie is gone."
"Um, where is she?"
"Dead." The finality in her voice amped up the creep factor.
"Don't f**k with me, Cass, what the hell is going on here?"
"I'm Jenji. I'm sick of being Cassie, and if you want me to sit here and drink with you then you won't use that name again, ok?" Cassie/Jenji accepted a beer from the bartender, gratefully taking a long sip. "People do it all the time, change their name. So what? Cassie Reynolds is dead."
Cassie/Jenji stood up and raised her drink. "CASSANDRA ELIZABETH REYNOLDS IS DEAD! Can any of you useless fuckers drink to that?" She shouted. The few early comers at the bar mumbled and held up their glasses after her, everyone taking a long drink together. They were unsurprised by the antics of the Reynolds sisters.
I sighed. "Does Jenji know where to get any coke?" I asked resignedly. Screw it, I remember thinking, she deserves some time out of her head.
"Oh, hell yes, she does." Jenji took out her cell phone.
What I remember of that night isn't much, but by 2:00 am I was calling her Jenji with ease and we were partying in the back of the bar with two losers whose names escape me. Cassie/Jenji danced, laughed and threw back beers as if the last year had been a terrible dream. At one point that early morning, we went to the beach and I lost my favorite flip-flop in the sand. Cassie had to help me hop back to the car on one foot because of all the glass on the ground. I woke up the next morning with a nosebleed and a hangover, next to Loser #1, completely unaware of what I had really lost.
I have no idea where my sister got her new identification. Sure, we knew shady people but I would have no clue where to seek out false i.d. on short notice. Apparently Cassie did, though, because one day a week or so after the bar I went into her wallet for a fiver and saw her new driver's license in the name of Jenji Benjamin. Now, yes, I had been calling my sister "Jenji" for days and days. But finding a whole new driver's license in a stranger's name in my sister's wallet baring her picture weirded me out a little.
"Cass?" I called from my perch on her kitchen counter. No answer.
"Yes?" My sister breezed in from the living room carrying cups and dirty plates stacked on her arm against her chest. She stood over the sink and let the armload fall with a crash.
(That's another weird thing - my sister, Cassie, was a neat freak. I don't think her kitchen had seen a full sink of dishes since she had moved in. Jenji, on the other hand, could barely bring herself to run the dish washer until all surfaces in the kitchen were covered and there was nothing clean to drink from.)
"Honey, do you think you're taking this Jenji thing a little too far?" I asked.
Cassie/Jenji let her hair fall over her eyes and reached for one of my smokes.
"What Jenji thing?"
© 2012 Suze
The Split - A Story About Sisters
About~Hi, my name is Suze - thanks for stopping by!~ I am a fiction writer mostly but have found that I have a taste for essays lately as well. I'm here to seek the opinions of other writers on my work, .. more..