“Jenny or James”


Rosalie Broussard (1969- ) was a troubled girl from a very young age.  Her parents, Mike and Marie, worried about her spending long periods secluded in her room and not hearing a sound from behind her door.

They never knew about her intense love of books.  Yes, they knew she liked to read, and would take her to the library as often as she asked.  But they had no clear grasp of the kind of books she liked to read.  For example, she read and re-read Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood.”  In fact, she kept the book hidden under her bed, never returning it to the library.  She claimed that a boy threw the book out of the bus window while they were on the Red River bridge.  She saved her baby-sitting money and paid the library what they said she owed.

You could say Rosalie was precocious, sexually mature for her age.  She got pregnant before she was sixteen and decided to have the baby, a boy, whom she chose to name James (b. 1985).  Here she is trying to deal with her situation by dreaming of what names she might choose for the baby.

Jenny or James

She just turned sixteen ’bout a week ago
Her mind is on the little life and how quick it’ll grow
She hangs out at the mall with a few of her friends
They talk about their problems like chipped nails and split ends

She hasn’t told her parents it’s still easy to hide
But not a day goes by she doesn’t think about what’s inside
She won’t take his money like Robert says she must
And sweep away the little life just like a little dust

Underneath her pillow she’s got a list of names
For a girl she thought of Jenny for boy she likes James
It’ll be all hers like nothin’s ever been
And she loves that now she’ll never be alone again
Alone again

She heads for the Pizza Hut to meet Robert for a talk
She hopes he doesn’t start and say it’s all her fault
He should be headin’ off to Tech and doesn’t want to hang around
Baggin’ groceries at Walmart while his buddies all leave town

He says, “it’s either me or it, you’re gonna have to choose”
She says, “it’s not an ‘it'” and knows then what she’s bound to do
Her mama holds her tight her daddy hangs his head
Two AM she feels a kick and sits bolt upright in her bed

Underneath her pillow she’s got a list of names …

© 1998 Frank David Leone, Jr./Electric Mule Music/Warner Music (BMI). The songs and stories on the Highway 80 Stories website are works of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Published by

f. d. leone


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