This scene from Her Daughter’s Dream is a longer version of one that appears in chapter 39 and begins on p. 349. After Jason and Dawn break up, Dawn tries to stay busy and avoid seeing him.
Independent study helped keep Dawn’s mind occupied. She didn’t have to worry about facing Jason. She didn’t have friends or class disturbances to distract her. She could fix her mind on the work ahead. Rather than coast by, Dawn dove into her studies, desperate to keep her mind off Jason. Mom bought her a computer, but Dawn still preferred finding information at the library. She didn’t use the one in Healdsburg, but she went to the main branch in Santa Rosa. She only had to go to Healdsburg High once a week to check in with the independent studies supervisor, turn in work assignments, and take exams. After a month, the teacher in charge of overseeing her work said she was doing extremely well and would be able to take her finals ahead of time.
All Sharon, Amy, and Pam talked about at youth group was the upcoming prom. Kim and Tom were going together. Steven Dial had asked Pam. Sharon held out hope hunk-of-the-month football fullback Tomas Perez would ask her. Amy worried that if anyone did ask, she wouldn’t be able to afford a dress. Dawn wondered if Jason was going and with whom, but she didn’t ask.
During the day, Dawn could concentrate on studies and chores around the house, but at night, her subconscious betrayed her. She dreamed about Jason. She’d wake up in a sweat or crying. She held on to the sweet memories until she realized going over and over them merely served to make the longing even more acute. If she stopped probing the wound, perhaps she’d heal.
Prom came and went and conversations at youth group turned to finals and graduation, summer jobs and college plans. Half the members were finishing high school. Sharon and Kim were graduating and going to college. Amy’s father had been offered a better job in Dallas. With so many of her friends leaving, Dawn wondered if she’d even attend the CCC youth group next year. She felt out of it, on the edge again, not really part of anything anymore. She didn’t know what was happening on the Healdsburg High campus, nor did she care. What did all that matter, especially now that Jason was going away to college? “Somewhere in Southern California,” Sharon told her. “I just can’t remember which college. And he’s working construction over the summer. Down in San Jose, I think, with a friend of a friend of Pastor Mike.”
Dawn hadn’t seen Jason in three months, and then one day he walked into Java Joe’s during the busiest hour and stood in line to place an order. Her heart pounded in her ears. She felt the blood ebb and flow inside her. She didn’t have butterflies in her stomach, but a flock of birds. When it came his turn, she gave him a nervous smile and congratulated him on his graduation. He said thanks and briskly ordered one coffee, large. He put a five-dollar bill on the counter. Shaken by his cold manner, she handed him a cup, directed him politely to the carafes of freshly brewed Colombian, Sumatran, Kona, or Java Joe’s special blend, his choice, and handed over his change. He dumped the change into the tip cup and left the counter. When Jason turned his back, Dawn felt as though he’d punched her in the stomach. She expected him to leave as soon as he filled his cup, but he prolonged her torture and sat at a table in the back corner.
Business hadn’t let up. She had to move quickly to keep up with customers. She tried to concentrate, but with Jason watching her, she became rattled. When she glanced over, he didn’t look away, but she couldn’t read anything from his expression. He used to smile at her. Now, he gave her a blank stare, nothing showing in his face.
“Someday he’ll grow up. And then he’ll see the truth.”
Now that he’d had time to think things over, did he hate her? Did he think she was a slut? He wasn’t a virgin anymore because she had seduced him. She felt the sting of tears. Did he now see her as she had been: manipulative and carnal? Did he look back on the opportunities he had missed because of his involvement with her? She gave one man ten dollars too much change. Thankfully, he pointed out her mistake and gave it back. Her boss, Dennis Bingley, asked if she was all right. Face on fire, she wanted to run. She wanted to hide. But children did that, and she had a job to do.
I am a sinner.
Jason got up and pushed the chair beneath the table. She hung her head as he passed by. Shoving his empty cup into the waste can, he went out the door. She watched him walk by the front window with Java Joe’s painted in swirling café latte. He didn’t look at her, not once, and then he disappeared around the corner.
Dawn had the feeling Jason Steward had just walked out of her life. Whatever plans God might have for her now clearly did not include him.
She didn’t think her grief could go any deeper until Granny called on a hot August night and said Papa was dead.