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Chapter 9 A Real Idiot
Of course, the first thing that I wanted to do when I got back to America was find Jenny. So I phoned Moses in Boston.
‘The Broken Eggs group has broken up,’ he told me. ‘I don’t know what happened to Jenny. I heard that she went to Chicago, but that was five years ago.’
‘Do you have a telephone number, or anything?’ I asked.
‘It’s an old number,’ he said, ‘but perhaps she’s still there.’ I phoned the number, and she wasn’t.
‘Jenny Curran?’ a man’s voice said. ‘She went to Indianapolis.
Got a job at the Temperer factory.’
So I went to Indianapolis on the bus.
The Temperer factory was outside the town. I asked about Jenny at the office, and the woman said, ‘Yes, she works in here. Why don’t you wait at the side of the factory? It’s almost lunch-time, and she’ll probably come out.’ So I did.
A lot of people came out at lunch-time. Then Jenny came out.
She went and sat under a tree on the grass, and began eating an apple. I went up behind her and said, ‘That looks like a nice apple.’ She didn’t look up. She just said, ‘Forrest, it has to be you.’ A minute later, I had my arms round her and we were both crying. People were watching us with strange looks on their faces, but it didn’t matter. Jenny and me were together again.
‘I finish work in three hours, Forrest,’ Jenny said. ‘Why don’t you wait for me in that bar across the street? Then I’ll take you to my place.’
So I waited in the bar.
And I got into the wrestling business. How? I’ll tell you.
It started when I arm-wrestled a man in the bar, and won some money on a bet. That gave me an idea. But at first I didn’t say anything to Jenny.
She came across to the bar after work, and we had a drink and talked.
‘I saw you on TV when you went up into space, Forrest,’ she said.
And I told her all about that, and about Sue, the ape.
‘What happened to him?’ she asked.
‘I don’t know,’ I said. ‘But he was a good friend.’ Later, we went back to Jenny’s flat, and she said, ‘You can stay here.’
Next day, when Jenny went to work, I went back to the bar.
Several people wanted to try arm-wrestling with me again, and I said OK. None of them won because 1 was too strong, but plenty of people wanted to try their luck.
After about a month, I was winning nearly two hundred dollars a week, arm-wrestling. Then one day a man called Mike came into the bar.
‘You can make a lot more money,’ he told me.
‘How?’ I asked.
‘Wrestling. Real wrestling,’ he said. ‘I can teach you.’ To make a long story short ─ he did.
Jenny wasn’t happy about the wrestling but I won a lot of money ─ sometimes by winning fights, sometimes by losing them because Mike told me to lose them. Yes, that happens, too. But then I did something stupid again. I bet on myself winning a fight, after Mike told me to lose it.
Jenny got really angry. ‘It isn’t honest,’ she said.
I didn’t listen. I bet all my money on myself to win ─ and then I lost the fight.
But there was worse to come. When I got back to the flat, Jenny was gone, and there was a letter waiting for me. It said: Dear Forrest
You’re doing something bad tonight. It isn’t honest, and I cannot go on with you like this. I think about having a house and a family and things like that now. I watched you grow up big and strong and good. And then, in Boston, I realized that I loved you, and I was the happiest girl in the world.
But then there was that girl outside the Hodaddy Club. Then you went up into space and I lost you for four years, and I think you changed. And I think perhaps I changed, too. I just want to live in an ordinary way now. So, I must go and find it.
I am crying while I write this, but please don’t try to find me. Goodbye, my dear.
And for the first time ever, I knew that I was a real idiot.
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