Do I Want to Know


I was waiting anxiously for Jean to come home from school. Mr. Jimmy had beaten her home, and I was staying quiet in my room because I didn’t want to speak with him yet. Finally, she came bouncing in the room and I jumped up from the bed to greet her.

“Wait until you see what I found today!”

“Wait until I put my books down. Why you leave school early again?” Jean dropped her books on the dresser top and flopped down on her bed.

“I wasn’t feeling good.”

“You just didn’t want to take that English test. Stop lying.”

“If you already knew, why ask me?  Look at what I found!”

“What you find?”

“A picture in Mr. Jimmy’s room.”

“What! No, you didn’t go into his room when he wasn’t home!” Jean jumped up from the bed.

“Keep your voice down, he’s home now. He left his door unlocked so I just went in and looked around and found this picture.”

 I pulled out the picture from under my pillow and gave it to Jean, who looked at it for a few seconds, and then handed it back to me.

“It’s a picture of Mr. Jimmy when he wasn’t fat. So what?”

“Look at the girl in the picture, here, look! Who does she look like to you?” I pushed it back into her hand and pointed to the child in the picture.

 Jean looked at the picture again, this time more closely.

“She looks like Annie, doesn’t she? Why is Mr. Jimmy with Annie?” I blurted out before Jean could respond.

“Well, she does sort of look like Annie, but I don’t know. Why don’t you ask him?”

“I was going to ask him, but Mommy caught me on the way to his job.”

“Did she know you were going to the cab company?”


“That’s good for you girl! How are you going to explain how you found this picture to Mr. Jimmy? What if he tells Mommy?”

“You know what? I was so mad I didn’t even think about that when I was going to confront him earlier. That’s a good question. Let me think a minute.”

I sat down on my bed and rubbed my hand over my face. There were times when Jean showed some intelligence and luckily for me this was one of those times. Jean sat down on her bed facing me.

“This is what you should do, Sara. You should ask Annie about it. She’s your best friend, right, so just show her the picture and say, ‘is this you?’ that’s all you have to do.”

“I don’t know. Annie is so private. She never talks about her family.”

“You been friends all this time and she hasn’t said anything about her daddy?”

“No. She doesn’t talk about her mother either. I tried to ask her about them a couple of times, but she cut me off and I could tell by her attitude that she didn’t want to talk about it.”

“Maybe Mr. Jimmy is her daddy. Have you seen Annie’s mother? Is that her in the picture?”

“I only got a glimpse of her mother one time and that was through their front screen door, and it was mostly her back.”

“She ever come to the school with Annie?”

“Annie stays out of trouble so she wouldn’t have to come see the principle or anything like that, and Annie doesn’t participate in any activities during or after school.”

“Well, if you want to find out if it’s Annie you have to ask her about the picture.”

“I don’t know Jean. What if she gets mad at me and stops being my friend.”

“Do you want to know or not?”

“Yeah, but what do I say if she asks me how I got the picture?”

“Tell her the truth. Why you worried about telling her you got it out of Mr. Bubble Butt’s room.” 

“I wish you would stop calling Mr. Jimmy nasty names, Jean. You’re always so mean to him, and for no reason either.” 

“Look girl, do you want to know or not? I don’t care one way or another.”

“OK. Let’s go over there now.” 

“I just got home. Wait until the morning. Ask her on the way to school.” 

“No. I want to go now. Come with me. Please.” I pleaded with Jean, something that I didn’t like to do or did often. 

“What will you give me?” 

“Give you! I can do this on my own you know.”

“Let me know how it comes out.” Jean laid flat out on her bed, smiling at me.

“What do you want?” 

“You do my dishes for the week.” 

“Two days.”


“Alright! Come on let’s go so we can get back in time for dinner.” 

I opened the bedroom door and motioned for Jean to get up from the bed and follow me. Just as we got to the front door and I opened it, Shelia opened her bedroom door and called down to us to start setting up the table for dinner. Darn it! Now I would have to wait until the next morning to ask Annie about the picture. I shut the door and looked at Jean who shrugged her shoulders at me with a slight smile to her lips.

“The deal is off. You do your own dishes.” I said as I walked towards the kitchen to start the chore.