On 1980 Christmas Day Elly got the last call from Jenny Penny.
She tells her that she can’t talk as she and her mother had to go and can’t tell her why and where. Then Elly waits for weeks and months for Jenny to call, but she never does.
The second part of the book starts in 1995, fifteen years later. Elly is twenty-seven and writes articles for magazines. Yet, she can’t keep a job for long as she feels unable to comply with her responsibilities when she is required to do so. Joe is in New York, part of a choir and earning good money. Then unexpectedly Elly gets a birthday card from Jenny, and the surprising thing is that the envelope comes from a prison. Elly writes to Jenny, and in her next letter she tells her what happened after she and her mother left. They were fleeing from one of her mother’s boyfriends and they were placed in a safe house, and she couldn’t contact Elly. Jenny also tells her that she got married but the marriage failed, and what shocks Elly to the core is when Jenny tells her that she has been imprisoned for murder. In the next letter Jenny tells her about her marriage and her husband. He used to beat her up terribly for the simplest things, and one day when she had ordered Chinese food, which he didn’t like him, he smashed a beer bottle in her head, so what Jenny did next is to stabbed him several times with a chopstick and he died.
Elly is ready to see her friend, and even asks her father for help. Then when Elly goes to the prison to visit her, she is let down when Jenny refuses to see her, and in the background she hears her voice saying ‘Sorry, Elly, but I can’t’ as the guard tells her that Jenny won’t come out.
This is an interesting development. I wonder why Jenny has refused to see Elly. I guess that she is ashamed of how her life has turned out, and doesn’t want to see pity on her friend’s expression. Maybe that shows she still cares for Elly, but refusing her when she needs a friend most is not her cleverest movement.