Zuzu’s Petals by Jeff Jarot

Matthew Mercado, Staff Writer

For the first creative corner of the paper, we have a special participant, English teacher Jeff Jarot, who showcases his novella Zuzu’s Petals.  His novella was published in February 2016 by Lit Fest Press.
Jarot wrote many stories in his life and one such story Home Movies appeared in Festival Writer, which is a gathering of readers and participants to support a diverse community of art and artists.
Jarot spent seven years, starting in 2009, writing Zuzu’s Petals, which is about a character named Jules who has a huge obsession with the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.” It starts to affect his personal relationships with his wife and daughter.
“I pull up and exit my vehicle.
In order to reach the building from the parking lot, which is an obscene distance from the school, I cross a bridge that suspends a small body of water that is barely frozen.
A transparent wafer of ice covers the surface of the water.
Only in the movies would someone be able to safely hop across its surface, Gene Kelly-like, without breaking through to experience hypothermia’s bitter embrace.
Without realizing it, I have stopped in the middle of the bridge, head down, hands clasped.
When I finally look up, my watering eyes decipher a man and a woman holding hands.
They offer me a sidelong glance. Their crystal orbs scream, “What is that guy’s
I follow their silhouettes like a humiliated shadow towards the welcoming light of the school.
Even though my mind has already jumped from the side of the bridge to its early death, my feet follow the receding figures in their shared wake towards the building in which Zuzu’s holiday program awaits.
I’m not ashamed to say that I, Jules, prefer Fiction to Reality.
Fiction will become the Official Reality of record.
Julie and I are still together.
Zuzu will always be my little girl.
We are a happy family and always will be.”
You can read more by buying his full novella, which is available from Lit Fest Press on Amazon.com.