Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Divine Hammer

The summer before my sophomore year of high school, my friend Julie went away on a working church retreat and came back with a boyfriend. Over the remainder of the summer our friend groups merged and he and Julie became the center of our social world.

Jamie was funny and he was kind. Julie and I were still too young to drive, and he became our willing chauffeur in his white Blazer. He never complained about having to drive all the way from Vienna to Rockville to pick me up and then diving me all the way back when the fun was done. It's still odd looking back that I never felt like a third wheel, even when it was just he and Julie and I. At the time, most of us had experienced puppy-love, but this was the first time one of my friends had a REAL relationship. More profoundly, it was the first time I'd ever seen one of my friends be loved. He loved Julie in a way that was almost contagious and readily visible every time he looked at her. I was hopelessly jealous and I'm sure I wasn't the only one.

But we were only 15 - an age where nothing stays the same for long. I don't remember how or why or when they broke up, but I remembered wondering who was more heartsick over it - Jamie or myself. We spoke a few times after our worlds parted, and I'd be lying if I said that I didn't consider at least briefly what might happen if his interests turned on me. But I knew that I would have always been a distant second to what was likely his first real love. So the friendship faded away.

Julie called me two weeks ago to rehash her wedding and tell me all about her honeymoon. In the middle of the conversation, she told me that Jamie had just added her as a friend on Facebook. Still on the phone, I shot a friend add message to him chiding him for adding her and not me. Over the ensuing e-mail discussion we caught up on our relationships and careers and how kids did not mean you had to grow up. Trading barbs with him made me feel 15 all over again. We made plans to get together for drinks while I was in town over Christmas - with me promising to drag Julie and her new husband along. It was something I was really looking forward to.

But those drinks won't happen now. Jamie died in a single car accident near his home this weekend. I'm heartbroken for his fiancee. What a loss for all those lucky enough to know him.

1 comment:

Sister Janet M. Purcell, IHM said...

Maggie, I feel so sorry for you since it is such a wonderful experience to talk to old friends and then to have this happen.
Hope you are ok and remember you make my day between the pictures and your writing.