Monday, January 24, 2011

True Story

Tonight I am thinking about Dave. The last time we really interacted was probably in the fifth grade. We had a fifth-grade camping trip to Twin Bears and all three of our classes got to go do activities, hike what seemed like a death march, sing around campfires, make midnight trips to the outhouses and other general merry-making. We got to ponder such questions as, "Would I drink out of a mud puddle if I was thirsty enough?" There was the girl who had "thrown up twice, and if I can just force myself to do it a third time, they'll let me go home!" And all the people that, at night, got a lot friendlier and wanted to snuggle because it really was cold.

And then there was Dave. He was kind of a tough guy. But I had seen his softer side before. First when he wrote me my very first love note. It said, "I like you." And it was unsigned. But I saw him watching me as I found it and being eight and not six or something, I soon figured out it was from him when I saw the matching torn paper sticking out of his desk. He finally admitted it and I was extremely flattered though I was already crushing on the guy who had given me a quarter, and in those days, that was enough for half an ice cream sandwich. I had also seen him cry before. He got hurt and recess and I'll never forget how he looked when he cried. At my tender years I thought it was one of the most terrible things I'd ever seen.

Then at camp, something triggered him so deeply he almost had to go home. My dad was one of the teachers on the trip, and during one of the group singing sessions, decided to play John Denver's "I'm Leaving, on a Jet Plane"... don't know when I'll be back again, oh babe, I hate to go...

Dave and one of his best friends started sobbing uncontrollably. They couldn't stop the flow. They knew it was uncool and they couldn't stop it. They got so upset, Dad took them for a ride to calm them down. They came back, but according to rumor, they had to be convinced to stay. I'm still not sure exactly what happened but I think it was their awakening. It was when they really realized that sometimes partings happen, sometimes you're not home. Sometimes, your heart aches so badly you can barely breathe.

Dave died a few years ago. He was in a motorcycle accident. I didn't go to the service. For some reason I couldn't. I worked in the same building as his mother for several years and you could always see him in her eyes. I don't think she'll ever let him go. I wouldn't.


  1. Wow. Very moving. It sort of makes one stop and reflect on all of the brief encounters we have in life and how meaningful they can seem in retrospect. You're an excellent writer. xo

  2. Thanks for sharing this. This was a powerful post.

  3. Great post.

    I think more and more about loss the older I get. The longer you live, the more the losses pile up. But so do the gains.

    Like the NIN song says, "Everyone I know
    goes away in the end"