A long time ago there was a boy named Jeremy. I was smitten with him. Unfortunately he lived 1100 miles away. There were lots of letters, phone calls, and flights back and forth. A vacation in Florida. A Friday night football game. I applied and was accepted to two colleges near him. I just couldn’t make myself go. I never even told him that I had applied. I don’t know what would have happened if we had ever had the opportunity to live near each other. I used to like to think it would have worked out. But alas, it was not meant to be.
I have several items of his that I have had for years. They’ve moved from Ft. Stockton to Lubbock and here with me now. They are the type of things you want to show your own children. I know he needed to have them back but after I decided to go to college in Lubbock and met a boy there, he literally stopped communicating with me. I haven’t talked to him in nearly 10 years. I had no clue where he ended up or how he was doing. I still keep in touch with a few of his friends and finally after unearthing a jacket for the 30th time decided I better get his address. A few days later and I now have locating information.
My heart sank last night when I got it. He was always my “what if.” For years and years. The what if, what might have been. A place far away from home I could run to when I needed to run. At some point I grew up and stopped running. I have no desire to ever see him again. I love Sam and I’m happy. But letting go of objects that have been with me for so long is proving more difficult than I anticipated. I’ve had a jersey since the 8th grade. These things have been with me for over half of my life and that feels so significant in such an insignificant way. His letter jacket is hanging on a chair in our dining room tonight. Tomorrow I’ll take it to be dry cleaned and eventually when I’m not stuck at a courthouse this week it will make it’s way to Alabama.
Sending these last few things will be the end. The end of a huge chapter in my life. A chapter that feels like it’s been stalled. There was another boy during those years that was closer to home who I might have considered my first love…. But in retrospect I think he was a place filler. Jeremy was too far away. He was the person I thought I’d spend my life with. It’s funny how things work out. Or how they don’t.
I wonder if he would be okay with me keeping the jersey. It is just a practice one after all.