Thursday, May 31, 2007

For evermore

In the waning days of my senior year, I sat on a wooden bleacher an hour after my career-ending basketball loss to Deerfield. Tears streamed down my face because I accomplished what I set out to do; I wore the jersey.

Jamie Stock, a Libertyville cheerleader and friend of mine, saw the waterworks and walked up the empty bleachers. I cannot remember what she said, but I do remember that she hugged me for a long time. The gesture seems strange when I step back now to think about how little we interacted back then. But the hugger in question was Jamie, one of the warmest souls I have ever known.

Jamie was everywhere. If she wasn't the focus of your high school pictures, then she was in the background smiling at a friend and laughing before the punch line. She was in her cheerleading windbreaker or homecoming parade dress. She was always a nice hello and could have been a best friend to absolutely anyone.

Jamie had a seasonal waitress job at a local brewery after graduation. We all saw her during our homeward college breaks. I asked her once if she remembered my bleacher breakdown. She gave me a cautious look, not saying anything. Was she worried about embarrassing me in front of my friends?

I'm sure she remembered just as well as I will remember her. For evermore she will be smiling and warm. I will miss her greatly.
". . . you will find us always loyal and true."

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