I met James in high school. He was friends with my high school boyfriend and quickly became my friend as well. He remained my friend long after things were over with the boyfriend, into college, and beyond.
James played drums in a punk band called Images. I was pretty much a groupie or a roadie, depending on whether or not anything needed to be carried that night. We didn’t like a lot of the same things, same movies, same books, not even the same music often, but we seemed to like each other’s company.
James went with me to West Virginia to visit my grandparents and charmed my grandmother so thoroughly that she shared her recipe for spaghetti sauce with him, despite his dreadlocks and crazy clothes. He spent many Christmas Eves at my parent’s house helping to compose the Christmas Eve play . . . until we were almost 20. Once, at a show in Merrifield, Virginia, my stomach was upset, so James found a can of Coke somewhere and spent 10 minutes standing next to me stirring it flat for me with a plastic spoon. We spent Senior Week together in Ocean City, platonically sharing a bed in a hotel room with a couple in the other bed and a guy named Carlos on the floor between the beds who slept with his eyes open. When James took up bodybuilding, I shaved his legs for him while he stood in his parent’s bathtub before his first (and maybe only?) competition. It took an entire pack of disposable razors and his mother stopping by several times to say, “I can’t believe I’m watching you shave my son’s legs.” When I went to college, James would visit often, conking out on my dorm bed, often with my teddy bear. (Yes, I have photographic proof.) He went with me when I got my first tattoo. James signed my high school year book something like this “You are a great friend, but you can be a little intense. If you relax a bit, you’ll be fine.” He’ll probably be embarrassed that he wrote that now, but he knew me well. It was a sound piece of advice then (and probably still.) James was a wonderful friend.
James moved to LA while I was still in college. We managed to stay in contact for many years. He was in my wedding party. I met his LA girlfriend, now wife, Lisa. I heard him preach when he found his calling in the ministry. I met his brand-new baby daughter. Then life got in the way and I lost James until a few weeks ago.
During a late night google search, I finally found him on the blog for his church and I left a comment on one of his posts. A couple of emails later and this afternoon, after 7 years, we reconnected at a family cookout at his parent’s house. Each of us has a spouse and 2 kids. It is amazing to see where life has brought us both and despite that, how much we seem to be the same. I was incredibly fortunate when I was in high school because I met some genuinely good and decent people who have stayed a part of my life. James is in the forefront of that group. If I’m lucky, maybe I’ll post be able to post a picture of us with our grandkids one day.