Just One Breath

An American girl in Scotland, figuring things out one step at a time

Through Thick and Thin.


My friendship with Jamie stayed very strong over the years. We talked on Messenger and over the phone, exchanged birthday and Christmas presents, I visited Scotland and we talked about the future… our future together. We  could not picture a future where we were not together. There was no mistaking that Jamie loved me. His feeling were strong and true. They were the one thing that I always relied on. He was the very best thing in my life but he was so far away that being together seemed like a dream. He did not have a stable job yet and I was in grad school. We loved each other but how to make it work… we didn’t know.

In the summer of 2003 Jamie was a bit blue. He was in a major transition phase in his life and he was confused and sad. It was very hard for me to see my best friend feeling so lost. I wanted to be there for him but I couldn’t. I wanted to be able to sit there with him while he worked it out like I did when he was writing his thesis in 2001. I couldn’t be there physically this time but I could be there. The one evening I asked him, “What would make you happy?” I wanted to make him think about what it was that he wanted to do. He had decided it was not Bio-Chemistry but what, what was it that he wanted to do? We talked on Messenger for hours and it lead to us looking at different university courses. He considers it was when I kicked his ass but I think of it as a loving kick.

I always told Jamie he could be anything he wanted to be. I knew he would be amazing when he found something he was passionate about. He needed confidence… he needed to see himself the way I did. He would get there.  By the Autumn he was enrolled at Stirling University doing an M.Sc. in Information Technology. He had found “it” and I had been there to help give him the nudge. He had been there for me so many times through bad break-ups and difficult times. There were many tear-filled phone calls to Jamie. He was always able to calm me down and focus me… he was my center through so many rough patches, it was nice to be able to be his for a change.

By the winter of 2003 we were convinced that enough was enough, we needed to be together. I was going to be in Scotland over the holidays because my best girlfriend was studying in London for one term and I was going to go get her and take her to Scotland. I told Jamie of my plan to get Holly. We again spent hours on Messenger. We planned it, thought about it all the time and even dreamed about seeing each other again but with a new purpose…starting a life together. We had a relationship, we had love, we had honesty, we had everything except the same piece of land. We were going to start somewhere and we decided it was time for our first kiss…our first kiss as adults as boyfriend and girlfriend. We had kissed before when we were kids but not with plans for our future on the line. We knew this was going to be the beginning of the rest of our life together. We were going to meet in the park between his house and the place I was staying we could picture it so perfectly.

Holly and I arrived in Alva to “my home”. The Mennie’s had become parents to me and when I wanted to visit Scotland that was home away from home. I called Jamie and told him I had arrived. My heart was pounding out of my chest. I was so nervous and excited and sick. I wanted this to work. I wanted to be with someone genuine, someone honest, a good man… I had been with so many that were none of the above. I doubted my strength and my worth. How could he love me? Why me? He is so amazing and beautiful and wonderful, why would he want me? My nerves got the best of me and I asked Holly to accompany me into the park to meet Jamie and when she said yes I immediately regretted asking. I was embarrassed to have her there to see me kissing Jamie. But what to do? Jamie and I locked eyes on each other and when we finally met I ruined it… I said “I can’t do this.” I meant in front of Holly and he thought I meant at all. This will become one of the biggest misunderstandings we will ever have. He was shattered and I was confused by his reaction. We were not talking things out like we were so good at over the phone or on the computer. What happened? Our communication was gone, again.

The rest of the trip was awful. I was angry that he would not really talk to me. He was with us but would not engage in any meaningful conversation and was really awkward around me. I think that over the years of being dumped on I created a defence mechanism of being a bitch. I would hide my pain by acting like I didn’t care. I am ashamed to say, I was genuinely mean to him but on the inside I was dying. I was thinking that I didn’t understand. He didn’t give me a chance to explain my comment…see I wasn’t worth it. I didn’t know it until October of 2010 but he was feeling the same thing. He was as insecure about my feelings as I was about his but his insecurities came with silence.

After a few awkward months we had somehow smoothed back in to our routine of emailing a few times a week and talking about everything like we usually did. We had managed to not obliterate our friendship but we did put our relationship out of our heads. Again it seemed that we were meant to be best friends. There for one another through thick and thin but not meant to be together. x heather

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