Just One Breath

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

The Winter of My Discontent


By the winter of 2004 a real panic had set into my brain. Jamie had finished his Master’s Degree in IT and was working at the University of Stirling. I was aware that he liked a girl but, thankfully for me, she moved back to her country after they graduated. I was so full of worry about what was going to happen when he met someone who would take him away from me? We may not have been together as a couple but we were inseparable. He was still my constant, my rock, my best friend and I tried my best to be his. No girl would understand our relationship and I honestly didn’t know how he would even attempt to explain it if he needed to. I, on the other hand, was tough in my relationships. I always said to anyone who questioned our friendship that he was my best friend and I loved him and that was it, he wasn’t going anywhere. I couldn’t see him getting away with this defence with a girl.

Jamie and I hadn’t seen each other in a year and we both thought it was a good opportunity to spend some time together. Jamie wanted to come to me this time and I thought that was a great idea, the guy I was seeing at the time thought otherwise. Jamie was to come around Christmas and I was thrilled. I had just moved into my first place and I was so excited to show him.

Before Jamie came to stay with me our preparations began. We saw that The Pixies, Jamie’s favorite band, had a reunion and were doing a tour. One of the dates was for New York City during the time that he was to be with me. When he found out about the concert he was hopeful that we would be able to go to the show. I was desperate to get him an amazing Christmas gift and I knew just what to do. Holly and I got the tickets for the NYC show as a surprise and I lied to Jamie… that was so hard. I told him that the show for NYC was sold out and that I had really really tried to get tickets but couldn’t. He believed me, I never lied to him. We decided to go to the city even though we couldn’t go to see The Pixies. I was also able to get tickets to see them in Philadelphia with Holly a few days before his arrival. He was happy for me and couldn’t wait to hear how the show was.

On the day of Jamie’s arrival I was so nervous and excited. I sat and waited for what seemed like hours. I was thinking about running to him and kissing him and holding on forever. When he finally arrived as soon as I saw him I began to feel the pull… the pull to him. I did run down the ramp and hug him but I don’t really like public displays of affection so I didn’t kiss him. I didn’t want to make a scene. At night, I wanted so desperately curl up with him on the couch but being a faithful “girlfriend”, even when it is undeserved, I didn’t do anything. I needed to give my new relationship a shot…right? Jamie and I were best friends and no matter how much I loved him we had proven over and over that we were going to stay…just friends. Every time we said good night I wanted to be close to him but chose to sleep in a separate room. I don’t know why honestly… I just don’t know why.

We decided to have our Christmas alone before the actual day. We sat in front of my tree and I watched Jamie open his gifts. Richard Scarry was an author he brought up many times so I wanted to get him one of his books. I hunted for an old version of a collected works for ages and I finally found one. He was so happy with it. I also got him a magazine that had The Pixies featured on the front, kind of as a tease but also letting him think it was something to tie him to the concerts that were going on. He got me some beautiful jewellery and a few other bits and bobs, he was always so thoughtful with his selection of my gifts. We were also very good at picking great stocking stuffers. Over the years most of our gift exchanges went back and forth in a box less than the size of a shoebox. I told Jamie he had one more gift that he would receive on our trip to NYC. It still amazes me that he had no idea that the concert was his surprise gift.

The day of our trip came and we went into New York City with nothing really major planned. We wanted to sight see, eat lunch, meet a friend and generally just bum around the city. We went way down to The Village for food and shopping and when it came time to take a cab back up town to catch the concert there were none that were available. We tried for a good half an hour and I began to panic. Jamie had no idea why I was getting upset but I knew the concert start time was drawing near. Finally we got a cab and I was relieved. I asked the cabbie to stop on the corner so we had about half a block to walk. I wanted to show him the concert marquee to let him know what his gift was. When we were within sight of the marquee I pointed to it. Glowing in red it said “TONIGHT: THE PIXIES” and I said Merry Christmas! Jamie looked confused and then he realized what was going on. We were going to see the show and he was thrilled. He hugged me and we all started to walk across the street. Jamie had his arm around me and I felt his weight begin to get heavy and I realized he was going down… literally. I stopped and had him sit on the curb to get composed. He was THAT excited. I couldn’t believe that I had pulled it off.

Jamie was able to pull it together rather quickly and we went into the venue. The show was amazing but not as amazing as hearing Jamie scream like a girl a few times, he denies this but I cherish it. He loved the show and I loved seeing him so happy even though there was the pull that I had to resist again. We were up front in a standing room only venue and it was so good. He was so close to me that it was almost painful to not be holding his hand at the very least. I, to this day, do not understand what held me back. Jamie was respecting my space as he always did, not knowing how I really felt. The concert ended and Jamie had a blast. We both agree that it was the best Christmas present ever. I have often wondered how I could top that.

The rest of our time together was nice. We had dinner with friends and enjoyed time with my family. We did a lot and a lot of nothing but being together. It was a good visit all in all. There was still a longing on both our parts to be together that overshadowed us. I knew at the time that I was confused and wanted to be more but I couldn’t see how. How after all of this time could things possibly change? Jamie has since informed me that he felt the exact same way. Although the trip was a good one it left me feeling sad. How could I love someone this much and not be meant to be with him? How could I get over this feeling that made me sick with longing? I made excuses to myself, ran into a relationship with yet another wrong guy, threw myself into finishing my Master’s Degree and I missed my best friend more than ever. x heather

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.