Just One Breath

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

Finding my center


After our trip to NYC I kept my promise to myself to throw away my only size 16 pair of jeans. I lost 40 lbs (nearly 3 stone) from April to October of 2008 with a lot of hard work on my part and support from Holly, who went for many many miles of walks and runs with me over the months. I was determined to get myself back on track no matter what. At the end of my relationship in 2006 I made a deal with myself to not get into any more relationships for a long time. I needed a totally clean slate… I needed to love myself for a while. This proved to be hard but I finally got it right. The weight was coming off and the confidence was slowly but surely coming back. I was feeling better and better about myself but my conversations with one really important person were lacking.

2009 began with the usual Happy New Year email from Jamie. He said this year he had made a list of things that he wanted to do and one of them was to be a better, more talkative friend. Our messages had severely diminished since our last NYC trip. I responded that I wanted him to be the kind of friend that he could be or needed to be, not one that he felt forced to be. I told him that we weren’t kids anymore and we talked as often as we could. My life was very busy with my main client and my body re-vamp and his was very busy with his job at Equator and new friends. I told him that I had no expectations and I just wanted him to be himself, whatever that meant. God how I wish I hadn’t said this.

At some point at the beginning of the year we decided to stop talking although we have no written record of this. I wanted to do this so Jamie would move on and he wanted it so he could as well. Loving each other was just not enough. I loved him enough to let him go. It broke my heart to think of Jamie with someone else but I wanted him to be happy and I wasn’t the one that could make that happen. We had stopped talking for periods of time before for the same reasons but this new found resolution on his part was something different, something serious.

I felt that I owed it to him to leave him alone and let him get on with his life. As much as it hurt me I tried to respect his wishes but I did get in touch in February when my dog Bradley died suddenly. He said the same consoling words I had said to him when his beloved dog Kerry had passed away a few months earlier. I was devastated and just wanted to talk to Jamie but my comfort zone was gone. I had to let him go and these few words were all I had to hold onto. He had kept his part of the bargain and it was now my turn.

Suddenly and without any real decision to end my single-hood, I met someone. I fell fast and hard. He was in New York City and I was so wrapped up with being in love with NYC and falling for someone that was there that months seemed to whizz by but Jamie was never ever out of my mind. Everywhere I walked in the city I could visualize Jamie being silly pointing at something. He was on my mind everywhere I went. Every street was significant to me and Jamie. I couldn’t be there without thinking about him. What was I really in love with, the city or the man… and which man was I really in love with?

Pointing at fish in the Natural History Museum

Pointing at tall ships in South St. Seaport

God only knows what he was pointing at here. Love the smile!

Pointing at the building we pretended was the Ghostbusters apartment.

I missed him… I missed his smile… I missed the way he could make me laugh against my will… I missed Jamie but not enough to go against his wishes. I would not get in touch. I had to let him go. Then in October he did it… he really actually did it… he broke my heart. He forgot my birthday for the first time in 13 years. He was not the one to get to me with the first Birthday wish. There was no email to open when I woke up. No “Wake up! Have a great day. Happy Birthday Peanut!” Nothing… just nothing except pain. I tried to let it go, I tried to pretend it wasn’t that big of a deal but it was, it ate at me all day. I must have checked my email a thousand times. The ache had grown until I couldn’t take it and late that night I sent him a message that was one line… 🙁  first time in 13 years you didn’t say happy birthday.”

At the same time, Jamie was having a fit in the pub after having received my message and realizing he had forgotten. His friends asked why he was so upset? What was the big deal because we had stopped talking? He couldn’t explain why he felt like his “stomach had dropped out” but he felt sick. He didn’t let me know he was so upset at the time but this is something he held on to as well. He responded with sincere apologies and said that he had remembered the week before and the day before but he forgot on the day. The damage had been done and my brain was sent spinning. I didn’t respond any further.

Some weeks after the forgotten birthday I was still desperate to talk to him but I couldn’t, he had really let me go. I couldn’t stop thinking about how much it hurt to not have him say Happy Birthday to me first. I never wanted to hurt like that again, I never wanted there to be another birthday that went by without Jamie there. I wanted to let him know I was thinking about him. I wanted to let him know it hurt so much but I thought I was being silly. I couldn’t say I love you, be with me, forget our deal, I miss the hell out of you… so I sent him a package of all of his favorite American sweets but no letter. I couldn’t think of the right things to say and I then I realized I really didn’t want to say anything at all. I just wanted to let him know… just know that he was on my mind.

The months passed by and I thought about him everyday like usual but now it was worse, I thought about him all the time. I looked at his pictures on Facebook and wondered who the people were. Who was the pretty blonde? Was he dating? He looked happy… was he actually happy? Did he miss me? Was he thinking about me too? God he looks good with a beard! I was spinning… I felt sick… I felt like a stalker and this was my “best friend.” How did we end up like this? Why can’t I move on too?

My relationship was crumbling and I didn’t really do much to fight for it once I realized that it was not worth fighting for something that was fake and based on feelings I had for a place not a person. I hated where I had gotten to again and I knew why I was there. I missed Jamie. I needed my sounding board, my center…I needed him in my life so I broke my word once again… on March 8th of 2010 I couldn’t take it anymore and I finally had an excuse to write to Jamie. It was a silly excuse but it was an excuse he would understand, I had run out of the vanilla musk that he had been sending me for years from a drugstore in Scotland. Terrified and heart pounding I sent him a short message… “ever coming back across the pond? missing my best friend and my vanilla.”  I didn’t have long to wait before I saw “Our operators are waiting for your order…” in my inbox. He sent a wee message with it, “It popped into my head that you’d be out of vanilla a couple of weeks ago. The thought did not sit well with me.” 

I was beyond happy. I read it over and over through my tears. I didn’t know what it meant for us but I knew he had been thinking about me too. He was thinking about me too. x heather



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