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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

What I said and what I meant to say

I told him that I can’t stop thinking about how little this test has to do with whether or not I get my degree in 21 days.

What I meant to say….

On Monday, the last day of my trip back to Colorado, I had breakfast with one of my mentors from the college where I worked from 1999-2001. Marc started in the counseling center and had moved over to the leadership center when I was about to move on from the college.

Over the course of breakfast, we talked about the people who have died over the last 15 years, what we reevaluated after those deaths, my crushes, and his plans for retirement.

2015-08-09 10.15.15

We talked about how Sandy died when she was 42. She’d been in the best shape of her life, went to the doctor for appendicitis and they found a 21 inch tumor across her abdomen. We talked about how she really lived that last year – Egypt, Paris, eating fatty foods, seeing the world and her friends. We talked about how Cristina worked until she was 62. Worked 60-70 hour weeks until she retired. And then she died from cancer two years later. About how Lori had Crohn’s, slipped into a coma from AFIB and died in her early 50s.

Then he said, “Do you remember Dave?” I did, in part because Dave loaned me his 7-year-old daughter’s copies of Harry Potter when she was finished with them in 2000. “Well, it turns out that Dave was my best friend.”

I keep turning that sentence over in my head. I knew Marc and Dave at the beginning of their friendship. When we were all just starting to play poker together. Then I slipped on out of town and they went on to become best friends. It’s so rare to hear men use the phrase, so it seems like you’re being given something very special to hear one man call another his best friend.

Dave also died of cancer. Technically he died of a lung infection, but he wouldn’t have gotten it if he hadn’t had cancer.

In the middle of all this, Marc asked me about my love life in the way that a life long student affairs person asks, “So, tell me the real news. Men, women – do you have anyone special?”

And I blushed and told him about a man who lives across the country, but school… work… real life… there are a lot of barriers.

I got home to Chicago late that night, went to bed and woke up around 4am thinking, “I have to tell him. This crush. I have to tell him about making life count, because our friends are to keep dying and how much time do any of us have anyway.”

Anyway. I have to study for a test that I’m probably going to fail.

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