My Friend, Jesse

On my way to snag a free Patio design book—I mean, who can resist Buy Nothing’s awesome giveaways?—I decided to give my old pal Jesse a ring. Surprisingly, instead of a text, he actually called me back. It was a pleasant surprise, to say the least.

Jesse and I go way back, all the way to when I was 14 and he was 15. I still recall the excitement that buzzed through the town when he and his brother rolled into Enumclaw. This small, charming place went wild for those two dashing, football-hopeful-playing siblings.

The details of how Jesse and I became friends are a bit hazy in my memory. I think it all started when my buddy Lue, who was infatuated with their irresistible charm, introduced me to them on the bus. I’m pretty sure the fact that they hailed from Liberty High School came up in conversation, and that’s when I mentioned my cousin Chad.

As fate would have it, Jesse and Chad were close friends and neighbors who played football together before the move. Their parting ways was undoubtedly a significant loss for both of them.

Riding in my mom’s white 1989 Buick, she would drop me off and pick me up from Jesse’s place. I can feel the wind rushing past as we zoomed around his property on his trusty three-wheeler, my arms securely wrapped around his waist.

During my visits to Jesse’s house, I had the opportunity to ride horses and learn the art of roping as his brother and parents were passionate about rodeos.

Jesse’s parents and I shared a disdain for pretense and our love for playful antics brought us even closer. Even after Jesse and Kasey moved out, got married, and started their own families, I would still make it a point to drop by and visit Ladelle and Brian whenever I was in town. Over the years, I became like a surrogate daughter to them.

Unfortunately, Jesse and my friendship hit a rough patch in our twenties. A girlfriend of Jesse’s became jealous, and he had to make a choice. Sadly, our friendship became collateral damage. The pain I felt when I heard the news was suffocating, to say the least.

Now, fast forward twenty-six years, and our ten-minute phone call encapsulates the essence of Jaclynn and Jesse perfectly. “I hope you have the awesomest day,” he cheerfully says in that same unchanged, feminine voice that never deepened like most men’s voices do. As we hang up, I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of love and nostalgia.

Today, I am beyond grateful for the secure and lasting relationship I’ve built with Jesse. It brings me immense joy to imagine him and his family dropping over for a visit this summer, and I look forward to a lifetime of check-ins and well-wishes between us. This bond we share, forged over the years, holds a special place in my heart. I cherish our moments and the memories we’ve created together.

Love, Jaclynn

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