I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing

Back in 1994, when the class ahead of me graduated from high school, I had one simple thought and that thought was, “Good riddance.” I’d had a falling out with my older friends and I was just glad I wouldn’t have to see their faces anymore on a daily basis. But on this day, in the spring of 1998, as the class ahead of me prepared to graduate Bradford, I was a might bit sad. I hadn’t had that same falling out experience. In fact, as the years went on I grew fonder and fonder of the folks in the Class of 1998, one of them in particular.

The first time I saw the man who would become one of my best friends in the world, Jimmy was dancing about in a bright yellow shirt at freshman orientation. He wasn’t out yet, and I’d never had much experience with gay people, but I think it was apparent to me from that moment that he was a, well, a bit different, a bit too happy.

We didn’t really become friends until I started taking on more responsibility at the Bradford ReView, which shared the third floor office space of the Campus Center with Jimmy’s Bradford Voice, the student newspaper. The ReView didn’t have a computer and Jimmy’s office did and that was how we struck up our friendship.  I would knock on the door and he would let me in to play endless hours of SimCity 2000.

Over the next couple years we had our publications engage in faux-warfare, our mascots becoming each other’s mortal enemies in the pages of a comic strip we conceived to expand the comics section of the Voice, which Erik had occupied solely by himself with his strip “Charging Chipmunk Man” for a couple of years.

Anyway, I’ll get to all that as I continue to work backwards through time with this journal. The point is, when Jimmy and his class were graduating on that Saturday in early May I was sad. I had a relatively new girlfriend and things were looking up for my writing, but I was going to miss seeing Jimmy every day. What was I going to do?

Well, after graduation I helped Jimmy pack up and then I drove him the long way down to where he was going to be living for the forseeable future. I think it was south or west of Boston, maybe both. I know that he didn’t live there for as long as he thought he would. He eventually moved out and into a house he rented with a couple of other 1998 graduates.

I do know that the new Aerosmith song from the movie Armageddon was all over the radio that day. “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” was cool at first. It didn’t really sound like an Aerosmith song, but I was dealing with it. But after I heard it for the fourth time that day, I thought I might get a little violent. Little did I know it would go on to rival Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” which had been the most overplayed song of all time in the wake of the success of the film Titanic.

After I helped Jimmy move in I travelled back up to Haverhill to spend some of the afternoon with Stephanie at Angela’s house, where she’d be staying for the summer, and then it was home to figure out what the hell to do with myself for the summer.