I often gave Jay "the look" when I had friends at the house. Jay loved to talk in general to anyone but give him some good girl talk and he was a magnet. I would become irritated because it was my time with girlfriends and well, I wanted my time. Eventually I would learn to say ahead of time, “I am having friends over this evening. Would you mind if I had some time with my friends on my own?” He then would get the hint when I gave him “the look."
I know my friends were not annoyed with him being there as I was because everyone loved talking to Jay. I remember when I fell in love with Jay’s voice. Leading up to this moment he was hitting all of the right notes. He took me on an incredible first date that began with drinking wine and talking on the rooftop of a historic building where he worked downtown, he spent a day cleaning my closet when we gave away at least twelve full trash bags to Good Will and he showed up on my Fairfax Avenue doorstep with an old-fashioned phone (pre cell phones) after I told him that my phone was not working so well and by the way, he did not need to call me quite so often.
I think it was our third date and we were at his condo drinking tea and talking. I noticed I was falling maybe the way you do when you catch yourself falling as you drift off to sleep not because he was boring but because it was easy to fall into his beat whether he was talking or dancing or playing his steering wheel like it was a guitar or drum. Although the day he cleaned my closet was a close rival, I know it was that night, listening to his rhythmic words that I really fell for Jay and decided the new phone was a good gift and he could call me often. Jay wished he was a musician and in a way he was with his words.
Junebug could never find her words. After losing Jay, I can see why. Sudden trauma does a number on your brain and for Junebug, in the middle of the night, the breath of her voiced was knocked out of her. After Jay died, I remember feeling worried I would lose the ability to talk all together.
It seems there is a traffic jam that happens when my words are making their way from my head out of my mouth. I can hear the beeping and honking telling me to hurry up. I can see the flashing lights of the police pulling me over for saying something wrong. I can feel how hard it was in a big family sitting around the dinner table to feel like anyone was listening. I can feel how embarrassed Junebug was when she was trying out for Emmet Otter’s Jug Band in First Grade and the word on the script was “guitar” but instead she said “girdle”and everyone laughed.
I am pretty sure I had a learning disability combined with the fact that I definitely fell down the stairs at least once as a baby when my sister dropped me and considering I had four older siblings, my guess is that was not the only time. I definitely fell hard the night of my loud and sudden loss at age six and last December I fell not just once but as a wife and mother, I fell for all of us over and over again.
The same way I fell for Jay over and over again. I fell for his words, his smile, how easy it was to be with him, how good he made me feel. I fell for his salt and pepper hair and his George Clooney looks. I definitely fell for Jay when he dressed up as Dracula for Zoe's Bat Mitzvah Party last Halloween. I thought he was the MOST handsome Dracula. And when I worried about him and he reassured me, I fell too. I secretly fell for him because he was so good at talking to my friends because it was a distraction from me. He was the kind of guy who could talk to ANYONE and he was the kind of guy you could tell anything to because he never judged. It was easy to fall for Jay. He was a magnet.
My challenge now is falling for myself. The cooler fall weather this week is the perfect time to try.
Zoe's Bat Mitzvah Party. Nickel Creek When You Come Back Down. I love this from the song "I'll be the harmony to every lonely song that you learn to play." I am learning to play lonely as I write on my screened-in porch.