My Zuko

This is a picture of my high school sweet heart taken about 5 years after we started dating (amazing what 5 years does...but still not too bad lol). Yep, he was a bad ass and every 16 year old girls' fantasy. He was everything a parent wouldn't want their innocent daughter dating...except that he was a really nice guy and my parents loved him.
We were complete opposites. I was a straight A student that was college bound...he got his GED and dropped out of high school at 16. He worked all the time and planned to for the rest of his life. He was adventurous and confident. I was a big chicken and super self conscious. He had dated a lot and I had not..at all. He was never a "forever" kind of guy and I liked that about him. I never had to worry about where it was going because it wasn't going anywhere. It was just fun and that was nice.
I had the biggest crush on him. He was a good friend (I hung out with a bunch of guys) of mine's buddy and fell head over heels for him. My good friend was completely against the idea and made me swear to stay away from him. He had groupies that called him and would do anything for him and he took advantage of that. He cheated on every girlfriend he ever had and really wasn't into the "girlfriend" thing anyways. The only women in his life he ever showed any respect to was his mother and his grandmother. I didn't care.
I think part of the reason I had such a huge crush on him was because he was so unobtainable. He could have any girl he wanted and in my mind that gave my chances less than zero. Except that it wasn't. We became good friends and eventually started dating. He was a complete gentleman and was a lot of fun to be around. I asked him one time why he treated me different than any other girl and he told me that he treats women the way they demand to be treated. If you demand respect you will get it..if you don't then hey.
Before I started dating him I little to no self confidence. I was a nerdy girl that was awkward in my body. I hated myself...a lot. He changed all of that. He didn't just make me feel pretty....he made me feel hot and sexy. Two adjectives that I had never applied to myself...ever. He was a good sport and took me to my school dances and would humor my friends. It was torturous I know but he cared about me so he stepped outside of his element. We dated for about two years and then I went off to college. Our parting wasn't the smoothest thing but we over looked it and stayed friends. He came and visited a couple of times and I saw him once when I went home. Over the years we lost touch (this was pre facebook, twitter, etc).
Jim died July 9, 2004. His heart stopped beating one night. Tests later confirmed that he had an enlarged heart that no one ever knew about. The heart breaking part for me was that I didn't find out until a year later. At the time Bret and I were living away from my hometown. No one knew how to reach me. It was a blessing in disguise. I was pregnant with Emily and on bedrest in the hospital for pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure). I am sure that finding out at the time would have put me and my baby at risk. I still keep in touch with his mom. Sometimes it's hard to remember that he is gone.
Sometimes when I think about who I am and how I became me it reminds me of the amazing people that touched my life...sometimes all too briefly.


Stephanie said...

That was a very sweet story. Thank you for sharing.

LegalMist said...

I'm in tears reading this. So sorry for your loss. What a wonderful tribute to your friend.

Girl With The Golden Touch said...

Wow..I didn't expect that ending to your post.

So sorry to hear this. xx