It was 2001 and way too hot to be wearing that puffy coat. But there he was, weather be damned, suited up on the basketball court at Britannia. My first day, the new kid, the 'troubled teen', expelled from Tech! Introduced by Lil' T to Big Jay, which ultimately ended up with me being Big T and having a stalwart friend in my corner.
We were a tight group, spending our days and nights together. Sometimes up to no good but, most of the time the mother he and his siblings so generously shared with all of us, kept us in line; as best as one can keep a pack of rabid teenagers in line, anyway.
Some of my most cherished moments with Jay were the quiet stolen away conversations we had. He would notice me grow silent and distant. I guess it peaked his curiosity so he stole me away one night for a stroll around MacDonald, now xpey' elementary, and asked 'What happened to you?' That small seemingly insignificant question caused a bond that would withstand distance and time.
Checking in became a regular occurrence between Jay and I. For many years he was the only one who I had felt safe enough to open up to. Not even my parents or brother knew what I had gone through. He would listen to my pain while holding me and reassuring me. Nothing made me feel as safe as that for many, many years.
As many can attest, a hug from Jay was so much more..... everything. He was so much more.
Thank you for being the first person to support me in finding my voice and standing up for myself.
Thank you for always having wise words, even if they were laced with relentless sarcasm.
Thank you for caring.
And the big one, thank you for sharing Momma that ridiculously hot day in 2001 when you just would NOT take off that puffy coat.
I love you. I miss you. I'm sorry I waited for tomorrow.