Never Say Goodbye

I always reminisce and get sentimental around this time of year. Maybe it’s the slowing down of the seasons, heading toward that longest night of the year on Yule. Maybe it’s chilly nights and crisp days, although for this Midwestern boy who’s been living in warm climates for three Autumns now, that chill, that crispness is quite relative.

Anyway, I got hit with some nostalgia just a while ago. Everyone else was settling in to sleep for the night, and I was getting the dishwasher loaded and the kitchen cleaned up. In addition to the pasta and asparagus everyone else wanted tonight, I continued my experiments in learning to make falafel, hummus, and toum, an intense garlic dipping sauce. In other words, more dishes than usual.

I asked the Echo Show in our kitchen to play the Bon Jovi station from iHeart Radio. It’s a great mix of some old favorites that is especially enjoyable when I’m working in the kitchen...although how the hell Nickelback gets into that mix, I'll never know.

First song..."Never Say Goodbye" from Bon Jovi's _Slippery When Wet_album.

I chuckled, and was instantly transported to an Eighth grade dance. A dance when that song was played twice. The second time was the last dance of the night. By that time, J and I had decided we were a couple. I'm not really sure how that happened, but it did...and it was my first relationship.

Now this was quite a small school, and I am using this young lady's initial to protect her identity. You see, junior high romances can be quite a delicate subject.

I was on top of the world!

The relationship lasted all of four days.

Now, I know...why nostalgia about a four day relationship? Well, it's really what came out of the end of that relationship that still brings a smile to my face.

As sometimes happens with these junior high romances, J sent a friend of hers to break up with me. Her name is J also. Same initial, same first name.

Friend J (not ex-girlfriend J) was very sweet and very apologetic. She didn't know details of J's reasoning, but offered to find out for me. Friend J came back later and reported that J was just playing a joke on me, she wasn't serious, etc.

To her credit, when J and I found each other years later on Facebook, she apologized for the way she treated me. I easily forgave her. We were young...these things happen.

We kept in good touch until one day I made disparaging remarks about the silly Facebook quizzes..."What 1980's song are you?" or "What breakfast cereal are you?"

Who the hell cares what breakfast cereal they are?

Apparently J cares.

After reading my snarky remarks about the ludicrous quizzes, she commented that she works hard, and if she wants to unwind by taking quizzes like that, then she should have every right to do so!

Then she unfriended me.

I haven't heard from her since.

Guess we REALLY weren't meant to be in each other's lives. (I still think those quizzes are stupid.)

But back to Friend J...

She became my friend. We were in a lot of the same activities together, and she was kind, and sweet, and cute. Yes, I had a crush on her for a while, though I never told her.

Some of my fondest memories with her, and forgive me if I have written about this before, is the year we had study hall together. We never studied...we went to the band room to play music. She'd play the piano, I'd play the drum set. We'd play the same songs over, and over, and we were happy. We were content to share that music in that space, in that time. Sometimes people would listen and chat for a while, sometimes it was just the two of us.

That's what I get nostalgic for. That friendship with Friend J. That friendship that we still keep up through social media.

I wonder if we could get that back. If we got together with that piano, and those drums, would those old songs come back to us?

That's one thing that I love about music. In just a few notes, I was whisked 30 years into the past, to the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Those warm feelings set aglow a place in my heart that has been quiet.

Though Jon Bon Jovi was singing "Never Say Goodbye" to J and me, it's Friend J and I who have yet to say it.