Thursday, February 25, 2010

valentine's day

ok, i know it's been awhile, but without any long has been busy!

happy belated valentine's day.

five years ago, Jarronn and i shared our first valentine's day together. we were just friends at the time. or friends who liked each other but didn't say anything. in the weeks leading up to valentine's day, i had thought about him but didn't really see how any plans with him would materialize. then, a week or so before v-day, Jarronn sent me an email. i had lost one of our series of spongebob taboo games when we had been snowed in, and he wanted to "help me" pay back my debt. since i owed him dinner, he suggested that we visit a restaurant that was offering a three-course meal for two at some special price. he noted that the special was being offered on february 14, but didn't mention anything about valentine's day. how convenient.

he took care of the reservations. and we drove up to montclair after work. we sat at a little table and on little stools. we were incredibly close to the two couples sitting on both sides of us. so close, that we spent most of the dinner listening to the conversation of the couple to my left. it seemed to be one of their first dates, and the guy was incredibly into himself. he seemed to use the phrase, "but that's just me," at least a dozen times. Jarronn was totally engrossed. and we'd end up using that same phrase with each other years later.

after dinner, Jarronn gave me a jar of mini reese's peanut butter cups (my favorite candy). with it was a poem he'd written for me. it was a plain white sheet of paper, with a border of red heart-shaped balloons. it read:

The Heart is like a jar, to be filled with individual pieces. I hope that yours is always filled with things that make you happy... JUST-LIKE-THESE-REESE's!!! - an original from P.J. aka Young Barack aka The Homeboy's Hitch

Jarronn insisted that i read the last line with his funny voice emphasis that only he could do. i was pretty tickled. and touched. and impressed that he had pretty much come up with the perfect gesture and gift, given the state of our relationship. more points for Jron.

the following year, Jarronn was living in maryland, and i was still in new jersey. he bought us tickets to see vivian green, common, and floetry at constitution hall. it was a great time, and i fell in love with this song.

in more recent years, we started the tradition of not going out at all. instead we'd cook for each other every february 14. he'd whip up a new recipe for dinner (his area of expertise). and i'd bake something for dessert from scratch (more of my thing). i think it was one of the best decisions we made. and one of my favorite traditions we shared.

i could say a lot about how i feel. what i miss. but today, i'll just say that i'm thankful that i can still feel Jarronn's love. that it transcends physical space and time. i wanted many more, but i'm thankful for the five wonderful v-days i got.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


one of my co-workers who reads my blog likes to tease me about my excessive use of periods. he claims it's one of the "rules" for jessica's blog. i have to say, i find this quite amusing. probably because i know so well that i write this blog with a lot of periods.

all this talk of punctuation got me thinking about something i heard someone say recently. i was in a meeting. the conversation had turned to our various life situations and how they affect our abilities to fulfill our responsibilities. then someone said that we sometimes find ourselves in a place where we are going along with life, and God places a period in a sentence of our life. and suddenly, that sentence that you thought might flow on beautifully, which you intended to fill with lovely prose and with the best nouns, verbs, adjectives, alliteration, and metaphors is abruptly. ended.


no more words. start a new paragraph. even if it seems like you're breaking the rule of not having left your last one with three or more sentences. in fact, you can put the pen down. God's writing a different story. and you're not a co-author like you thought.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

snowed in

by now, most of you know the deal or are living the deal. thirty inches of snow over the weekend and an additional 12+ is falling as we speak. it's the snowmaggedon. the snowpocalypse. the snowtorious b.i.g. and it makes you say "snoMG!" (love that one). whatever you call it, i haven't seen snow like this...ever. but unlike a lot of people who are getting stir crazy and longing to break free, i couldn't be more content to be at home. i'm loving the fact that everyone has been forced to slow down. that i was able to get over my cough and sniffles, because i finally got some rest. and that i've been able to tackle more of the things on my long list of to-do's.

during the first winter after Jarronn and I met, somewhere around early 2005, new jersey was gearing up for a major blizzard. (looking back, it was absolutely nothing compared to what's going on right now). so Jarronn made the suggestion that we get snowed in together. this concept of purposefully getting stuck somewhere other than at home had never occurred to me. but hanging out with him was always a good time, so i figured i could manage a 36-hour hang out session.

i made my way over to his apartment, and the snow was already coming down. not long after i arrived, Jarronn insisted that we go buy a sled. so we hopped in his car and slid our way up route 1 to the wal-mart. i laughed hysterically as Jarronn tried to pick out the perfect sled -- one that could fulfill his need for speed and somewhat looked like it wasn't just made for children under the age of 10. he pulled one off the shelf, placed it on the center of the aisle, and sat inside to make sure he had a match. the pickings were slim, so it would have to do.

we got back in the car, and he wanted to do fishtails in the parking lot. i told him he was crazy in my voice that has an underlying note of: "and i wish you'd stop." :-) he rolled over a curb on his way out the parking lot, and it seemed to straighten him out. once again, i laughed at the face he made. the one where he knew he might have taken something too far and needed to pull himself together.

we played hours of spongebob uno that night, which led to some heated debates. i lost our series of best out of five that night, and losing always came with a price. i owed Jarronn dinner. after watching t.v., i fell asleep on the sofa, and Jarronn probably conked out in the middle of his area rug, which he so often did. he seemed to have no coffee table, just for this very purpose.

in the morning, the snow had stopped, and it was playtime. Jarronn went on a search for a hill. but not before putting a pot roast in the oven (who would have guessed?). he had apparently had it in the freezer for some time and had been wanting to cook it.

once outside, Jarronn's first find was a 25 foot mound of plowed snow, which was somehow climbable, but had a ridiculous slope. he decided against using that as his playground -- at least for that moment. we found a much more suitable hill in the back of his apartment complex. there were a couple of young boys already there, sledding and having a great time.

it took no time for the boys to become Jarronn's snow partners. they took turns going down the hill. had a snowball fight, which they roped me into. and i'll never forget watching Jarronn push one of the little boy's faces down into the snow. i was shocked and thought for certain that the boy would bust into tears. but instead, he lifted up his face -- which had snowed stuck to his eyebrows, nose, and cheeks -- and just burst into laughter. i clearly saw the difference between girls and boys that day.

on our way back to the indoors, Jarronn passed that 25 foot mound again. this time, he thought, "why not?" never mind that the mound's slope was about 55 degrees and flat-lined sharply when it met the black pavement. all i'll say is that it wasn't pretty.

i was exhausted from the snow play and thought i was going to pass out. literally. it took everything in me to climb the flight of stairs up to Jarronn's apartment, as i envisioned how embarrassed i'd be when i came to and realized he had to call an ambulance for me. thankfully, i made it to the big area rug, collapsed, and was able to regain my strength without blacking out. years later, he found that story quite amusing -- mostly because he was so oblivious to the whole thing.

the pot roast was delicious. of course. and the company was even better. i almost didn't want the snow to stop or for my car to be accessible. i could really get used to this concept of getting snowed in...

photos of Jarronn in the snow...

Monday, February 1, 2010

six months

saturday marked six months since Jarronn died. since life changed. it probably sounds strange, but i've both dreaded and looked forward to this milestone. the dread is for obvious reasons. life without Jarronn isn't the same. it's not my choice. and the more time that passes by solidifies how certain my new reality is. but in another way, reaching six months somehow provides an answer to a question i ask myself constantly: "can i really make it through life like this?" and milestones like january 30 somehow confirm that i can. that if i've in fact made it this far, i can make it through another day. one day at a time...

six months has moved quickly and gone by painfully slow at the same time. parts of me have wanted to hold on to life six months ago. to stop time and the world from moving. but things have kept moving. people kept living their lives. the sun kept rising and setting. i kept breathing. and i've had to keep up. had to move forward.

but unfortunately, forward sometimes feels like farther. farther from Jarronn and the life i loved.

half a year is a relatively short amount of time, but it's significant. and as i exhale {{exhale}}, i'm embracing the good and bad that has come with it.