By: kf6tac (Brian) and Jamie Sommers
Rated P/G 13
Synopsis: Landon and Jamie have had their first date now they have to face their friends, their family and their own fears. Written in both Landon’s POV (in bold print by Brian/kf6tac) and Jamie’s POV (in italics by Jamie Sommers)
Saturday morning, I went over to the cemetery to look for Jamie’s telescope. I pulled my car up to where we had spent the night during our date, and it was right there where we left it. It was good to know that people didn’t come by and damage it while it was sitting there. I had just started to take it apart and load it into my car when I heard the rumbling of a loud engine. I looked up, and Dean had pulled his truck right up to my car.
‘Now what could he possibly be doing here?’ I thought to myself as Dean got out of the truck. He didn’t have any family buried at the cemetery… so I concluded that the only reason he could be there was that he was looking for me. We just kind of looked at each other for a while, neither person sure what exactly to say or do. Dean was the first to actually say something.
“So uh… I talked to Eric.” About me and Jamie, no doubt. I wondered what was coming next. He stood there again, trying to figure out what to say. Finally he managed, “Do you need some help with this stuff?” He gestured toward the disassembled telescope at my feet.
He hadn’t exactly apologized, but I knew what it was like to be a ‘macho’ guy. It was the same reason I somehow couldn’t bring myself to apologize to Jamie about the incident by the lockers… not until I fell in love with her at least. Dean wasn’t being funny or stupid here--he was actually trying. I decided to cut him some slack.
“Sure.” I handed him the base of the telescope and we started loading things up.
My first stop after the cemetery was Jamie’s house. It didn’t seem like anyone was up, so I just sat there in the yard measuring her existing telescope. I did all the math in a little notebook, and then I was off to the hardware store. I needed to get a lot of things… screws, nuts, bolts, just about everything you could think of to build a telescope. I stopped at my house after that to get some tools and a little worktable, and then I headed back to Jamie’s house. I figured that since this telescope would be larger, I probably wouldn’t be able to fit it into the back of my car. That meant I had to do all the work in Jamie’s yard. I hoped her dad wouldn’t mind.
It took me a little while to get everything unloaded. I had to set up the worktable, and then I had this big cylinder of craft board that I was going to be using as the main body of the telescope. I decided to start from the bottom up, building a base first so I’d have a place for the scope when I finished it. I pulled out a couple sheets of plywood that I would be starting with and got to work. I picked up my saw, and then before doing anything else I put it down again and looked at my watch. Sawing could make a lot of noise, and I didn’t want to wake up the neighborhood. It was around 11AM though, so I figured no one would be too terribly bothered by my work.
I knew I was dreaming, but it was such a sweet dream. Landon and I were walking along the dock where he took me for our first date. We were watching the different boats and ships go by and the sun was just coming up. He kissed me. I could feel his hands caressing the sides of my face as I closed my eyes and lifted my lips to his. In the background we could hear the sounds of the sea, the dinging buoys, the deep honk of the tugboat and the pounding of a hammer?
I opened my eyes and listened to the sound of pounding coming from outside my window. I was dizzy, but I told myself, ‘I could do this…just stand up Jamie. Why am I so hot? My skin feels like it’s on fire. Landon? Oh, Landon…I love you.’
I heard my father walk in, “Jamie? What is that boy doing in the yard?”
‘He’s building my telescope daddy. I told you he loves me.’
“Jamie what’s the matter?”
I had just cut the first piece of plywood off when Reverend Sullivan appeared at an upstairs window. He seemed pretty panicked.
“Landon, get up here as soon as you can! It’s Jamie!”
I dropped my tools and went straight for the door. Luckily it was unlocked, and I ran upstairs to Jamie’s room. When I got inside, I saw the reason for all the agitation: Reverend Sullivan was kneeling on the floor, with Jamie crumpled over in his arms.
“I’ll get the phone and call for help,” I said after swallowing the immediate wave of panic.
“The phone’s in the kitchen,” Reverend Sullivan called out from behind me. “Just call for emergency help. We’ll get a hold of her doctor at the hospital.”
I paced around the living room while talking to the emergency operator. ‘Stay calm, Landon’ I told myself. ‘You’re not going to do any good if you can’t calm down and tell them what’s going on.’
“Yes, hello? Yeah, we need an ambulance here right away. It’s my girlfriend, she has leukemia and she just passed out.”
“All right sir, just stay calm and an ambulance will be there soon,” the operator said. “Just say on the line until they arrive.”
“Okay, okay. I can do that. Please hurry.”
It was probably only a minute or two before the sounds of sirens drew near, but it felt like an eternity. I knew I should go up and check on Jamie, but her father was already there and I would just start to freak out if I was there too long. Instead I waited by the door, and the minute the EMTs showed up I directed them upstairs to Jamie’s room. They got her on a stretcher and put her into the ambulance. Her father climbed in after them.
“Landon, they’re taking Jamie to the hospital. You can meet us there if you like.”
Was he kidding? Of course I was going to meet him there! The ambulance pulled away, and I ran for my car.
“Jamie, can you hear me? I’m going to insert and IV in your arm, I just need you to stay still. Try not to move.”
“Let’s get a CBC, Cell Count, a Com metabolic panel, full chem.….”
“Jamie? I’m going to be drawing some blood now…”
“She’s losing consciousness again…”
“Jamie can you stay with us? Jamie?”
I couldn’t stay awake. I could hear them, but I couldn’t answer.
I opened my eyes to darkness; Landon was sitting by my side, holding my hand. I was parched, my mouth was dry, and my head was anything but clear. “Lahnn…”
“Shhhh, baby,” he kissed my hand and lifted his tear streaked face to mine.
“Thirsty,” I could barely speak.
He held my head up and helped me to take a sip of water. I could feel myself slipping away again even before he put my head back down on the pillow.
“Lie with me, Landon,” I wasn’t sure if I just thought it or said it. I closed eyes and didn’t awake again until morning.
I followed the ambulance to the hospital, and then I parked my car in the visitors’ lot and went straight to the emergency room desk.
“I’m here to see Jamie Sullivan, she was just brought in.”
The receptionist did some looking through a written file, and then checker her computer.
“She just came in, they’re doing some tests right now. You can wait for them over in the hallway there.” She pointed down a long hallway, and I saw Reverend Sullivan sitting in one of the seats along the wall.
“Thanks,” I said to the receptionist.
I was almost shaking as I walked down the hall. Jamie couldn’t be leaving me already. It just wasn’t right. I felt like I was about to get cheated out of something extremely dear to my heart.
“How is she?” I managed to choke out when I got there next to her father.
He just shook his head. “I don’t know, Landon. I don’t know.”
We sat there in silence for what seemed like forever, and finally the doctor walked out of Jamie’s room. Reverend Sullivan stood up.
“How is she, Dr. Rosen?” He asked.
“She’s getting worse,” was the reply. “She’s resting now and we’ve given her some medications. I’m not sure yet exactly what will happen, so we’re keeping a tight watch on her for the next twenty-four hours or so. Hopefully she’ll come out of it, but…” He didn’t need to finish the sentence. We all knew what he would have said.
“Doctor, can I see her?” I asked.
He gave me a look, and I realized he didn’t know who I was. “Yes son, you can see her. Just be careful in there, we’ve got a lot of equipment set up and quite a few lines running. Make sure you don’t disturb any of them.”
“I’ll be careful.”
I pushed the door open and walked into the room. The lights were dimmed, but I could see Jamie’s face from the glow of the monitors and instrument panels. Despite all that was happening, she looked so peaceful as she slept. Her doctor’s words kept echoing in my mind.
‘Hopefully she’ll come out of it, but…’
I pulled a chair up to her bed and sat down next to her. I put one hand over hers. I smiled when I felt the warmth of her skin against mine, I knew she was still here with me. But how long would she stay? I didn’t care, I finally decided. I would sit there with her all night if I had to. As I sat there watching her, I realized just how helpless I felt. ‘Is this what it’s going to be like?’ I wondered. ‘Am I going to have to just sit around and watch her die?’ I tried to hold back the tears, but they wouldn’t be contained. I started crying, right there at Jamie’s bedside.
Almost as if she had heard me, I heard Jamie trying to say my name.
“Shhhh, baby,” I said to her. I didn’t want her to strain herself trying to talk. I kissed her hand, and when I looked up I was overjoyed to see that she was awake.
“Thirsty,” she whispered.
I turned around, and there on her bedside table was a glass of water. I lifted her head up and held the glass to her lips. She took a few sips, and then she closed her eyes again. As I was laying her head back down, I heard her say, “Lie with me Landon…”
I set the glass of water on the table and I carefully climbed onto the bed next to her. After I had settled in, making sure not to touch any of the tubes and wires coming from the instruments, I whispered to her “I love you Jamie.” I fell asleep lying there next to her.
I could hear my father’s voice in the back of my head waking me from my peaceful slumber, “Landon. Go home son.”
“I’m not tired.”
“I just need a minute with her.”
I lied there with my eyes closed, straining to open them. I felt Landon’s lips press up against my hand and his heard his gentle words. My eyes finally opened as I turned my head to look at his bowed head, “I’ll be back, okay?”
My heart ached as I watched him leave, but I knew he needed his rest and my father wanted to speak with me. I could always tell when he had something on his mind. His face would always have such a concerned look about it. “Daddy,” I pouted my lip a bit. “So serious.”
“Do you remember when
you were about 5 or 6? And you said you hated gravity and you wanted to jump
off the roof and fly?” He needed to
relive my childhood with me, to go back to a time when life was less
complicated and I was all his and no one else’s.
“I was so angry at you for making me come down.”
“Honey, if I kept you too close, it's because I wanted to keep you longer.” He was speaking about Landon. I knew it. It was his way of apologizing for not believing in him the way that I did, for trying to sway me against being with him.
“Dad.” I wanted to let him know that it was all right, everything would be okay.
“You know, when I lost your mother. I was afraid my heart would never
open again. Jamie I couldn't look at you for days. But then…” He lifted up his face and smiled at me so completely.
“I love you so much.”
He clasped my hands and put his head down against them, crying his ‘I’m sorry’ over and over again. I placed my hands upon his head and whispered to him, “Daddy, it’ll be okay. I won’t leave you yet. I promise. I’m not going anywhere yet. I’ve still got a lot left on my list I need to get done.” He lifted his tear streaked face to me and smiled. I was starting to fade in and out again, but before I fell asleep I there was something I had to ask of my father, “Daddy…I need you to do something for me.”
“What is it?”
Reverend Sullivan needed to talk to Jamie the next morning, and even though I told him I wasn’t tired I realized just how tired I was when I walked out into the hallway. I looked back in the door, and Jamie seemed to be doing alright and having a good conversation with her father. I figured I could afford a little bit of sleep.
I got out to my car and as I was driving home, I was seized again with the sudden urge to stop at the church. I didn’t go into the back this time, I just sat there on the steps in front of the main entrance. I should’ve gone home to sleep, but something was calling me there. I sat on the steps for probably half an hour or so, when I saw Reverend Sullivan pull his car into the parking lot as well.
‘Is he here because he saw my car, or because something called to him too?’ I wondered.
“Landon, I thought you were going to get some rest?” he asked when he saw me sitting there.
For a minute I thought about making some smart-aleck remark on how I was resting by sitting, but I decided not to. I did, after all, want Reverend Sullivan to take me seriously.
“I thought I was going home too… but then I felt this urge to come here.” I knew it probably sounded crazy. “Was there a church service today?”
“I called some of the more active parishioners yesterday. They got the message out that I wouldn’t be able to hold a service today.” He looked at me a long time, like he wasn’t sure what else to say. Finally he broke the silence, saying “I know how you feel, son. I’ve had the feeling many times in my life.”
It was then that I realized he had called me “son” twice already, all in one morning. “Reverend, can we talk awhile?” I asked.
He looked surprise, but said to me, “Sure Landon. Why don’t we go inside?”
We sat down at the front row of pews. “So what did you want to talk to me about?”
“Well,” I began, “I know you don’t trust me very much and you probably aren’t too fond of me either. But I wanted you to know that Jamie is everything I have these days. I wouldn’t have believed it if someone had told me a few months ago, but I’m totally in love with your daughter. That day when Jamie stopped running lines with me for the play, I felt so empty and hollow when I got home. I realized that my life to that day had been aimless and that I was getting nowhere. And when Jamie told me she loved me, I felt like God had given me a second chance. That he …” I stopped, because tears were welling up in my eyes and I couldn’t go on.
Reverend Sullivan put a hand on my shoulder. “Landon, let me tell you something. When Jamie first agreed to help you with your lines for the play, you were right, I didn’t trust you and I thought you were the worst person she could have chosen to spend her time with.”
“Do you still feel that way now?” I asked him.
He shook his head slowly. “No, I don’t. That night after the carnival I thought that maybe I shouldn’t have trusted you, but I’m beginning to think that I was wrong about you. The Landon Carter I thought I knew wouldn’t have stayed by Jamie’s bedside all last night. And he probably wouldn’t have felt called to this church now.”
“So you understand then, how much I love your daughter?”
“Perhaps. I know that this isn’t just some immature infatuation.”
“You know about Jamie’s list of things to do with her life, don’t you?”
“Of course I do, Landon. She shared it with me when she first made it.”
“I want to make her number one come true.”
He stopped and looked at me, running a hand through his hair. “Landon, I… I don’t want you to do anything out of pity for my daughter. She doesn’t need that kind of…”
“It’s not about pity, Reverend,” I cut him off. “It’s about love. I love Jamie. I want to marry her.”
“Marriage is a serious commitment Landon. I know that you have strong feelings for my daughter, but I don’t think you’re ready to be making this kind of decision! You’ve had a lot of stress, I think you need to get some rest and calm down.”
I stared at him, not sure whether to argue or not.
“Look Landon, I don’t want you to get hurt and I don’t want my daughter to get hurt. I just don’t want you getting yourselves into a painful marriage.”
Normally I probably would have argued, but he was right. We had both been under a lot of stress, and now wasn’t the time to fight over something like that. At least I got my message out to him. I could come back to it later.
“Alright, sir. I’m going to go home and get some rest. Will you be staying here?”
“I’ll be here awhile longer. Go ahead and get some sleep son.”
“Jamie?” I heard a soft voice trying to stir me from my slumber, “Jamie. I’m going to have some of the equipment removed and let you try to eat a little something today.”
As I opened my eyes I saw my doctor standing before me, talking to some nurses. “Dr. Rosen?”
“Ahhhh, there you are. How are you feeling?”
“Pretty good. A little tired.”
“That’s from the medication, but we’re adjusting that so you won’t be so groggy all the time.”
“We’re going to be removing the oxygen as well as the catheter and then, if you’d like, you can get out of bed and freshen up a bit.”
“I’d like that, but I don’t know if I can do it by myself.”
“Don’t worry sweetheart, I’m here to help you,” said one of the nurses that was preparing a syringe. “You might feel a little burning and stinging from this,” she injected a fluid into the tube.
“What is it?”
“It’s just a saline flush to clear the tube. Now I’m going to administer…”
I closed my eyes as she went through the procedure, explaining it step by step and tried to keep my mind off of the stinging sensation that was going through my veins.
Thoughts of Landon filled my head, his smile, his touch, his kiss. We had been through so much over these past few months—made it over so many obstacles: My father, our friends, my leukemia. I realized at that moment how grateful I was that he was sticking by me through all of this. It got me to wondering though…we had spent our entire lives with each other, we essentially grew up together, yet we never knew one another until a few short months ago. ‘Did You send him to me?’ I began to ask God in a silent prayer. ‘If so, then thank You. I don’t think I could’ve made it this far without him.’
I remembered our first date and the walk we took along the water. I could still feel his hand in mine, smell the salty air.
“How can you see places like this, have moments like this, and not believe?”
“You’re lucky to be so sure.” I walked ahead of him, as he reluctantly let go of my hand.
I stood there looking over the water and marveled over God’s beauty, “It’s like the wind…I can’t see it, but I can feel it.”
“What’d you feel?”
“I feel wonder and beauty…joy…love. I mean, it’s the center of everything.”
“Jamie, would you like to get cleaned up now?” The nurse’s voice pulled me out of my stupor.
“Yes. Can you help me?”
Later that afternoon, I was sitting out on my porch. I had just gotten up from a long nap and was just getting ready to go see Jamie again. Then I saw Belinda coming towards my front steps and I stood up to greet her.
“Hi,” she said nervously.
She handed me a small envelope she had brought along.
“I meant to give you these. Pictures from the play,” she explained.
I held the envelope in my hands, not sure if I wanted to look inside or not.
“I’m sorry about the fliers!” Belinda blurted out.
“Hey, it doesn’t matter,” I reassured her. It had mattered when it first happened… but now, I just felt it would be petty for me to hold grudges. Life was too short.
“Yeah…” Belinda sighed. “I guess you’re with who you should be. It’s like she chose you.”
“Yeah, I don’t even know why.” I really didn’t know. Somehow Jamie just saw the good in me that no one else knew was there.
“I do,” Belinda replied, sounding like she was holding back tears. Before I knew what was going on, she pulled me in and kissed me on the cheek. The next thing I knew, she was running down my porch steps.
As I watched Belinda leave, I felt terrible all over again for how I had treated her when I broke up with her. I had thought she was the worst person in the world when she was making fun of Jamie, but I guess… I guess she was in love with me all along.
I opened up the envelope of pictures and pulled them out. They were in a folder, and after opening the folder and looking at the first picture I knew I couldn’t go any farther. What I had seen, a picture of Jamie and me sitting on stage right before she sang “Only Hope,” was enough to bring me to the verge of tears.
After freshening up, my nurse helped me back into bed and I looked out the window towards the sky. It was at that moment that I felt God’s presence and I knew there was more in store for me than what I had bargained for. There was so much more to life than what I thought. In the grand scheme of things this life that I was living on earth could very well be just a quick glimpse of what eternity will be like. That this time here is just the starting point of the greater journey and along the way we decide who and what we take with us to the ever after and again I thought of Landon. I knew that one day we would be together forever and that nothing could ever hurt us again, but right now…
“Jamie, your father stopped by and dropped this off for you. He’s meeting with your doctor right now, but he’ll be back soon,” she said as she checked the IV flow. “You get some rest now.”
“Okay…thank you.” I picked up my mother’s book and ran my hand over the cover thinking about my favorite passage from Corinthian’s. I had told Landon number one on my list so long ago, but I never told him that I wanted this read on the day I get married. I began reciting it in my head as I closed my eyes to go to sleep. ‘Love is always patient and kind…’