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.
I didn’t get much time after Jamie went home from the hospital to work on her telescope. I had planned to get to work, but things got really tight between schoolwork, graduation rehearsals, a few AP exams, and spending more time with Jamie. I usually ended up just sitting with her in her room, or reading some books from Mr. Rothman’s list with her. It was another two weeks before I got back to the telescope. I had checked every astronomy web page I could find and read just about any books on comets in the school library, and as far as I could tell Hiakutaki would be coming around that weekend. Building a telescope turned out to be not as straightforward as I originally thought, but thankfully I had bought plenty of extra materials to work with in case I made a mistake. Of course I still had to go to school during the day, so every evening after I was done with my homework I was over in Jamie’s yard working.
He came everyday after school to read with me, sit with me or work on my telescope. I tried to encourage him to study for his exams but he would just say, "Don't worry. I'll study when I go home."
I heard the sounds coming from outside and I knew that today he would be spending time on my telescope. I stood on my balcony and watched him. Banging, sawing and yelping seemed to become normal noises on any given weekday. He smacked his thumb with the hammer again.
“Landon, are you all right?”
“Yeah Jamie, everything’s fine. Just a little bad aim with the hammer. Go on inside and get some rest, I’ll be okay.”
“Landon, would you come up here and sit with me for a while?” I wasn't supposed to have visitors in the house when daddy wasn't home, but lately he'd become a little more lenient when it came to his rules. He looked up and I knew he was going to argue with me but before he could present his case I said, "Please?" I really needed to talk about something that had been on my mind for a while now.
“OUCH!” It was Wednesday evening, and I had just hit my thumb with a hammer for what must have been the tenth time that night. I looked up and saw Jamie standing out on her balcony. She must have heard my exclamation. ‘Good thing I didn’t swear,’ I thought to myself.
“Landon,” she called out weakly. “Are you alright?”
“Yeah Jamie, everything’s fine. Just a little bad aim with the hammer. Go on inside and get some rest, I’ll be okay.” She had been pretty weak since she went into the hospital, and I didn’t want her to wear herself out worrying about me.
Instead of going inside though, Jamie asked me to sit with her inside. I was a bit uncertain; I knew her father wasn’t around and that I wasn’t supposed to be inside. She wouldn’t let me argue though, and she sounded like she really wanted to talk so I put my tools down and went up to her room.
He sat on the edge of my bed and talked to me about school, his pending exams, his mom...everything, from the tiniest detail about having to stop at the store to buy pens on the way home to graduation.
"Landon? I've been thinking about something lately...” I wasn't sure how to broach such a sensitive subject.
"What is it baby?"
"Well, it dawned on me that...we seem to help each other an awful lot. You know...we talk about our problems, concerns...we're friends."
"We're more than friends. We're best friends," he leaned his head down, placing a kiss on the back of my hand and smiled into my eyes. "I've been so busy lately that you seem to be my only friend," he chuckled.
"Yes, I've noticed. Which is kind of where I'm going. See...I realized that right now I'm going through the hardest thing a person could go through in their life, but it's not so bad because...well...I have you. But when I go...I won't be here to talk about it with you and that kind of bothers me. I keep thinking about things like that lately...thinking about my friends, my family...you, and I can't help but wonder who you'll talk to when I die." I raised my eyes to his and felt an ache in the pit of my stomach.
"Uh...I...uh...I don't know. My mom I guess. Maybe my dad. I don't really know."
Tears were starting to fill his eyes and I hated myself for causing him so much pain. "Don't cry."
He swallowed and said, "I won't." We were silent for a few minutes before he said, "I'm going to miss you Jamie. I'm going to miss seeing your face everyday, hearing you sing, making you laugh."
"I'm going to miss you too." I brushed a tear off of his cheek with my thumb and said, "You said you wouldn't cry."
"Sorry." He backhanded his eyes and sniffled. "It's just hard sometimes."
"I know. It's hard for me too." We were quiet for a brief moment, "Do you think you could talk with Eric or Dean?"
"Nah...they're good friends and all, but..."
"Well there's always your father, but he's kind of far away."
"Yeah..." He began to chuckle one of those sad laughs. "You know, for a guy that was considered one of the most popular kids in school... I can't even think of one person that I can call a true friend."
"Oh, Landon,” I didn't believe that for one second. "There must be someone you can confide in. Someone that'll be there for you."
"Sure. My mom...but it's gonna be hard for her too afterwards so..."
"Are you telling me you can't think of anyone? Out of all the people you know, you can't think of one person you can talk to. One individual that you can bring your problems to? There has to be someone that you’ll feel comfortable talking with? What about…" We could hear the resounding echo of my father's footsteps on the stairs giving us no choice but to leave our conversation unfinished.
"Landon," he greeted him somewhat curtly, but he wasn't quite as bad as he could've been.
"Reverend,” Landon stood up to leave before my father could ask him to leave. "I suppose I should get going." He leaned over and kissed my forehead whispering, "I love you."
"I love you too."
"I'll see you tomorrow."
"Good night Sir," Landon nodded at my father as he made his way towards the door.
"I'll see you out, Landon."
"Thank you, Sir. Good night, Jamie."
In the morning my father brought me a tray with some breakfast on it and said, "Landon called last night, but you were asleep."
"What did he say?"
"He said you asked him a question last night and to tell you, he thought of someone…God."
After Reverend Sullivan had walked me out, I stopped at my workbench and realized just how much work I still had left to do.
‘Couldn’t this comet show up a week later or something?’ I thought to myself. ‘Maybe it’s better this way, Landon. You’ve got to start studying for finals sometime, or UNC is going to rescind your acceptance. So just get back to work… it’ll all work out for the best.’
I was pretty tired on Thursday morning, and I could barely stay awake in my classes at school. I was back at Jamie’s house that evening though, hammering and working away.
The comet was supposed to pass by Sunday evening, but at 11:30 on Saturday I was still trying to get the body of the telescope finished. I hadn’t even put in the mirrors yet. For some reason I couldn’t get a certain measurement to work out right, and while I was out there scribbling calculations in my note pad the porch light came on and I heard the door open. I heard Reverend Sullivan step out and he started walking towards me. I knew it was a little late to be doing work outside, but I needed to get this done.
“Listen, I’ve gotta finish this tonight,” I told him as he approached. I thought he was either going to tell me to go home or to let him finish it up. I couldn’t do either one. He had offered to help a few times before, but I told him that it was something I needed to do on my own for Jamie.
To my surprise, Reverend Sullivan brought with him a lantern and a mug. “Here,” he said, setting the mug down in front of me. “Something hot.”
“Okay, well I’m almost finished with the rocker. Did she order the mirrors?”
“Yeah, they’re in here,” he replied, pointing me to a little shed. As we started walking toward the shed, he asked me “What are you going to use for the side bearings?”
“I’m using an old phonographic turn table.” He didn’t object, so I figured my idea would work.
“You think you’ll get all of this done by tomorrow?” He sounded worried. To be honest, I was too, but I knew I would finish that telescope. That comet was not going to pass without Jamie getting her chance to see it. It meant too much to her… to me.
“I’ll go without sleep if I have to, but this telescope will be done tomorrow evening. Jamie deserves to see the comet.”
We brought the mirrors out from the shed and I went back to work. Reverend Sullivan watched me for a while, and apparently decided that I would be okay and he went back inside.
I worked late into the night and early into the morning. The most difficult part turned out to be getting the mirrors set just right into the telescope, but with a little help from books, I was able to do it. When I was finally done, it was almost three in the morning. I put everything away and looked around. Beaufort was a small town and we weren’t prone to graffiti and stuff like that, but I wanted to make sure that everything was set for Jamie and even though I was exhausted, I woke up Reverend Sullivan and asked him for help carrying it up to the balcony before I headed home.
He agreed to help me carry the telescope upstairs, and as we were carrying the pieces I decided to raise the issue of marriage again. “I wanna ask her to marry me,” I told him.
He stopped in the hallway and sighed. I knew he had probably been thinking about it for the few weeks that had passed since I brought it up in the church. He didn’t say anything though, and I wasn’t sure if I had convinced him yet or not.
As we set everything up I said, “I love her Sir and I’m going to ask her with or without your blessing. I’d rather ask her with it.”
Reverend Sullivan still didn’t say anything, and I knew I had to be completely open and honest with him.
“Reverend, I love her. In my heart, Sir, she’s already my wife.”
“Is this really what you want, Landon? The doctors say she…”
“I know what the doctors say, Reverend, and I don’t care. I want Jamie to be my wife.”
He looked me straight in the eye, and a sad smile crossed his face. “You have my permission, Landon. And my blessing.”
“Thank you, Reverend.”
“Hi,” I was lying in bed when he got to my house. I had been feeling a bit under the weather and thought it best if I rested while waiting for him.
“Uh huh. I’m just a little tired.”
He held onto my hand and guided me up. “I won’t stay long. Let’s just check out your comet then you can get back into bed. ‘kay?”
He held his arm around my waist as we walked onto my balcony. “I can’t believe you actually did this for me,” I put my arms around him and hugged him loosely.
“I’d do anything for you,” he whispered in my ear.
We pulled back a little but still held onto one another, “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” he whispered.
“It’s beautiful,” I looked at my telescope that he had built for me and felt the depth of his love.
“Okay it’s time. Go check it out,” he encouraged.
“Okay,” I was so excited. I had dreamt of this for so long and I was sure I was going to miss it, but Landon…Landon made sure that I didn’t. He made sure I didn’t miss out on a lot of things in my life.
As I looked through the eyepiece I noticed how many stars seemed to be out tonight, and they looked so close, like I could just reach out and touch one. I looked out towards the evening sky noticing how perfect it was tonight, like heaven was smiling down on us. Looking through the eyepiece again I made some adjustments thinking, ‘I know you’re out there somewhere. Why can’t I find you?’ Then… “…wow…there it is.” It was beautiful. “Come here. Come look,” I wanted Landon to see it too. I moved away from the telescope so he could, “Come here…come look. Quick.” As I sat down I couldn’t keep my eyes off of the sky, it was so amazing to me. I hoped Landon could see how magnificent this was too.
“That is cool,” he laughed.
Looking up at the sky I was again in awe of God’s wonders. They never ceased to amaze me. He created such beauty, so many wonderful things. The most miraculous one of all was sitting next to me.
“Do you love me?”
I wanted to say ‘more than life itself,’ but all I could manage was, “Mmmmm.”
“Will you do something for me then?”
“Anything.” It was true. I would do anything he asked.
“Will you marry me?”
My heart jumped inside of my chest. I couldn’t speak…couldn’t breathe. All I could seem to do was think, ‘Oh Landon. Yes,’ I smiled. ‘Yes, I’ll marry you.’ He must’ve gotten my message because he smiled back and pressed his soft lips against my own.
We looked into each other’s eyes and smiled. I loved him so much and I knew that even if I lived to be as old as Methuselah I would still love him like this but I didn’t want him asking me because he felt obligated to make my number one to come true.
“Landon. Are you sure?”
“I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life. I want you to be my wife. I’ve known it since the day that you showed me around the back of the church. The way the sunlight danced off of you just right, how everything seemed so perfect… I knew that I was totally in love with you and that nothing would ever change it.”
“But that was before you knew I was sick…” I knew that if we went through with this, it would hurt him even more when it was my time to go.
“I know. But after you told me, the next day I went to the church. No one was there, but I went to the back where they keep that room for the bride. I was so lost Jamie; I didn’t know what to do. But I talked to God that day, and I asked him for just one thing – you. I understand now that I probably can’t have you physically here, but that I can still have what I asked for by marrying you.” He stopped to wipe the tears from his eyes. “Please Jamie, please be my wife.”
My hands cupped his elbows as I leaned down to kiss him again. “I will Landon, I will,” I whispered to him as our lips met. I could taste the saltiness of my tears against his lips as our kiss grew into one of exploration.
His hands were gently cupping my face as his mouth moved against mine. “I love you Jamie.”
“I love you too.”
When I got to Jamie’s room, my heart was already pounding. Her father had given me permission… not just to take her out, or even to love her. He had given me permission to propose to her. My mind was racing, but I knew we still had a comet to see. When I opened the door and walked in, Jamie was in bed.
“You okay?” I asked her. I didn’t want to drag her out of bed if she seriously wasn’t feeling well.
“Uh huh. I’m just a little tired.”
That reassured me, and I took her hand to help her up. “I won’t stay long. Let’s just check out your comet then you can get back into bed. ‘kay?”
“Mmmmkay,” she responded as we walked slowly out onto the balcony.
“I can’t believe you actually did this for me,” she said, giving me a hug. Part of me still couldn’t believe that I had finished it either – there were a few times I thought I was going to fall asleep at the work bench. But it was done, and I was glad I stuck through it.
“I’d do anything for you,” I whispered back. If I could, I would have given any number of days of my life to let Jamie live longer.
“It’s beautiful,” she said, looking at the finished telescope sitting on her balcony. I hadn’t been able to paint over the body, so it still had a brand name running across it. I smiled, somewhat amused that it could still be beautiful.
“Okay, it’s time. Go check it out,” I told her.
She walked slowly over to the telescope and began adjusting the knobs while she looked through the eyepiece. I watched her and was mesmerized by her eagerness and anticipation; she still seemed so innocent and perfect despite all that had been happening lately.
“Wow… there it is,” she said, when she had found the comet in the night sky. After she watched it for a while, she turned and said to me “Come here, come look… quick.”
We switched places, and she sat down on a chair while I looked through the telescope. I had built the thing, but I never had the opportunity to look through it before I brought it up. I was just glad that it worked. And then I saw the comet, blazing its way across the sky. I was at a loss for words… all I could say was “That is cool,” followed by a laugh at how stupid I had just sounded.
I sat down next to Jamie and after a few moments, I asked her “Do you love me?”
“Mmmmm,” she replied, smiling.
“Will you do something for me then?”
‘All I need is one thing, baby… that’s all,’ I thought to myself. I took a deep breath and tried to keep calm. My heart was beating like I had never felt it beat before. I looked back at Jamie and when I let my breath out, I asked her the question I had been building up to.
“Will you marry me?”
Her eyes widened and her smile got just a little bit bigger. She didn’t say anything, but I could feel her answer in my heart and in my thoughts. I leaned in and kissed her softly.
“Landon, are you sure?” she asked when we pulled apart.
I knew what she was thinking… she didn’t want me to marry her because I felt guilty or bound into it.
“I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life. I want you to be my wife.” This was more than just something to help her put a check mark next to her number one. My heart yearned for her to marry me. “I’ve known it since the day that you showed me around the back of the church. The way the sunlight danced off of you just right, how everything seemed so perfect… I knew that I was totally in love with you and that nothing would ever change it.”
“But Landon, that was before you knew I was sick…” She still seemed doubtful.
“I know. But after you told me, the next day I went to the church. No one was there, but I went to the back where they keep that room for the bride. I was so lost Jamie; I didn’t know what to do. But I talked to God that day, and I asked him for just one thing – you. I understand now that I probably can’t have you physically here, but that I can still have what I asked for by marrying you.” The tears in my eyes were running down my face, and I had to wipe them away before I could continue. “Please Jamie, please be my wife.”
This time she leaned in to kiss me. “I will Landon, I will,” I felt her say against my lips. I could feel her joy and her love being passed to me, and mine being passed to her.
“I love you Jamie.”
“I love you too.”