Tuesday, May 27, 2003
quote du jour:
"I value the friend who for me finds time on his calendar, but I cherish the friend who for me does not consult the calendar." -- Robert Brault
I like to think that I'm easy to reach. I've got phone numbers out the ass, all but one or two are public and my cell phone is usually within reach. However, I have a crappy cell phone and so it doesn't always work. And when it is working, I don't always take it everywhere I go. When I leave it behind, I usually regret it.

Such was the case Sunday night. While my phone sat in the seat of my truck outside my mom's house and I lay napping on the couch inside, a handful of missed calls accumulated. The most notable was from Jeremy.

I've made mention of Jeremy every once in a while on these pages, which is unintentionally symbolic of our friendship. Jeremy was one of the first friends I made when I moved to Smallville in third grade. We remained good friends throughout elementary school -- mostly playing a "CHiPs" inspired version of cops and robbers on the playground and at sleep-overs.

Junior high, however, was the beginning of a new era and it also marked the end of our friendship -- or, at least, a hiatus. We spent a few years hanging out in separate circles and being involved in different activities. Then, during homecoming week of our sophomore year, we both found ourselves involved in class activities and started talking again. The friendship was revived.

I think we managed to go about a year without getting pissed at one another for what I'm sure were petty reasons. He had a truck before I did, so we'd go out most every weekend and ride the loop around Smallville. When I got a ride and then totaled it, he offered to carry me to work after school. And then, something petty happened. It was so petty, in fact, that I don't even remember what is was. Nevertheless, words were exchanged and I think I probably pushed him or something. That didn't stop us from being friends, mind you, it just started what has become a cycle of friendship and silence.

Our junior year, we'd still go out every now and then to wear out the pavement in downtown Smallville. But then, there'd be times Jeremy would get anti-social and virtually disappear for a while. He wouldn't answer the phone. He wouldn't answer the door. He'd pretty much pretend I didn't exist for a while. And then, all of a sudden, things would be back to normal again.

At that time, we'd hang out for a month or two and then not for a month or two. The exception was New Year's Eve at my house. Jeremy always showed up to help with the fireworks. After high school graduation, the gaps grew larger. We managed to get together for a weekend here or there, but we didn't do anything with any sort of regularity. Then, he stopped coming for fireworks.

It takes an act of congress, or sheer coincidence, to see Jeremy these days. I was the one that left Smallville. I was the one with school, finals, the newspaper and now, a "real" job. But he's always been the one too busy to do anything. In the past two years, we've e-mailed off and on but I've probably seen him only six times.

Earlier this year, he e-mailed me to say that he was getting married. A couple of weeks ago, Jessie & I ran into him and and his fiance. They told us about their planned June wedding -- seemingly rushed by Jeremy's standards -- and even sort of invited us.

Sunday night, Jeremy called and left a voice mail:

"The reason I'm calling you is because I want to make sure you'll be a vital part of my wedding. But also, a vital part means that in addition to assisting with my wedding, I also want you to assist in taking pictures because you have such a wonderful camera. Now, I will gladly pay you for doing this -- as I was going to pay any other photographer, but I couldn't get another photographer -- and buy the film. You tell me what kind of film you need and how much you want me to pay you and that's what we'll do.

"But what I need you to do is to go someplace in
Franklin quick like ... and get measured for a tux. And have them give you those measurements and call [Smallville Men's Wear] and give them to them or call me and give them to me. ... If you're going to be home, you can go into [Smallville Men's Wear] one day. I've already got a card filled out there with your name on it and they'll take your measurements and get your tux ordered."

Um. Okay.

The message caught me off guard.

My first reaction was to laugh because it had only been the night before when I'd photographed my very first wedding. And then, the amusement was replaced with a bit of shock. Prior to Monday, I'd only seen Jeremy one or two times in the past year. I was honored to be asked to be a part of the wedding nevertheless.

After hanging up the phone, I started to wonder if he really wanted me to be a part of the wedding... And, if so, what part specifically. In the message he said he wanted me to be a "vital part" of the wedding. Yet, he never really defined what a vital part was other than me "assisting" with the wedding and taking pictures. I stopped by his house Monday to find out a bit more.

Our conversation seemed sort of vague. It seemed like he wanted to say something, but never did. Finally, I asked him if he wanted me to be measured because he wanted his photographer in a tuxedo. He replied with something along the lines of him wanting his groomsmen and best man in a tux. Of course, he never said I was either.

I then asked for a schedule of events for the weekend. He told me what time the ceremony was. I asked about a rehearsal dinner. He said that it was the night before -- but that I didn't have to come if I couldn't make it. Doesn't that strike you as just a bit weird?

The timing and lack of specifics gives me a generally uneasy feeling about things. Jeremy has a history of making plans and backing out at the last minute. I'm not saying that he won't show up at the church... I'm just saying that, for some reason, I feel weird about this but very honored to be asked at the same time.

The voice mail Sunday caught me off guard. Now, as the wedding date approaches, I feel very much on guard. On guard for what? I'm not real sure... which should make waiting for it to happen that much more interesting.

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