Saturday, May 14, 2011

(43-291) Smitty

There's been a question in Mari's "Memories and Thoughts" jar, that I've been avoiding. It's "Write about someone that you would like to see again."  Well I'm sure that you know it goes without saying, that my mom is the person that I would most want to see.  So I'm not gonna take the easy way out. Instead I'm going to tell you about the person that I most want to see, who is still living; to the best of my knowledge.

Tonight I saw someone who was a dead ringer for an old friend of mine; and my mind immediately went back to the question from Mari's jar. It's been twelve years since I've spoken to my friend Smitty and I really miss him. So if I could see someone again, I would have to say Robert "Smitty" Smith, would be my choice.

My senior year of high school, I went on a Criminal Justice seminar to London. The trip was sponsored by Rockland Community College, and students from my high school as well as two others, were able to attend. We went to London, visited different courts and police stations, and when we returned to the states, we had to write a paper that was worth four college credits.

My friend Melissa and I had signed up for the trip, and despite the fact that we both got sick as dogs; we had THE MOST amazing time. I could go on and on about our antics; but that's not my focus tonight. What I really want to tell you about is Smitty. Smitty was a large, African-American guy that went to Ossining High School. By large I mean that he stood at least 6'3'' and he had a football player's build. At first I thought that Smitty was a mean guy because of something that this other boy had said about him; so when he tried to talk to me, I kinda gave him the cold shoulder. I think he took that as a challenge, so he didn't shy away; and by the end of the trip we had gotten to be very friendly.

Smitty and I kept in touch when we got back to New York; and I saw him every so often. Over time our friendship grew and he became a friend that I really relied on. A confidant, a ride to and from the airport, a bodyguard, a safe haven. He was attentive, kind, thoughtful, funny, protective.  He was like a big brother to me; so it only seemed natural that when I was going to get married that I would want Smitty to be there. At first Smitty said that he'd come to the wedding, but his work (as a very successful paralegal) got in the way; and ultimately he wasn't able to make it.

I don't think that I saw Smitty before Luis and I left New York to move to Florida, and I know that we went about two years without talking; but then I decided to try and track him down, and once I did, we picked right up where we'd left off.  Smitty told me that he'd been to Arizona a couple of times on business, so once we moved here, I was optimistic that we'd see him more; but we didn't. Then when I was pregnant with Nicky, I asked Smitty if he would be Nicky's Godfather. He happily accepted, and promised that he'd come out to see us right after Nicky was born. Smitty had to put his trip off for a while due to work; but we'd scheduled an early August visit and I was so excited for him to see my beautiful son.

Luis, Nicky and I went to California for a couple of days, and came home just in time for Smitty to visit; but when I got a voice message saying that he had to postpone again, I was devastated. I called Smitty and he explained that his cousin had AIDS and was dying; or maybe he'd actually just passed away; I honestly can't remember.  And I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I wasn't as good a friend as I should have been. I truly can't remember exactly what I said, but whatever it was, it made Smitty very angry. I certainly didn't mean any disrespect; I was just very disappointed and apparently very self centered. I felt terrible that he was so upset with me, and I let several weeks go by before trying to call him; but I did. I reached out and tried to apologize, but he didn't want to hear it. I tried email, and voice messages from time to time; but he was still angry. Angry enough to never speak to me again.

Smitty had gone in and out of my life for 14 years; and losing him completely was an awful blow. Unfortunately for me, Smitty and I didn't really have any mutual friends, so I don't think that there's anyone that I can ask to help me get in touch with him at this point. Since I'm a firm believer that if something is meant to happen it will; all I can do is send this message out into the universe and hope that one day I will see Smitty again . 
Till next time...

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