Jack.

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I’m writing this for those who have asked to hear stories and memories of Jack. Wish I had more pictures of him, but sadly he didn’t want too many and the only images I can add to spoof this up are images of our FB conversations. In the future I’ll probably add more, but for now this is all I am comfortable posting.

My first impression of Jack was like most: friendly and funny. I had been working at LatteLand for two years before I transferred to the one on the Plaza where Jack worked. Before meeting him I heard Jack was the favorite. They played him out to be like “King of LatteLand,”so loving, the hardest worker and Robin Williams of the store. He had an amazing reputation, and I was stoked to meet him, let alone work with him. I was washing dishes near the end of my first shift when I heard a guy say “Hey can you turn on the Gorillas station?” The computer was by the sink, but I didn’t know who made the request. I didn’t do anything, kept washing. A moment later a build 6’3″ blonde man peeked in the back. Startled, he apologized, put his hand on my back while moving past me to change the music saying, “hey I’m Jack. How’d the first day go for ya?”
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I conveniently  lived across the street from LatteLand. I’d walk over several times a day for free coffee and WiFi. Jack also would swing by off the clock. Before we even worked our first shift together we figured out quickly our senses of humor meshed well, and it was easy to talk to one another. I distinctly remember two stories of Jack during my first two weeks there.
Saturday night: after yoga one evening I walked over to LatteLand. I felt gross. Jack was working and like clockwork, asked how my day was and if he could make me a drink. On this praticular night he asked me if I’d like to go to a show with him after. I had work early the next morning and said we’d go to the next one, but followed with “I can’t believe you’d expect me to go with no make-up and sweats! Bah!” He chuckled and said, “you’re right… you look awful. I must have had my glasses on that makes everyone seem 5 times better looking on.” I said “yea, you DID. Mmmmmk I’m sure you’ll see me tomorrow here…. soooo bye.” The next day I was opening at another LatteLand, but closing at my new location, the one where Jack worked. I was nervous to close a new store, and Jack knew.

Next day, Sunday: Jack came during my first close to hang. He stayed for the last three hours of my shift studying for his biology class and during that shift he introduced me to CoalVines pizza and the joy of food trading. I also learned this about Jack: if you don’t tell him how many pieces of pizza you’re each having, he’ll eat the entire pie.

Seeing him pop by to ease my nerves was so kind, and I knew I had a friend, not solely co-worker. Jack was someone who I wouldn’t have created in my brain for a friend, let alone human. He was a great surprise and I think everyone who met Jack would say the same. His sense of humor is rare, but one of the best humors I’ve ever come across. We could joke around for hours at work, via text, Facebook chat or phone call. On the note of humor, Jack respected the boundary of, “Mary is a sophisticated person,” and never was crude or vulgar around me. I grew an enormous amount of respect for him. Our humor, in my opinion, was hilarious, quick-witted and personal. If he said, “Mare I’m going to the bathroom,” I would follow with, “K I’ll take the tips, throw away your cigarettes and will count the drawer tonight (which he loved doing because “I get to sit down”).” Without hesitation he’d say, “Oh right on. Please also switch the station to Mariah Carey, hide my keys just for funzies, and sit around….because you’ve worked HARD.” To meet someone and be able to interact with them in this manner within a few days is extraordinary.
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I’ve tried to think of the right adjective to describe the way he LOVED people. The word I thought of was magical. Jack could make anyone love him—and did. He had a way of being able to empathize with others. One of the things he never consistently was on me about was to never allow yourself to let other’s problems become your own. He would feel for others, but still focus on himself… and I envied that. He had the ability to make customers and co-workers from all over the personality scale adore him: Musicians. Business men. Athletes. Girls who worked at clothes stores. Waiter’s. Hipsters. Bank tellers. Local artists. Mothers. Little kids. ANYONE.

There’s so much I can say about Jack. My brain scatters from wanting to type about our fight over whether espresso should be poured directly over ice or before ice is put in it (trust me…it WAS a fight. Jeff called us the old married couple because we’d give each other the silent treatment for having different opinions over stupid, stupid stuff), how we could have intellectual conversations while making drinks on the bar—him pulling espresso, me steaming milk. The smile Jack would have when someone did something totally stupid or the way he looked after he won a dodge ball tournament and ran to LatteLand to tell Jeff and I. He RAN into the store shouting “YEA BUDDY YES YES YES!” I jumped OUT of my skin and said, “WHAT is your PROBLEM?” He, while twirling, gave everyone a high five giggling about this dodgeball game. His child-like spirit radiated and became a magnetic force. People felt good around Jack.

Jack knew I cared for him… so much in fact he didn’t tell me he broke his finger until the last minute (meaning I walked in for work and saw his broken finger). When he decided to move to California he asked to get together to tell me. Within a month of moving he sent a text saying, “THAT MARY LENTZ IS A TREAT.” That phrase was an inside joke—one I’ll share and one we both knew meant he coming back. Whenever our store was dead and a customer got me ranting about something I’d realize I had been talking for a WHIIIILE. Whenever I realized this, I knew Jack had known longer, and I’d look over at him – his  eyes wide and a half smile. I’d get silent and he’d say, “That’s our Mary. What a treat that Mary Lentz is eh?” He also started the trend oh saying, “well that’s our Mary!” whenever I was clumsy. I had a tendency to use too much milk or spill milk and Jack knew I was very, very hard on myself so rather than ever telling me to watch my proportions he’d say, “that’s our Mary” with a smile. Those words put me at ease.

I was secure with my friendship with Jack. I could call him out if he was rude, knew how to approach him when he was mad, would text him the most random facts and while studying or in class he never failed to find me on Facebook chat. Like any friends or co-workers though, we did get annoyed with each other. He would flat out tell me when I was annoying and if he annoyed me I’d grow silent. He hated when his annoying habits shut me down so he’d squeal “LETS BE FRIENDS!”  Our major disagreements were about the littlest things. Where the best parking was, what Pandora station is the best, who could count the drawer faster, or if birthdays were a big deal. When it came to major topics however, we had respect for the other about views.
And those were the best conversations I had with Jack.
Religion, family, theories, friends.  When you work 8 hour shifts with someone and are comfortable talking with them, anything can come up. Jack and I saw the world differently, but that’s why I loved hearing and seeing through his eyes and ears. He had a way of describing things to me that made sense. Analogies, stories or examples. He would choose which category to use for the person he was talking to. I remember one night we were both off the clock visiting Michael and Jeff and we both didn’t have anything to do so we sat outside talking. He brought up religion and for an hour we simply TALKED about it. No arguments, no challenges to the other…just talked. He had mentioned that years prior in his life he had wanted to be a preacher and I told him he would be great because he got on your level, brought out the best in you, and knew how to keep you interested while he spoke. Many deep conversations turned to silly ones. I remember after talking about evolution we began rhyming. And for 20minutes we rhymed with the word “wired.” Example:
J: I’m going to get a new car because of my TIRES
M: Nice do they EXPIRE
J: I dunno maybe when I RETIRE
M: Maybe that’ll be soon cause your gonna be FIRED from being so WIRED
…yes. 20 minutes. And he was not shy about his tone of voice during this game so many people on the patio thought he was crazy.

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Aside from his personality, his work ethic was out of this world. We called him the ghost because anything that needed to be done…Jack had finished it. A reason I loved working with him was because I knew he would pull more weight than expected. Making teas, taking out the trash, cleaning the bathroom, dealing with customers I didn’t want to…he had it down.

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Ok Y’all…a few stories.

The Air-Port run.

Jack had planned a trip to Florida and man, he was EXCITED. He had a countdown six weeks out from leaving. It was adorable…but  got tiring. He told each customer about his trip, and after hearing him tell the 938th customer his agenda, flight number and even the exact time he was going to LAND in Florida, I was over it. But you can’t tell someone THAT excited to chill out. The night before Jack left we were closing. It was a slow night so Jack and I went to sit on the patio. As we were sitting I asked him who was taking him to the air-port. He shrugged his shoulders and said “Eh, I think I’m just going to drive myself and park.” My eyes widend and I said “UM…NO.” From here this is how the convo went:
J: No???
Me: Yes, Jack. Friends drive their friends to the air-port when they leave for any trip.
J: hahaha! Oh Mary, I’ll be fine.
Me: I’m taking you. If your flight is at 5:50…we’ll leave here at 4am.
Silence filled the patio
J: Seriously?
M: I mean….yea. It’s what friends do.
J: You never cease to amaze me Mary Lynn Lentz (my middle name is Joyce…but he couldn’t remember so he chose Lynn)

…We finished the close, went home and 5 hours later met up for the airport. As I got out of the car he saw my boots, huge sweats with an oversized sweater he says “no need to dress up on my account Mare-Bear.” We had to get gas first and went to QuikTrip in Westport. I slowly pulled up to a filling station when Jack said, “Ok now….don’t look, but Street Fighter is right there and has scary face paint on.”

Street Fighter is a known guy in Westport and the Plaza. He is a homeless man…who looks like a street fighter. He’s usually drunk, on some drug and looks like he’d kill you. Just a week prior to this, StreetFighter was at LatteLand and Jack had me get security. So, needless to say, both Jack and I don’t feel comfortable with him.

I parked and Jack and I sat in silence. I finally said “Um yea so there’s no way I’m getting out of the car.” Jack also sits….just sits. He unbuckles and said, “Ahh…oooo…kaaaay.” He gets out and as he goes to the side of the car Streetfighter slowly walks towards him. My heart now is beating a 100miles an hour and tries really hard not to look at this guy. I did. Yup…Jack told me not to look for a good reason.  As I’m not looking I hear Jack say, “Hey how’s it going man?” and, “I’m going on a trip man should be fun.” How on earth could he make small talk in a scary time like this!?
Jack slowly walked back to the car and just when he shut the door he shouted, “GOOOO!!!!!” I floor it…but we didn’t move. Just loud noises because we were in NEUTRUAL. I start panicking and as I go in drive with Streetfighter at my window I drive off. As we get out of the parking lot Jack BURST out laughing which, if you know me, I am easily startled.
Me: JACK that was NOT funny!
J: *laughing* I was scared out of my miiiiind!
Me: Thank you for doing that.
Clearly we handle these situations differently. I’m silent, he laughs.
J: Ahh Mare-Bear. Are you ok
Me: Yes yes. Glad you’re fine. WHY didn’t we just go to another gas station?!
*slience*
In unison we laughed because clearly, going to another station would have been the most wise.
Story #2:
During one crazy busy night on the Plaza both Jack and I were in a mood. We were so tired of dealing with snotty customers, answering pointless questions, cleaning up nasty messes in the bathroom and on top of that, we were both hungry (Jack hungry…not a happy guy). When I get tired I get slap happy. Jack knew this and asked me to get my giggles out in the back where he couldn’t see me. Within a few seconds he called me out to help ring in customers. I walk out and see a line out the door. The clock read 9:40pm and nothing was done. He hadn’t ate. Jack was in the zone on bar clearly annoyed, but I decided to have fun. With each customer I’d type in something to show up on the screen next to Jack. If someone got an Americano I wrote “God Bless.” When they got a smoothie I wrote “make with tears.” A latte? Either, “Condition with h20” or, “lather with snot.” Jack CRACKED up. We both got so slap happy customers started laughing with us not knowing we were mocking their orders.
Story #3
When Jack and I first started working together (specifically on bar) he was thrown off at  how laid back I was. I didn’t care where we got dinner, I worked great under stress on bar, I’d laugh when customers were rude, and would dance during rushes. Jack was similar, and we rocked the bar. We crushed it. I mean…not only did we get drinks out super fast and have great chemistry on bar, but we could have long deep conversations while making a ton of drinks. He was, and still is my favorite to make drinks with on bar, and I think most co-workers would agree and say he was one of the greats. While being laid-back I would also start laughing for NO reason. Jack could say something along the lines of, “Mary all I can think about is food. I’m starving. These freakin’ customers keep coming in and I might go INSANE if I don’t have my scone microwave for 30 seconds with butter.” I would laugh SO hard and eventually, after many of these occurrences Jack would say, “ok…..seriously Mare, are you high!?!” It became a complete joke because I’ve never nor will I ever smoke. Jack knew this, but he began saying “are you high” as a way to say, “please chill out.”  After a few weeks Jeff, who worked with us for part of our  weekend shift, in complete honesty took me aside and said, “Really though…. are you high?” In that moment I rushed to Jack and told him the joke was OVER since people were taking it seriously. When Jack discovered this, he CACKLED so hard he went outside to hold his belly.
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He excuded joy, love and passion. I told him he was a breath from God to life. Everyone loved being around him and not only that, but they loved being themselves around him.  During the last few months before he passed away I know he was going through hard struggles and inner conflicts, and anyone who was close with him sensed that Jack coated with more weight than usual. His joy had faded, he rarely smiled and he wasn’t affectionate. Rather than remember those final dark weeks with Jack,  I choose to remember Jack for who he would want me to remember him by: a friend who didn’t judge, gave an ear, humor, unconditional protectiveness, care, big bear hugs, and wisdom. He was humble, confident, enjoyed the little things in life and made light of situations.

When our shift was coming to a close it wasn’t unusual for me to get bummed. For my first 7 months on the Plaza, Jack and I always had Saturday night shifts along with an occasional weekday night or morning. But Saturdays it was just us two, and I knew each week it’d be a blast. He felt the same and whenever (if ever) we couldn’t close and had to get someone to cover our shift…. it’d be a conversation. Usually employees don’t care about the other in shift trading, but Jack and I did. I remember when he went to a concert and approached the topic so sensitively. He said, “hey Mare I really wanna go to a concert next Saturday… and while I know this ruins YOUR life ,I’m gonna have a blast….but I’ll miss you maybe we’ll see but ya I’ll try and get someone solid to replace me and if you want to choose where we get our dinner tonight that’s fine. Sorry to bail on you.” Yes, he would talk in run-on sentence form.

Even though we were different, we understood each other on a level I hold very close. It’s hard for me to articulate. Our humor meshed well, yes, but just like any job, you arrive leaving issues at the door. We usually came from school, being tired. When Jack was tired he needed silence, a few smokes, and food. Once he had those things, he was good to go. If I was tired I’d want to talk about my day, hear an encouraging word, and move forward. We understood this and each of us provided this to the other. But the understanding I mean runs deeper.
Jack observed me from afar and through knowing my body language so well, he saved me many times. As I was leaving one afternoon from LatteLand a woman approached me. I just wanted to go home. I guess my body language communicated I was antsy to leave (hand on my hip, lightly swaying back and forth). I didn’t know Jack was watching, but Jack shortly came outside, put his hand on my back and told me my food was ready at CoalVines.
There was no food. But I knew he was saying this to rescue me from this woman. As I walked away and into the parking garage to get the “pizza,” I had a text from Jack reading, “I got you dude.”

I got together with Jack a few months ago and just seeing how he was standing I knew he was bummed.  His stance and eyes said it all. I immediately asked what happened. His eyes got big and he said “nothing WHY is there ALWAYS something wrong?!”
Eh, playing it off.
I dropped it, but when we left I did the whole Robert Di Niro from Meet the Parents thing with my fingers saying ,“I’m watching you.” Jack did it back saying “OH RIGHT ON.” A few hours later while shopping at Target I sent him a text saying while he didn’t admit to anything happening, I was there for him. He texted me the situation, which turns out was a turning point in his mental state. Ever since that morning he went in a downward spiral.
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Him and I fell in a rythme after each shift.  He’d lock the door, take out a cigarette, ask me if I felt safe walking home and if I said yes, he’d give me a hug and say “have a good night Mary. I’ll see you soon.” I don’t think I’ll leave the store after a close around midnight without envisioning Jack walking out with me. I won’t forget us walking in the parking garage late at night shouting to the other seeing how long we could walk in the garage talking until we couldn’t hear the other. I can’t walk out of the bathroom without remembering Jack hiding behind the door scaring me when I came out shouting, “did you wash your hands a solid 30 seconds!?!?!” It’s funny…those are the moments I miss him the most in, but are moments I never thought twice about when they happened. Little moments that make an imprint on your heart unbeknownst to you until much later.
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I had gone on vacation two months after meeting Jack and when I arrived home I couldn’t wait to return to work. The night after I got back I went into LatteLand because I knew Jack and Olivia were working. When I entered I didn’t see Jack, so I peeked my head in the back. Not there. I started looking at the schedule and from a distance I heard his voice saying “Mare-bear’s back!?!!” I smiled and I don’t remember really moving because in a few quick seconds Jack had scrambled to the back and forcefully embraced me in the biggest, most welcoming hug. I was gone for 10 days so for me I didn’t know it’d be like a reunion, however, for Jack, that hug communicated that he felt like I was gone for a year. Anytime I went out of town after that I ALWAYS looked forward to coming in and seeing Jack because I knew he’d welcome me back so warmly and excitedly.

Michael and Jeff would close Fridays and twice both Michael and Jeff wanted to go to a concert together. I didn’t like covering a weekend night shift unless it was with Jack.

After so many months I don’t want to say took for granted, but maybe the word “used to” is appropriate. I got used to his consistent genuine compliments. He was so good giving compliments. It spanned from telling me things such as my kindness, how he likes that I understand his humor, if he liked my hair, if I smelled good, if he thought of me while watching a movie and why….and he did it so effortlessly. Funny note about my hair: he liked me in braids, but he called them pig-tails, not braids. He also figured out my routine: I have straight hair for day, curl it the next. If I have it in a pony one day, the next it’ll be in a half-pony. If that doesn’t tell you how often we were around each other I don’t know what does.

A reason why Jack was so wonderful is he never treated me different no matter what my appearance was. He worked with me before nice dinners, after a midterm, or prior to simply a coffee date and no matter what, he was consistent. When I went through an awful acne breakout he didn’t change, still always said I looked great. Yet, sometimes, I truly did look like a bum and he’d say, “hey Mare if you don’t remember what a mirror looks like there’s one in the bathroom calling your name.” His humor and honesty  was my favorite.
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Jack’s death has shaken me to my core. Death is so final, and to hear a close friend of mine die with no sort of goodbye really shook me up. I hadn’t realized how much of an impact he’s made on my life until he passed away. It hit me that I lost a friend who figured me out, could read me from my body language, tone of voice to style of texting. I lost a friend who could make me fall to my knees laughing and play off of any line, whether it was actually funny or just a valiant effort. A friend who was SO consistent with telling me I meant something to him and that he enjoyed me for ME. He accepted me in all my quirks and traits. Jack dealt with me when I had an exam the next morning, slap happy at work, dealing with physical injuries, when a friend betrayed me, when I was overjoyed with going on vacation, stressed with car trouble or hurt by the male species. It’s in these moments of reflection I’m realizing how loyal and committed Jack was to showing he cared for so many months.

To break it down:
If I had an exam: Jack said to study hard for 10 minutes, then watch a YouTube video. If you go to our “Friendship Page” you’ll find videos from Jack on my wall trying to execute this plan.
Slap Happy: He’d smile and say “Oh yea?” chuckle and go louder “Really?!”
Physical Injuries: “Mare-Bear LET ME KNOW when your in pain because when you don’t you make me feel like a woman” (Because he let everyone and their friend know if he didn’t feel well)
Vacation: He listened. He would smile, see me get excited and just listen.
Car Trouble: He provided the words to beautifully paint a picture of how frustrating car trouble was. Him venting FOR me resulted in a ton of laughter.
Males confusing/hurting me: Classic Jack hug. I told Jack that his hugs were like medicine to people and he wasn’t allowed to hug me because that was his way of brain-washing me to stop talking. With his cackle he’d say “BRAIN-WASHING!??!”

The little memories that I’ll always remember.

Jack surprised me with how well he knew me.
I came in one night and Michael asked where I was going.
Me: Ohhhh ya knooow. I have a date with a boy
Michael: Really?
Jack: No she doesn’t. If Mary had a date she wouldn’t refer to him as a boy. She’d say a “guy” or a “man.”
My mouth dropped.
Jack: See? I know.
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He was picking on me one morning and I said “Jackson if you tease me one more time you have to give me 5 compliments.”
Jack: Whaaaaaa????
Me: Yes. No more teasing me!
Jack: *trys to hug me*
Me: NO. No no no. Enough teasing now lets work and get stuff done
Jack: Cause you’ve been doing THAT all day
Me: K, GO. Five compliments.
And he did. He gave me five extremely nice compliments that weren’t shallow or on the surface. It was a moment. I teared up and Jack said “OK I think that calls for me being allowed to tease you JUST a bit more.” We laughed.
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He had a theory that if he asked me a question, I could never give a straight answer.
J:for example, if I asked what you were doing in a week you’d tell me a story about a friend and WHY you were seeing them next week and if you had homework you’d tell me about three previous projects and why you were doing the one you had next week but you’d NEVER tell me ‘oh ya know, seeing friends and doing homework.’ Am I right?

Me: *mouth drops* JACK it’s because we tell each other things and I want you knowing my life THOUGHT you did an-
J: HAHAHAHA!!!! Your doing it RIGHT NOW!
Me: UGH! *Walks away*
J: HAHAHAHAHAHA!
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The moments where he was so shocked, his eyes would get SO wide and all he could say was “whaaaa???” I, half the time, couldn’t even finish my sentences because his animations were so hysterical. My favorite was when I got back from celebrating my 21st birthday in Nashville. I came in Monday morning our shift and he right away said “so what’d you geeeeet.” I said (keep in mind this is around 7am) “I’M in LOVE with WHISKEY.” Up until this moment Jack must have been thinking I’d say a Cosmo, Appletini or something girly because when I said that sentence he froze, turned from making his latte or whatever would start his day and with huge eyes said “whaaaa?” Andrew (manager) was also there and he simply said “really?” but Jack couldn’t get past that. Every hour or so he’d go “WHISKEY!?” Since then if I drank I always got a Jack and Coke and when I told him he would always do a little smile and shack of his head.
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After one of our closes we kept telling the other how awesome the other one was and I kept saying I would one-up him in whatever comment he had.
He won this game.

If we were really slow at work we’d both sit on the freezer as everyone does. If it got too silent we’d play the question game. I’d ask him a question either like “tell me about Jr. High” or “Whats the last song that moved you?” If it was anything music related we could talk forever off of that. The answer to that was “I really like the song Home by the Edward Sharp…the part when the two people say how they love each other…I cried on the way home from California listening to that song. I can just see the two in the recording studio. Its beautiful.”

Jack told me that the “Question Game” with me never worked because any question of mine turned into a story. He said he thought I was a good story teller, but he knew we needed a solid 5 minutes of no customers coming in before he would ask me a question in return
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I’ll always remember an evening I spent on the patio at LatteLand very shortly after meeting Jack. I wasn’t working, but I wanted to read my book. It was a novel by Robin Jones Gunn, a Christian woman author who writes books about Fiction characters. This one particular book was about Jessica Morgan who moved to Glenbrooke to try and hide her past. It’s seriously a cheesy, girly book. As I was intently reading Jack took the trash out. When he came back he walked over, squatted down by me and asked what I was reading. I was sort of embarrassed to be asked this because I thought he clearly would have no interest and find it rather boring and shave off any points he had of my intelligence. However, I reacted very passionately and told him all about Jessica. I even went to the page where it had a map of Glenbrooke and explained the characters. Jack was hilarious. It’s hard to explain his face expression, but his eyes smiled and you could tell that he loved the passion I was having, yet he was totally taken at back and didn’t know how to handle the connection I had with Jessica. With that, he too got passionate and begun to ask questions. “Why does Jessica want to hide her past?” and “Where does this guy she likes live? Does he know about her past?!” After a solid few minutes he went inside to work. I kept on reading and when I went inside to throw my cup away he hollered “LET ME KNOW HOW IT ENDS!” After getting to Jack more over the weeks following I couldn’t help but find him more endearing because JACK would never… ever…EVER have a care in the world about a book like this and yet he chose to be “interested” because I was.
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I study a lot. A LOT. Last year during the Fall semester I went to several coffee shops to study and one time Jack joined to help me study for a Physical Science test. He really liked Science so to have a friend not only like my subject, but also be animated, patient with me and helpful was an extreme blessing. When he sat down I handed him my notebook. Each question was high-lighted in green and the answer in yellow. He scanned the page, said “ok right on” and after a few more pages turned he said “dear lord Mare….I mean do you want me to go laminate these first or can I touch them?”
I get nervous about friends (or anyone) helping me study because it really does take me a long time to have the material “click.” Even though we ended up laughing about each question and got distracted, his ability to sort through each question and help me UNDERSTAND the question with humor and patience was awesome.
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Aside from family, I don’t let a lot of guys call me Mare-bear. But I let Jack.  He realized he held a tender spot with me when another male called me Mare-Bear and I instantly said, “Yea um DON’T call me that please.” From the corner of my eye I saw Jack smile and once the guy left I said “So that nickname is kind of reserved for the selected few.” With a tap on the back he said “Aw Mare-Bear glad I passed that test…poor guy had to experience the sass of Mary.”
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The nights we would battle off on Pandora music. Honestly, we were music Nazis. We are both passionate about our music choices. We maybe agreed on 4 stations. But there were two nights where I was so down and out of it where Jack switched the station to Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber. That gesture made me smile like no ones business and after a few songs I asked if he was tired of it and, OF COURSE he WAS, but because he wanted me to feel better he said “I LOVE it….I can TOTALLY relate she is SO dead ON with my LIFE.”
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Him being excited about the Taylor Swift concert he was taking his sister Clara to. I’m pretty obsessed with Tay Tay and everyday Jack would tell me how excited Clara was, how it was going to be great even if he didn’t like Taylor that much.
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Our conversations about US.
Me: Jack, I don’t think we’d do well on a road-trip together
Jack: Oh gosh no. We’d fight to the death about music. But we’d both like Gas Station stops so that’s good
Me: Yea. What about planes? I think we’d be good
Jack: Yea that’d be good. We can talk for hours so being on a plane meeting for the FIRST time…we’d be the chatty Cathy’s of the universe.
Me: hum…yea. OK WHAT if we went to a sports game?
Jack: NO NO NO. I’d get drunk, you’d get mad at me for getting drunk and you’d ask me about all the players and rules of the game and EVEN though I’d KNOW you were just being nice and interested for me I don’t like that. No thank you.
Me: Uggggggh Jack! But yea I totally would
Jack: I know. But its ok Mare-bear you know I love that about you but you also know I like my sports.
Me: Uhuh I do. Which is why your allowed to be so BLUNT with me
Jack: RIGHT!
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The times he got free tickets to a sports game. He was like a 5 year old on Christmas morning. He’d call his friends Marshall , Mike, Chris…I don’t remember who else. I just remember him working harder, being in a better mood and every few minutes I’d hear him go “YES!”
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Jack had told me that he wanted to help me move months before I did. He must have forgot because when another friend asked him he said “GOD I hate helping people move. Yea OK I’ll take up an entire day and give you muscle I DON’T have to then SWEAT in the heat while YOU tell me what to DO. SO MUCH FUN! All for what– a piece of pizza??!!” I stared at him. He read my mind and said “NO you’re different. Just think of me helping you move as a way of showing how much I cherish our friendship.”

Lucky for him he worked the night I moved, but him saying that wasn’t a surprise because any close friend of Jack’s knows that Jack was extremely complimentary of people and let them know exactly where they stood with him. So many nights I would go into LatteLand to see his cheery face and simply have a friend give a joke, hear a story or honestly, just watching him interact with others was entertaining enough.

If I had known a year ago that I would lose Jack in the near future, my feelings now say to be reserved and protect my heart. The tears I’ve shed, energy it has taken to simply leave the house and memories haunting me makes it easy for me to want to erase everything so this pain could be washed away.  But the joy he brought at work, the laughter I shed, the challenges he quietly gave me and conversations we shared in and out of the workplace are all irreplaceable and ones I will hold dear to my heart. I pray for his friends, that they can find comfort. His family, that they’ll know Jack ADORED each of them and lit up anytime he mentioned them. He never talked negatively about his family and held them in high respect. While it feels like torture to stand everyday in the place Jack and I built a friendship, he would have wanted me to cherish the memories I wrote down here and focus on the season of a treasured friendship. And that’s what I’ll do.

4 thoughts on “Jack.

  1. Karen Laybourne

    Mary, this is so beautiful. There aren’t words enough to thank you for sharing. I am so very grateful to know he lived with so much love in his heart and surrounding him. What a joy he is, thank you.

  2. Katrina

    Mary this is absolutely wonderful, and there is no doubt in my mind you meant just as much to him. Thank you for sharing this, I know how long it must have taken to write.

  3. malibumichelle

    You do such a great job of painting a picture with your words. I felt like I was standing there with you at LatteLand. I love the dodgeball story, and the sweet picture of his chalk message to you on the floor 🙂

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