Jim Cusack

I never write about Jimmy Cusack.
I have no idea why.
He was..... probably my first real crush and why I would have had a crush on him is beyond me except that it was a small town in which I lived and the options were limited.
What can I say?
I spent a lot of time at the YMCA pool, at first the official Little Sister of all the lifeguards and swim instructors and later as the Duchess to Jason Gleason's Duke.

But Jim was early, early.
I think I was 13 or 14.
He was just the right blend of non-threatening smart-assed Older Boy that would have appealed to me.
He was the kind of guy I'm usually attracted to the most - the notorious ones. They're not even Bad Boys by the time my eyes flutter with big cartoony hearts in place of pupils.
They're legends.

Jimmy was no different.
He, I later learned, was a total burner and probably did a lot of coke although I have to give some credit where credit it due.
Jim Cusack never corrupted me.
He was pretty dedicated to allowing me to be a tease and be an anguished youth while never taking advantage of me by offering me drugs or sex.
It was easy idolatry though.
He gave me something I needed and I honestly haven't spent a whole lot of time thinking about what that need was, all things considered in what happened later.

What I do know is that we had a connection and it was the first time I'd ever felt that.
He saw in me the good girl that as my high school years unfolded, nobody else wanted to see.
He saw me trying really hard and agreed with me that the Prozac and all the doctors were a bit much and that, really, I was a teenager.
A cute, round girl who needed some attention.
For as into petty crime, cocaine, and cheating on his ultra-trashy girlfriend as he was, he never, ever brought those things into the house of Sarah.
He just adored me in a protective way and I felt special because I was being adored in a way and at a time when I could not have needed it more.

Now, I was and remain proudly, a very naive person. I am positive that there were a lot of things Jimmy was into that were just plain bad and I'm sure that there were a lot of adults that knew he had many dark secrets and who would have been highly concerned that he was involving me in deviance.

He wasn't.

He was just a guy who saw something in me that I wanted seen.
Over the years that I knew him and spent off and on time with him, he was a person who never thought I had any designs or ulterior motives.
He never complained when I would run to him for comfort or reassurance, even if he was really messed up on drugs.
He never assumed I was out for anything that he couldn't give me.

I wasn't.

Later, in college, things took a turn for the worse and he did start to need me and he did start to bring some weirdness into a place where I was not okay with it.

But I didn't really know how to handle it - college wasn't necessarily the best time in my life for one and for two, I didn't really know how to handle Jimmy Cusack being so dependent and so invested when all we had been to each other before then was great friends and great flirtation.

Every fall, I have these memories of him and of the way the Springfield felt when I was walking around at the park with him or waiting around at the pool for him or just generally being a teenager in a small town who really needed to be believed and to be encouraged to be true to herself, to not try to be someone else.

I swear to God, I know it is crazy, but every fall, I feel like he's right near me. I feel like he's listening and telling me that I am pretty great, giving me a pat on the head or the kind of bear hug you give to people who need to calm down.

Jimmy dies a long time ago, of natural causes.
Not before he had a little girl.
And this could be my imagination but I know I have a great deal of intuition and I feel really connected to Jim when I think about the fact that he had a little girl before he died.
I think maybe he might have finally gotten through her what he was learning back then through me - how to be good and be protective and gentle.

I have no doubt that there was a connection of many lives with Jimmy and that I'll meet him again someday.

Here it is fall, and here I am again, feeling Jimmy Cusack whispering on my shoulder to listen to myself and to have a little faith.

arizonasarah at 10:38 a.m.

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