she said only another fisherman

could understand the whole

that when you look at that picture,

you’re seeing part of my soul”

then we started talking cars

yeah we gave that a whirl

she said “as long as you know

that I’m a Mopar girl”

 

be glad for these chance connections

that restore what we forgot

this being human stuff ain’t easy

but it’s really all we’ve got

 

maybe I should’ve thought more of it

when Julie posted this one day

the worst part about being strong

no one asks if you’re okay”

then the messages stopped coming

but I thought that’s just the way

when two friends at last run out

of entertaining things to say

 

but the truth broke like a bad dream

that Julie’d opted out

she left us stunned and gut-punched

shattered and in doubt

I thought I should’ve sensed it

I thought I should’ve tried

as if some guy from junior high school

could be the one to stem the tide

 

we can’t save other people

we can barely save ourselves

but a friendship is still real

if it gets up where it fell

to reconnect in measure

twenty messages was all

still a gift I’ll always treasure

from Julie in the fall

 

I went to junior high with Julie

but I did not know her well

 

 

© 2018 by Rob Siegel. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

06 – 20 Messages from Julie

 

I went to junior high with Julie

but I did not know her well

she was so popular and pretty

and I was in my shell

different cliques and different circles

all those currents had their sway

a few smiles in the hallway

then my family moved away

 

there was just one time as young adults

that chance caused us to meet

my mom had bought Bob Brown’s house

Julie lived on the same street

we talked like we were old friends

it’s the image that still sticks

me and Julie Frederick

fall of 1976

I wish my 8th grade self could see this

 

be glad for these chance connections

that restore what we forgot

this being human stuff ain’t easy

but it’s really all we’ve got

 

38 years later

I’m on Facebook killing time

and it does that spooky data thing

triangulates through time

on the right side of the window

six words caused me to stir

you might know Julia Ann Frederick

and I thought yeah it must be her

hey what you doing in Gatlinburg

 

she said “Tennessee is the home of my heart

it’s what I came back for

I’m from the only county in the South

that stayed Union in the war”

her photo showed her fishing

Cape Hatteras in the surf

so we talked striped bass and bluefish

like we were quenching a long thirst