March 10, 2015 | Posted in: A Love Story
He was one of my best friends, my protector, my broken-heart healer.
I still see us in Mr. Wood’s class, sitting side by side, sharing Jolly Ranchers. At our first Boy-Girl party together, neither having a clue why we were there.
He’s the face I remember seeing through the windows, waiting for me to get off the bus so he could walk me home. The arms that would hold me when I came racing for him after some boy or another had broken my teenage heart.
He put me behind the wheel of his green Pinto, teaching me to drive. Jumped into the front seat of my own Celica, celebrating with me on the first day I had my license.
There was so much about him that, even as a writer, I don’t have the words to truly describe the amazing friend he was.
He was just a teenager when the cancer diagnosis came. This vibrant, full-of-life friend never even made it to his twenties before being made aware that he’d now live in a battle for his life.
And he battled it. He fought. He never gave up. Every treatment. Every surgery. Every bit of cancer intruding on his life, demanding his attention. He still smiled. Still loved. Enjoying the moments in life he had. Encouraging those around him to do the same.
We could cry for him. Hurt with him. But we also had to smile, laugh, be there and be part of the moments he treasured in his life.
And many of those moments where spent at his favorite place . . . Lake McConaughy.
If you knew Dave, you knew he was truly happiest when at the Lake. There was his peace. His escape. His time to make his life the best it could be. The time I spent there with him are some of the most treasured memories I hold.
He was twenty-six before the beast of Cancer won. And his final time was spent celebrating the Fourth of July at the lake he loved.
Losing such an amazing part of my life was something I knew, in the back of my mind, I couldn’t avoid. But I wasn’t prepared for it. How could I ever be? How can anyone ever be?
Dave was one of a kind. He was so kind. So friendly. So loved by many. There wasn’t a foul word to be said about him. That simply wasn’t the kind of person he was. He loved. He laughed. He celebrated. And just the very nature of him encouraged those around him to do the same.
I knew, after he was gone, I would someday find a way to use my words to honor the amazing friend he was. And a few years later, the first thoughts for Reluctant Angel came to mind.
It was a bit of a struggle in the beginning, bringing Jack to life while also knowing he would be the conflict between my two main characters Gabi and Chase. In my head and heart, Jack was my Dave and I couldn’t have my readers dislike him for any reason.
So I had to challenge what I usually wrote. Find a way to make him the conflict while still, hopefully, creating a love for him and his part in Gabi’s life.
In 2001, Reluctant Angel was released. The story line was simple. The length was shorter than any other I’ve written. And yet it still remains the one closest to my heart. Because it brought to life Jack Cullar who was my chance to honor Dave and all that he was in my life.
I still have a tear and smile to this day when I think of the wonderful friend I knew and lost. And I’m thankful, over a decade later, for the chance to re-release Reluctant Angel.
Soon, my readers will have a first chance to read Reluctant Angel through the Exclusive Publishers Ebook release before regular distribution. I hope, if you do decide to take the chance to read it first, you will enjoy the story I created for one of the best friend’s I’ve ever been blessed to have in my life.