Once upon a time, Scott was in high school in India with a bunch of other kids. He hung out with a group that included a girl named Becky. Nobody in their group knew that Scott & Becky were an item. After graduation the two made a plan to rendezvous in Paris. Scott was backpacking around Europe before college and Becky was going to be there with her mother.
Back in those ancient pre-facebook and mobile phone and wifi days people would leave messages for each other via the American Express office. They had an actual bulletin board in each office and most people would travel with Amex travellers checques so you always knew where their office was. Scott and Becky arranged to meet on such and such date at the Paris Hilton. No, not that one. The actual hotel. Scott waited a week, checking the hotel and the American Express office daily. In his mind Becky was a no-show so he moved on. It turns out Becky was there looking for Scott in Paris and thought he had stood her up. Their signals crossed and their romantic moment passed them by.
Fast forward maybe fifteen years. In Texas on business, Scott looks Becky up and they decide to meet for old times sake to catch up with each other.Both are married now to other people but one of them can’t stop thinking about what might have been in Paris. Life goes on.
Scott attends the A.I.S. high school reunions and follows their newsletter and website regularly. He is still in touch with many of his friends from back in the day. Jenny and Grant came to High Point to visit Scott when he found out he was terminally ill. Dan Rizzie comments and emails Scott daily. Many others have been, too. So it was not a surprise that news of Scott’s cancer and going to Goa would eventually reach Becky.
Out of the blue, Scott received an email from Becky right before the holidays. She and her husband had just returned home from Goa where they’d been looking to buy real estate. Had she only known Scotty was nearby and sick…one more missed connection. Becky spoke of a 17 year old’s crush and a teenager’s broken heart. She also revealed to Scott for the first time that she had brought a toothbrush to the meeting with Scott in Texas. She never had occasion to use it. Scott responded warmly to her December email but did not hear back from Becky. Soon after new year’s day he heard the shocking news posted on the A.I.S. website that Becky had died in her sleep on January 3, 2013. Scott was devastated by this sad and sudden news. He still does not know the details of Becky’s passing.
Today Scott and Joel and I went to La Plage restaurant for breakfast. We hung out for nearly two hours and eventually Sanjiv joined us, too. Both of these close friends said their goodbyes to Scott today, Joel going back to his family in Israel, Sanjiv and his family headed back to Delhi and Hyderabad after their holiday vacation in Goa (much of it spent assisting us with Scott’s health issues as you’ve read here in this blog!). This was their last face-to-face with Scott.
Before we all left the restaurant, there was one important thing that had to be done. Scott had brought a cloth sack filled with items that included a post card with a private message, some souvenirs of India, a teeny tiny watercolor painting he did just for her of a flaming Goan sunset, and…..one of his own toothbrushes. He wasn’t feeling strong enough anymore to go walk the beach to find a spot to bury the tribute to his first love. His last love did that for him, scooping the heavy wet sand deep enough to hold the treasures of an innocent teenage heart, marking the spot with a Y shaped stick and a trailing vine….my footsteps leaving a solo trail on the beach as I returned to the table where Scott sat staring out at the crashing waves deep in thought.