Back when I was a kid, growing up in smalltown Groton Massachusetts, one of the very first people I met was a boy named Scot. Throughout our entire childhood, Scot and I were very close friends. We were inseperable. We were the kind of friends where whenever someone would mention one of us, they would always follow it up by mentioning the other. Scot was one of the funniest people I had ever met. The two of us would make fun of everyone and everything. We laughed constantly. We both did killer imitations of all the teachers in our school, so much so that our friends would request them often of us: “Do Mr. Gallo!!! It’s so funny!” Scot was a very talented writer, performer, singer – he and I were part of a local community theatre group together for years called Groton Youth Talents. We wrote sketch comedy scenes and performed them together in local shows. Everyone looked forward to our performances. My favorite was when we played Archie and Edith in our parody of “All in the Family.” Scot and I loved to create together.
We were both obsessed with the show “Moonlighting.” We would call each other up while it was on, and watch it together over the phone. He had a crush on Cybil Shepherd and I had one on Bruce Willis. The relationship between me and Scot was very similar to Winnie and Kevin from another favorite show of ours: “The Wonder Years.” We were the best of friends always, but there was more. There was something very special with us, even during those early years of life, and then especially as we grew up and became teenagers together and started to notice each other in new ways. There were feelings. We dated each other, and then we didnt. And then we did. And then we didnt. He was the first guy to ever pick me up at my house and take me out on a date. I still remember what I wore – red and black plaid skirt and button down blouse. We went to prom together. And semi-formal. He was my first real kiss. It was during a slow dance of “Words Get in the Way” by Gloria Estefan, and it was awkward. I still remember him putting a dozen red roses on my chair before music class on my birthday. Or when he left a chocolate Bunny and basket of treats on my doorstep on Easter. He was the first person I loved, and the first guy to break my heart into a billion pieces. As hard as we tried, we never made it as a couple. It was always too difficult, too much effort, and at times felt too pressured or forced; I think especially for him. In the end, we were always meant to be friends. Beautiful and wonderful friends who meant the world to each other.
When we graduated high school back in 1990, we tried so hard to keep the magic that was our friendship going, but time and circumstances had other plans. We both went to college in NY, and we did keep in touch during those years. I even went to his campus a couple times to stay with him and visit. A few years after that, though, our connection started to dwindle, for no real reason other than I tried to connect with him and never got a response. In those early adult years, I got the sense that he was on a life journey where he needed space from me, or from that life back in high school. I was hurt by it, and I missed him, but I respected it, and life went on. When I was planning my wedding to Don back in 2006, I was able to reach out to Scot in an email and I told him I was engaged and that Id love it if he came to the wedding. He wrote me back and said “Congratulations on your engagement. Im really happy for you. I dont think Ill be able to make the wedding, but I wish you only the best.” He didnt offer a reason for not attending, but it seemed clear that he still wasnt ready to see me. The years went by, and over time, I thought about him often. Our mutual childhood friends asked me about him often – if I had heard from him, where was he living, how was he doing. I didnt know. I had heard through the grapevine that he was living in Vermont and had become a wedding DJ, which was perfect for him. As far as I know, he never married or had a life partner. For some reason, I always just thought that one day, we would reconnect. I pictured us being older , and hanging out for lunch or coffee somewhere, and just laughing our heads off like old times. I dont know why, but I always just assumed this would happen one day in the future.
Two days ago, I went on Facebook and saw a post from Scot’s sister that she had written publicly in an Alumni group for our high school back in Groton. The first sentence read: “Scot MacMillan left this life to go on to the next one on October 7, 2021.” My heart dropped, then flipped, and I found myself needing to sit down. I felt dizzy. And then incredibly sad. I do not know how he died, but he was only 49 years old. The idea that I dont know what happened, and that I was not part of his life this past decade – it makes me sad beyond belief. This kind of loss is very strange. He wasnt in my life on a day to day basis currently, but he was SUCH a huge part of my life, my childhood, my shaping and growing as a person, and so much more, for so many years. It feels so weird. I dont know what to do with this kind of grief. I want to soak up all our precious memories together, and just sit with them for awhile. I also REALLY want to sit with my friend and have that cup of coffee, and catch up on each others lives. Knowing that will never happen is a gut-punching pain that I didnt really expect or see coming.
Thank you, my dear friend, for all the years of beautiful friendship, and for all the shared time together.
I wouldnt trade one second of it.
Go in peace.
I will certainly miss you, and truthfully,
I already did.