Monday, August 16, 2010
On August 16th 1990 I was in Sarajevo covering the breakup and building tensions in Yugoslavia which would lead to a vicious ethnic war and mass genocide. But on that day in what was a beautiful city my life changed forever. Not by bomb, or illness or money, it was changed by love. This was the day that I had my first date with the amazing woman who would become Mrs. Badger.
I had met J.J. before, and I always had a crush on her, she was a funny, smart, beautiful photographer. I had previously tried to chat her up at the smarmy journalists bar in the Holiday Inn Sarajevo and she was having no part of me. As her friends were telling me and I quote, " JJ thinks you are a Crazy Little Boy, who had a better chance of getting pregnant than a date with her" But my heart would not give up. I came up with an idea, that was hatched while drinking with some other cameramen of questionable moral providence. I would show her I was a professional and would write her a "Relationship Resume"!! fueled with a locally made moonshine and bad Baltic weed I wrote my resume, complete history of my relationships with references.
I bribed JJ's Best friend and personal firewall that I would never talk to or attempt to again only if she delivered said document and that JJ would agree to a 1 hour date. The firewall agreed and soon JJ came by the bar and announced that I would get a 1 hour window to prove I was not just a less hairy ape.
That one hour turned into a 8 hour date, the next day JJ moved into my room and that was the beginning of how I learned to Love & be Loved.
Today if J.J. was still alive we would have been together for 20 years and probably would have been. Our relationship was not perfect non are. But we saw past our emotional, social, interpersonal quirks because we were best friends, JJ was the first time I experienced unconditional Love outside of my Parents & Grandparents. A lot of our friends saw us as a perfect couple, maybe because we always respected each other and enjoyed every moment we were together. But we were not perfect, I as we know have lots of issues, and so did she. We did fight but never in public, we did not moan to friends about each other unless it was child like kidding. When we did fight and we fought a lot, it never got personal or ugly and we never went to bed angry we would stay up all night and find a solution if that is what it took. As sappy as that sounds it really works. when you go to bed angry it ferments, and evolves into something else and that is never pretty.
These are some the things that J.J. gave me as a person and that left me a much better person than I was when I met her. She taught me to be able to be Loved, a skill I am still working on. JJ always trusted me emotionally even when I was emotionally not well. I learned from her that being silly when things look the darkest is good medicine. I learned there is dignity in accepting who you are. The best gift that I was given was that I am at my core good, kind and have the capacity to Love and Respect back and that I do not have to be perfect in doing it, if I am truly Loved back.
Here is the Math! God and I hate math............
Days we would have been together : 7305 pretty scary number
Days I have still lived after she was gone: 2191
The second number is more important to me right now, I have come along way since then, seen many things met many friends, and all I have seen, and all I have met have been the direct benefit of Jennifer June's impact on my life. Do I miss her? Yes of course I do today, on our wedding anniversary, her birthday, her day of passing and ground hog day are the worst on me emotionally. I get through them knowing I was lucky to have 14 years with my best friend and that is not a little thing, not many people can say that at my age. Wherever you are June Bug I hope no one else has written you a Resume........................................