By Cassidy Dover: "Memories"
I was talking with a friend on Facebook tonight and we got to talking about old girlfriends/boyfriends. He was asking if I remembered certain people from college. From that my mind began to wander to someone I had dated in college - sort of. This guy was an amazing friend to me. He and I had bonded over silly stuff that matters in college but nowhere else in the world. We would spend hours upon hours together doing the silliest of things. One night we took the trays from the cafeteria and we went sledding down a hill. Mike was a tall guy and really didn’t fit on the tray, but it was so much fun!
In time we began to travel together. I had an internship where he was working (he was 2 years older than I was). This was all before I knew Ray. When we’d travel, we’d go out to eat, to bars, to shop. Normal everyday things you do on trips for work. Travel is a funny thing. You can go to someone’s room before you go out and find yourself ironing their suit as they finish getting ready. Something that normally wouldn’t take place in daily life.
I don’t remember when our relationship crossed the line from great friends to more than that, but it did. The line seemed somewhat fluid. In general, there was alcohol involved when we’d kiss. I seem to remember that being an unspoken rule - if we weren’t sober, we weren’t really doing anything that could affect our friendship.
This went on for many months and it really worked well for us. We also experienced some pretty major things as friends. I got very sick. Sick in a way that I didn’t realize or admit as being sick. I kept what was going on hidden. My parent’s didn’t know. Most of my friends didn’t know. If they did, no one wanted to deal with what was going on.
Mike dealt with it. He called me out on my behavior and my illness and forced me to get some help. I hated him for awhile after that.
And then I realized what he had done was out of love. And we began to hang out again. As friends. Things went back to working out just right for us.
Until it didn’t. Until that time when neither of us were drinking yet we found ourselves looking at each other and he said to me, “I’d really like to kiss you.”
“Are you sure?” I remember asking him. Even now I remember my heart beating faster and my entire body feeling uncomfortable, yet excited.
“If we kiss, it counts,” he said.
We kissed and it counted. A lot.
Things were different after that. We couldn’t pretend it hadn’t happened. Too many things had transpired between us to act as if the love was a platonic love. Things became a bit awkward, even though we tried to act like they hadn’t changed.
Two weekends later, I was out with some girlfriends and I met this guy, you may have heard me talk about him. His name is Ray. After that Mike and I lost touch. I don’t know if it was his choice or mine. You know, life changes, you get busy.
I did see him one time, back in 2002 during a road trip I had gone on with Ray. Mike and his wife lived in this town we visited. The four of us were going to have lunch. Mike’s wife, Katie, was pregnant and backed out. Ray ended up having a player’s association meeting or something and had to back out.
Mike and I went to lunch.
That lunch lasted three or four hours. We caught up on our lives. We laughed. We avoided talking about where things went wrong. We promised to keep in touch.
That night, after the game, Ray was designated for assignment. I didn’t really think about what it meant, to be designated. I was too excited about my lunch with Mike and wanted to tell Ray all about it. He wasn’t impressed. We exchanged some words. I “lost” Mike’s phone number and email. He must have lost mine as well.
So tonight, talking to my friend from college, he told me he had found Mike on Facebook. I looked him up and there he was. Smiling from his photo with his wife. Looking very much the same as I remember him.
I sent a friend request. I can only hope he’ll accept.
In this professional baseball lifestyle, making good friends is really hard. I have a few close friends from college still; I’ve made a few in baseball. Lately, though, I am beginning to lose those things from my life before Ray - my pets have passed away, my hair is a different color, my waistline isn’t what it once was. I’m different. I’ve changed. But Mike and the memory of the amazing friend he was to me is something I want back.
Mike was there for me at a time when I didn’t know I needed a great friend. He was brave and put our friendship on the line when I needed help but didn’t know or want help. He brought me to help kicking and screaming. Mike helped me grow to become the person who could let myself be available for Ray to come into my life. That lunch in 2002 reminded me of that.
The photo of him tonight made me smile and become nostalgic for our friendship. I hope he feels the same way when he sees my friend request. I hope he remembers me at all!
I know we won’t be the friends we were back then. That’s not what I want. I really want to say, “Thank you” - even if he doesn’t remember what I’m thanking him for. Now please excuse me as I go find Ray and hug him and give him a kiss. As I do I’ll be saying a quiet, “Thank you” to Mike. Without him I can’t be certain I’d be Mrs. Dover.
Thanks for reading,
Cassidy Dover has been a baseball wife for more than 10 years. Her husband Ray, currently in the minor leagues, has spent part of 7 seaons in The Show. Cassidy lives somewhere in America with her daughter Sheridan. Right now, they're probably waiting for Ray to come home.