IT WAS REAL

Jeffrey Black was online for less than a minute. He needed to find out some information for a book he was writing and while he was at it, he took a quick look at his emails. There was one from a woman named Laramie Robertson.

Jeff was skeptical, Laramie sounded like a name created by a spammer, or a porn operator. He would normally just send it to the spam box, but for some unknown reason, he opened it.

The letter was from a legitimate publishing house, Laramie was their editorial director. She said the house liked a manuscript Jeff had submitted and there was a possibility for a deal. She mentioned that Jeff would have to fix up a few things in three of the chapters and she asked that he call her.

Jeff’s fingers flew as he dialed the number she had left and he had a hard time hitting the numbers on his phone, it was the first time that had ever happened. The second he heard Laramie’s voice, he felt smitten. She had a Texas twang and her words seemed extremely melodic. They had a quick talk regarding the manuscript and some of the chapters that required attention. When Laramie asked who represented him, Jeff simply replied ‘’Nobody’’ Laramie let out a loud laugh. She explained it was a policy of the Habius publishing house to only deal with agents, no writers. She was amazed that his work had somehow made it to the read pile, but it had impressed, so she was confident that they could make a deal.

Over the next few weeks, emails between Laramie and Jeff flew back and forth, and a bond began to form. They decided to take their communication outside of the office and before long they were talking every night.

Laramie told Jeff that she loved living in New York and absorbing the culture. She had grown up in a horrendous environment and both her Mother and Father had been abusive. When her Father ran off, her Mother had a series of boyfriends who were often either mean or drunk or both. It was not easy surviving in that environment, but she had. Books had been her salvation. They always took her away to better places.

Jeff had the exact opposite experience as a child. He grew up in a loving and supportive environment. He told Laramie how wonderful his Bar Mitzvah (the ceremony for becoming an adult when a Jewish kid turns thirteen) was and how he had a huge appreciation for life. His parents had been full of love and great role models. He couldn’t wait to introduce her to them.

After a few calls, it was hard to believe but Jeff and Laramie fell totally in love. They started sending each other passionate emails during the day, and couldn’t wait till night fell so they could What’s App each other.

A routine developed and once the manuscript was updated, and accepted by the publishing house they talked about getting married. It had only been four months, but they were ready to spend their lives together.

Jeff was planning his trip to New York when he saw on the news that there had been a helicopter crash in the Big Apple. The copter was taking people to their offices when it tangled with overhead wires and went down.

On the way to the airport, Jeff called Laramie to let her know he would be there in about seven hours and couldn’t wait to spend time face to face. He was going to kiss her for hours. He had to leave the message on voice mail because she didn’t answer, Jeff figured she was in a meeting.

Once he boarded the plane, he called Laramie’s cell again and much to his dismay once again she didn’t answer. The next call was to the publishing house. When the receptionist answered in a very somber manner and he asked for Laramie, she started to cry. It was uncontrollable sobbing as the stewardess came over to tell him to turn off his cellphone as they were about to take off. The receptionist hung up before he could get any answers.

It was one of the longest flights of Jeffrey Black’s life. He felt nervous and anxious. When the plane landed and he retrieved his luggage, he grabbed a cab to Laramie’s condo. There was a vigil going on outside the building, with candles and flowers. He walked over and took a look and there in the middle was Laramie’s picture. People were sitting on the sidewalk and a woman was strumming a guitar. When Jeff asked what was going on, he was informed that Laramie had been killed in a helicopter crash that morning.

Jeffrey couldn’t control himself and wretched onto the road. He felt a coldness inside that he had never experienced before. He was completely and totally lost. He stayed around for about a half-hour and flagged a cab. He went to the Peninsula Hotel and booked a room.

That night Jeffrey had an overwhelming desire to What’s App his Laramie. He had lost the first real love of his life. Tears showed up out of nowhere and wouldn’t stop streaming down his face. When he saw the news that morning about the helicopter crash, it seemed inconsequential, but in reality, it had ruined his life. He stayed in New York for a week until the Funeral and attended with a bunch of Laramie’s co-workers and friends. She had no family present.

Jeffrey’s manuscript became a book that had moderate success. It took him months before he was able to write again, and when he did he was represented by an agent sent to him by Laramie.

Jeff never knew he could love so strongly. He loved with every ounce of strength in his body. Bizarrely his only regret was that he never got to meet Laramie in person. It was the truest, most pure love he could have ever had, and he was sorry that he and Laramie had never been given the opportunity to consummate that love. Jeffrey did have the satisfaction of knowing that at the end Laramie knew that there was a person in the world who would love her for eternity and he always would.

Alan Schwarz loves life. He is the founder of JAMS Productions, a television production company based in Toronto . His passion is writing.