In 2005 I was sixteen years old and was working at a supermarket. So, you know, a typical and boring loser in New Jersey. One night I was putting those damn shopping carts away in the middle of a chilly night when I heard a voice. I turned around and there she was: Jessianne Broughton. My new co-worker. She was also tasked to lug these carts back into the store and so for the next thirty minutes we helped each other out. In those thirty minutes something amazing happened: We talked and became fast friends.
I don’t know why Jessi was comfortable with me cause at that point no girl was. But not only did we have a lot in common but her energy and big smile won me over. In fact she won me over in more ways than one because you see: Jessi was my first crush. It seemed like the perfect match with everything we enjoyed and the countless times we would hang out on our off time. Heck, she would even accept my offer to go to Senior Prom (after I embarrassingly bought her flowers for Valentine’s Day). My advances were hardly subtle so when I FINALLY told her my feelings it became a huge shock she was not feeling the same way. While I didn’t take this well on the inside (at all actually) on the outside I saved face and we continued to be close friends. Cue after high school where she suddenly disappeared and moved to Miami for college.
Cue four years later and Jessi returned! I got in touch with her, we caught up, and now that we could go out to bars and clubs we had more fun than usual. We still never became more than friends but with my lack of social skills outside of our circle it was just good to be with someone that made me happy. Eventually, after a few attempts, Jessi would find the man of her dreams who I will name here “S”. At first I was insanely jealous cause you can never really lose your feelings towards your first crush. But it was eventually wiped away after countless hang outs with the two and overall just to see Jessi happy 24/7 made me happy.
Come April of 2015 and I moved out to Los Angeles. On my last day at home I hung out with Jessi one last time at “our” bar. We hugged each other, I shook hands with S, and was adamant both needed to come out ASAP when I get comfortable in my new venture. What happens next is something I will never forget a month later. It was 7AM in the morning and S rang me up. He sounded like hell and I was wondering why he was sounding the way he did. He dropped a bombshell: Jessi died overnight in her sleep.
I won’t go too much into detail but Jessi had her vices. We all have them, some more extreme than others. What made this news all the more shocking though is that Jessi was doing her damnedest to fight back. Apart from our casual night outs at the bar she was doing amazingly well and nothing seemed off. But that’s the thing about vices: You never truly get rid of them and despite her best efforts they caught up with my best friend at the worst time.
So here I am: About three thousand miles away and I lost my best friend with no warning. All I can say is that thank goodness the news came on the weekend because had this came around my time at my new job I would’ve been on the floor weeping uncontrollably. I still did so, but I had the strength and countless friends & family to make sure I didn’t go into my own spiral. To this day though I still cannot believe what happened and still hope that, somehow, she will pop up on a Facebook Messenger and ask how I am doing.
There is not a day that goes by where I don’t think about Jessianne Broughton. She completely changed the course of my life and was constantly a bright light in what was an utterly dark period in my life mentally. The pain is still there but no longer raw and as long as I think of our countless good times together I can’t truly be too upset. But I can only imagine what her family, her close friends, and her boyfriend all feel to this day. My condolences still go out to them and anyone else that she impacted during her life.
I miss you Jessi. But no matter what you will never truly be gone and I know you always wanted it to be that way.