Marc Harmon is an extraordinary person. He is special. I have loved him completely since almost the first moment I met him.
I was on holiday with my parents and his family had the cabin next door. The very first day, while my parents were unloading the car I ran off exploring and saw him, sitting on the balcony that ran along the front of their cabin. I ran straight over, and stopped a few steps away.
He was beautiful, the most beautiful person I had ever seen. He had curly blonde hair and the biggest, bluest eyes ever.
We stared at each other for a while, and then he smiled at me. His smile was beautiful too, even though he was missing a front tooth.
I started kicking at the dirt with the toe of my shoe, and sending him shy looks from under my fringe. After a while, his smile faded to be replaced by a look of confusion. He must have wondered what on earth I was doing. No, knowing Marc he was wondering why I hadn’t touched him yet.
Marc is a very tactile person; he loves to hug and be hugged. He is so sweet that everyone wants to hug him. Certainly, at that point, he was prone to throwing his arms around anyone who came close enough, and kissing them. It’s one of his most endearing traits.
Of course, at the time he was only five years old, so it wasn’t quite as off- putting to strangers as it is now he’s almost twenty one.
When his face started to pucker and tears to squeeze out from under the long, thick lashes, I did what I have always done since... I ran to him and hugged him.
Instantly the tears disappeared and that bright sunny disposition re- emerged. He hugged me tightly, and laughed. He has a wonderful laugh. No one who hears that laugh can help but smile, at the least.
By that time Mrs Harmon had come out onto the balcony, and she gave me her smile, which is only a shade less wonderful than Marc’s.
“Hello,” she said. “And who might you be?”
Being only eight myself, I wasn't quite sure what she meant. “I’m James?” I said hopefully and she smiled again.
“Well hello, James. I’m very pleased to meet you.”
“We’re on holiday. We’re over there.” I pointed towards our cabin and she smiled again.
At that point, I was distracted by a gentle touch on my arm. I turned and looked down into pools of liquid blue. I have always been quite a bit taller than Marc, but it was more pronounced then. While I was staring into his eyes he touched my face and said, “Pretty.”
I smiled, even though I didn’t really know why I was smiling. If I had thought about it, I would have realised that Marc’s actions weren’t exactly normal, even for a five year old, but I didn’t see anything beyond his angel face and bright smile. He made me feel warm. He’s had the same effect ever since.
“Would you like a drink, James, or some biscuits perhaps?”
“Yes please,” I responded instantly, being at the age when affairs of the stomach overrode just about any other consideration.
“Do you want to see my special stone?” I asked Marc, as she turned to leave. He smiled at me, but didn’t answer, so I took out the stone and held it out to him. It was my most treasured possession. I had found it on the beach the year before and it had not been more than a foot away from me ever since.
For a moment, Marc stared at me, and then he stared at the stone. Gently he brushed the stone with his fingertips, and then looked up again, his eyes wide with wonder.
“You can hold it if you want,” I said magnanimously. He took it from my hand and lifted it close to his face, to examine it carefully.
The stone is about the size of an egg and fits snugly into the palm of the hand... at least for a child. It is blue, shot through with white lines, making a criss cross pattern through the stone. I thought it was beautiful; so did Marc. He still has it.
When the time came to take back the stone, he gave it up readily but looked so sad that it hurt my heart. There were tears in his eyes and his lips were trembling. I have never been able to stand seeing him cry, and so I handed it straight back over, hungry for the beautiful smile that rewarded me.
I was way too young to know it right then but in that moment, when I handed him my stone, I also handed him my heart. He still has that too.