A week ago I learnt that a friend had died. I hadn’t seen him in years but he visited us a week or so beforehand and had been full of life and smiles. I fished through my folders and found something I’d written years ago. It reminded me of a few things, such as that we had had great times, and that we had all been huge hippies. I don’t use real names on my blogs so they’ve been replaced with letters. My friend is S.
I was walking home in the dark from my French class when it began to pour. Dressed in shorts and sandals, I broke into a run. In minutes I was soaked. When I arrived at the foot of the winding steps that lead to the house, M and N were dancing in the rain on the landing. I leapt up the stairs to join them and we shouted for S to come down onto the balcony. Within seconds he had climbed from the balcony onto the platform and stripped to his boxers. I tore my shirt off and together we ran out into the vast carpark behind the house, shouting and doing cartwheels. The rain was pouring down, flooding the gutters. S and M held hands and swung around and around, the water flying off their bodies. I ran over with N to take their hands and we span in a circle. Dizzy, we broke off and left the carpark to jog around the block – S running down the middle of the road. When we reached the park, S was ahead, M beside me, and N behind. Silhouetted in the light from a streetlamp, S threw up his arms in the rain. With his shaved head, he looked like a thin, drowned Buddha. N took off her drenched sweatpants and slung them over her shoulder. As the rain slackened, we looked up at the sky. I had my mouth open to catch the drops. Suddenly S shouted at the sky as loud as he could. We took turns shouting and afterwards stood looking eat each other, grinning. We walked home in silence, none of us willing to break the spell.
The end is nigh. The end is always nigh. It’s around the corner, overhead, or sometimes in our bodies. I’ve been thinking a lot in the past week about how much I enjoy living on this borrowed time we have, and how important other people are in that time. It’s important to live every year as if it’s the last year of earthly things.