S.

It’s not often you worry about a friend dying.

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Sure… you worry you should’ve stayed in touch with someone more, perhaps attended their birthday party even though it meant taking a train somewhere or called them a little more often when you convinced yourself you were busy although ‘busy’ is feeble- but you never really worry that if you don’t do the little things they might not only slip through your fingers but the fingers of the Earth.

I, for one, had a terrible habit of ignoring those worries because if I told them to be quiet, for long enough, then they found a way to bury themselves in the distant abyss of wasted thought. Sometimes I would make a quick phonecall if I hadn’t heard from you in a while and D at reception would say ‘Oh Gowri! How lovely to hear from you, he’s upstairs, shall I put you through?’

And I would say ‘D, I’m so sorry, I’m actually in the middle of something but I’ll get back to him later’.

And most times I did. And sometimes I didn’t. And I’m sorry for the times where I didn’t.

I love you, S. I’ve never said that outright to you, but I know you see it in the way I look at you. You truly are one of the most special friends I’ve ever had. And in our 6 bright and brilliant years of knowing each other you’ve told me things I know you’ve never told anyone else and you’ve kept some of my most bizarre secrets too. You’ve seen me stressed for exams, crying over idiots from the past who’ve hurt me (all of whom you’ve hated with admirable vengeance since) and celebrated my every achievement, every happiness. You’ve watched me grow. Maybe you’ve even grown with me. I always muse that you think too highly of me… and if the whole world were to see me with the eyes that you see me with then I would be glorified a bit too much but also loved with a certain blindness.

Few things have changed in those 6 years. You’ve lost some weight. You recall with the utmost clarity the exact place and time where we met and how I used to spread marmite onto the inside of my tuc biscuits… but you do forget whether the heating is still set at number 3 even though we checked it 15 minutes ago. You can’t escort me downstairs in the lift to say bye anymore, and I know I make the filter coffee for you now rather than it being the other way.

But we haven’t changed. Our friendship hasn’t changed. We’ve always had something special and it’s as special today as it was 6 years ago.

And for a man who fought in the Great War and didn’t think he would make it to 24, you’ve done damn well to make it to 94.

You’re not a grandfather figure to me. You’re just my friend. I don’t see you because I have to. I see you because I love to. And just like with all my other friends, sometimes I forget to call. Sometimes I tell myself I’m busy although busy is feeble.

And it wasn’t until today when you held my hand as you lay in bed and squeezed it and asked me, for the first time ever, not to leave your side that I realised that you’ve gotten a bit old and maybe it’s time soon but I don’t want you to leave my side either.

It’s not often you worry about a friend dying.

And S, I don’t worry for you (because we both know that if there’s a hell, you’re going straight there and I’m joining you shortly) but for me. You say I keep you going… have you ever thought that you might keep me going too? That over this time, you’ve become one of the most important people in my life and that when your time is up there will be an S shaped hole in my heart too?

But I don’t want to think about that. I know that this existence is getting a little frustrating for you. As you edge closer and closer to that day, whenever that day may be, I’ll edge closer and closer to that peaceful point of acceptance and none of it will matter anymore.

Because even though I might worry about my friend dying I have never once had that worry about our friendship.

Because no matter where you go, friendships like ours are moulded by the universe and last for eternity.

 

 

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