Thursday, June 16, 2011

Memories Of A Lost Friend.

I am meant to be doing my exercise for inkpaperpen's Write on Wednesdays, but as the house is silent for once I have no hope of being a dialogue detective at this moment. Instead, the doors of my mind have opened into a room of faded memories and I am writing of the night my last such a writing exercise took place. Of someone who has a place in my heart permanently reserved; one day we will meet again.

A Winter's Night

It is the image of him I am left with. The two sandy blond heads together, leaning forward, engrossed in the game on the phone. It is the image I wish I had thought to photograph, though I know by that point he abhorred having any images taken. It is the last night I saw Simon.

It is cold on the mountain, it is always so very cold in mid-winter. The fires burn on day and night, heating frozen rooms, warming the homes of all who reside in this rainforest paradise. Our mouths propel jet bursts of steam as we stomp up steep external stairs to the house of friends, which hovers on the edge of the hilltop drop. Tonight it will be a gourmet indulgence, rich, white sauce drenched crab lasagna with lots of tasty sides and extras, tonight it will be a meal fit for a king, for our king has returned at long last.

My children whine, hating leaving the cosy comfort of our residence. The oldest dreads social interaction with this bunch of boisterous boys, his brother included, and the one tomboy girl attending. For him, at age 9, this type of gathering is a living hell. As it is for one other, the one for whom this feast is in honour.

Laughter, hugs and garbled greetings meet us at the door. But eyes are drawn to the taut figure sitting in the large recliner. The chair swamps him, and if I hadn't had the chance to see him briefly on his journey home from hospital, I doubt I could have hidden my anguish. So frail, so thin, so tired. So sick of it all, and sick of being sick. He is 39, but looks decades older.

We sit, eat, talk.  The noise level ramps up and conversation and games become rambunctuous. Five children laugh, giggle, joke. One child covers his ears and cowers from the noise. The man has returned to the large leather recliner, sitting quietly drinking it all in. He sees the boy, my oldest. From across the room he senses the distress wafting off the child in waves, smiles. Pulls from the pocket of his now too large jacket a shiny new gadget - his phone. Waggles it, smiles, and beckons. The others come too, jumping in, wanting to grab, investigate, intervene. Simon shushes and sends away, it is not a toy, he tells them.

The boy walks quietly over and gazes into Simon's eyes. They smile, understanding the importance of such technology, each relishing the abilities of this one little cold metallic item. The boy does not see the illness, he does not see the frailty, the shadows of pain. When he looks at the man he sees only a kindred spirit, another technological addict. And someone who understands. He moves to the chair, slides in beside Simon, shuffles his bottom to make room. Unselfconsciously he leans into the thin body, snuggles deep. They bow over the phone, engrossed, absorbed, happy.

Simon glances up, catches my eye, smiles, joy emanating unsuppressed. For right at this minute, this child has made him feel whole, just for a while. The two tousled heads lower again over the phone. The boy moves closer, looks up into Simon's eyes and beams. Simon beams right back.

It is the image I remember him by. My son, my different, quirky outsider completely content and calm, nestled as close as one human can be to another. The man, feeling special, wanted, strong. I just wish I had taken that photo.


Sarah Mac said...

This is so beautifully written. I found it incredibly touching and emotional.

I sometimes find that photos can't really capture the essence of the moment but the pictures in your mind, well, they stay with you forever.

InkPaperPen said...

I am glad that you did this instead of your detective dialogue piece...I think your ability to remember is amazing, it must be part of what makes you a writer. With all these thoughts in your head, they have to get out somewhere, so they get out in your writing. Is that right? I don't know, I think the way you write is something I need to learn - I tend to avoid writing about really painful situations. No, I write about them but not as deeply as you do, I skim, I am not able to be so honest. This piece is my favorite from you. It is gentle and soft and so when I read it I felt connected somehow. That must be you capturing that beautiful snuggle between the boy and the man. Gill xo

E. said...

Although you don't have a photo of those precious moments your words have created such a vivid image for me.

Like Sarah said those images in your head can stay with your forever. Thanks for sharing.

Suzi said...

Such beautiful writing, as E. said even though you dont have a photo, your memories through words create those images.

Donna said...

You may not have that photo but your words paint such a beautiful picture I can see it in my minds eye. So sorry for your loss xx

Mumma's Mini Mes - Kym said...

You made a beautiful picture in my head you have a way with words. The best thing about having the picture in your head is that you can close your eyes and still see it. Found you via FLBF and new follower :)

Glowless @ Where's My Glow said...

Just lovely x