my friend’s day
A friend of mine died today. Had a massive heart attack and died. I’ve known him for around 15 years, and though I didn’t know him really well, wasn’t completely close, there always was a connection between us. He was a kind of institution in my life that I guess in some irrational way I thought would always be there. Last April we agreed to try to get closer. To spend some time, have a lunch and talk. For the last few months, I’d been trying to get together with him, but one thing or the other, usually the other thing, always got in the way. And now there is just one big thing. No more chances.
Today was his day. I’m sure he didn’t know it was his day when he woke up and saw the lines of his familiar room in the familiar light. It just became his day one moment this morning with the pain in his chest. Even then, I’m sure he didn’t know it was his day. When did he finally know? What did he think about? What did he feel? What did he try to say?
When I heard over the phone a few hours ago, I literally couldn’t speak. Couldn’t think of a thing to say. I’m trying now to say that I still can’t really believe that I won’t see him again. I’m trying now to say that I wish we’d had at least one of the lunches we planned so I’d have that solid memory to fall back on and maybe feel better about. Should I have tried harder to see him? Should I have not given up as I did the last few weeks telling myself that maybe later when things were less crazy, I’d try again.
And I’m trying now to say that on his day, I can’t help wondering what my day will be like. How I’ll find out that it’s my day and what I’ll be thinking and trying to say. How this life I so casually live will suddenly end. What will end it? What will precede it? Will I have any clues? I’m sure I won’t know it’s my day when it comes any more than he did. For that matter, day ain’t over yet…
And all these things I wonder about, my friend is learning now. Whatever is out of my reach now, my friend is now experiencing. I will miss my friend. Not so much the time I spent with him, because there wasn’t so much of that, but just the knowing that he’s out there, like the ocean I rarely visit just a few miles away. The possibility of lunch.