Regrets

Editors note: I’m writing this very late at night after very, very little sleep and my goodness is my bedroom cold so please forgive (more) spelling & grammar errors (than usual).

My friend died today- a very good friend of mine who was about the same age as me. It’s still not really sunk in, and I doubt it ever truly will, but I want to write about it. I don’t really know why, exactly. I guess the reason at the top of my teetering tower of reasons  is that in times like this I have very few people to turn to, emotionally. In fact, I doubt many people think I’m very affected by the event at all. It’s not a lack of friends or caring folks, believe me, I guess I just like to remain emotionally distant from people. I don’t cry, I don’t really get emotional or deep with people, in case of sounding silly. I don’t cry at films, or books. I don’t do well at telling people I care for them. And from within my protective wall of sarcasm and self deprecation, I can sit around and deal with emotions privately and without other people knowing. Also I’m not a psychopath. Just wanted that out there.

So I guess I’m writing this because it still creates a nice division between actually sharing my feelings. Not many people I know in real life know about any of this, and if they do I can laugh it off and not have to be all serious and shit.

I feel so guilty doing this. It feels like I’m stealing the limelight in a weird way. Like I’m self obsessively spouting off all my feelings about how I feel, as if I’m so important in this whole thing. I don’t know. I’ve never dealt with this- I’ve never had someone who was close to me die. Christ, the most emotionally damaging thing I’ve had happen in my formative years was my sister’s rabbit dying when I was 10. Now, however, the person who was a best friend to me for a year, who convinced me I was funny, that I should try and get into radio, that I should go to college, the person who laughed at my jokes and was just always happy to see me is no longer around. She hasn’t been for a while, to be fair. When she moved away a couple of years ago our friendship faded as is so often the case. The texts became more infrequent, our comments and conversations turned less into plans for the future and more reminiscing about cool times we’d already had. Promises to meet up “when we were all less busy”. Nevertheless, I always thought things would just sort of reset; I kept sort of telling myself she’d move back and the gang of us would get up to the same tricks. We’d snap back into our old ways; locking ourselves in the bar and drinking all night, pier jumping into freezing water, hiking and climbing hungover, sitting around drinking and joking and eating.

It never happened. I never saw her again. She died today.

On my desk beside me is a pad of paper I have full of sketches and drawings. It’s an elegant A4 sketchbook with wonderfully thick, grainy paper (though not so much that it’s card-like). Sure, it’s nothing as fancy as a moleskine, with their black leather covers and silky bookmarks, but it has that cool ‘artist at work’ look- I’ve stuffed it with notes and sketches, smudged it with paints and charcoals and filled in every corner with drawings. It has notes next to each sketch, where I should improve or colour, what to work on or just to fill out where the page looked empty. It feels like a book you’d see in leonardo da vinci’s workshop it’s that fucking authentic. It’s a book a failed realisations. It’s stuffed with sketches I never finished, never completed. It’s full of broken promises of logos I’d say I’d try, or maps or drawings or cartoons I promised to people. I promised my friend a drawing. I often draw big A2 illustrations for people’s birthdays in leu of a present, and for a whole year she pestered me for a drawing. I joked I was working on it, I told her every week that I had made progress, that I was almost done. I hadn’t. I wasn’t. I had sat and stared and done nothing. What work I had done was half assed. I put it off. I put it off I like I put of my friendships, put off my plans, put off my emotions. I had forgotten about it. As I looked through my texts today, I found an old conversation. We were talking about this one time I blew off meeting her at the pub because I was too shy to meet someone she had with her (I told her the reason was because I had ‘paperwork’ to do for a new job). She said “I owed her big time”.

“haha What do I owe you? Name your price! Money? Gold? A picture of that monster you apparently saw in the woods?”

“lol that was real! You owe me a picture!”

It never happened. I never saw her again. She died today.

I’m keeping that sketch, that shitty, half assed sketch. I considered throwing it out so many times. Not now. Now I’m hanging it on the wall. As a reminder.

And I’m sorry K. I wish I had made more time for you, and I wish I had had the balls to tell you what a great friend you were, and always will be. I wish I had gone to the pub with you that time.

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