Friday, February 18, 2011
You don't know a good thing till it's gone
But then again, it has been a sobering last couple of months. So much has happened. Yet so little has truly changed.
I lost someone very dear to me towards the end of last year. He was my age. We were close once. But we had a fight a few years ago and stopped speaking to each other. It was a silly fight over a parking space and some other petty shit I don't completely remember. We never made up. My pride refused to let me make the first move. He too, had pride the size of Africa. Just two weeks before the tragic incident, he passed a very important exam which he had been working really hard for the last couple of years. The family threw a celebration. At the party, I had this urge to just go up to him, extend my hand and wish him 'congratulations'.
But I didn't. I shoved the impulse away. My pride won. Again.
The younger me used to run to him with boy trouble. He never let me wallow in self-pity. I remember, when I was 21 or 22, I broke up with a dude and it seemed like the end of the world. At midnight, I ran to him wanting some comfort. He was already standing outside his place waiting for me. I ran into his arms, he hugged me and just said gruffly 'Forget him'. He then took me out for a drive. We stopped at a friend's house and by 2am I was laughing again.
I took it for granted that we would have all the time in the world to make up.
How was I to know or even remotely anticpate that I would receive an awful call at 3.30am, close to dawn a fateful day in October, informing me that he was gone. I'll never forget that feeling of fear that immediately gripped me and refused to shake off for weeks. I'll never forget the visit to the mortuary with his sister the next morning. Seeing him on that steel trolley, half covered with a black bag, is the stuff of all my nightmares rolled into one tragic, one very real moment.
Of all the clichés in the world, I'm now relating to this one: you don't know a good thing till it's gone.
He was far from perfect. He had a short temper. He had way too much pride. He was a lot like me.
But his life was a hard one since he was a child whilst mine was mostly sheltered. For him to turn out to be all that he was despite everything he'd been through, makes him infinitely stronger, braver and finer than I could ever wish to be. A diamond in the rough. A gem underneath the rough, sometimes coarse exterior. I recognised the gem when I was younger. I lost sight of it in recent years...too caught up with my frivolous wants and demands. I'll probably kick myself for it for the rest of my life.
I miss you my brother. Rest in peace.