May 3, 2017

Fred



My Darling Fred,


Every May a mammoth sense of bereavement swallows me, as if it hasn’t been six years since you left. The silence in the wake of your departure won’t stop wailing, an endless ripple moving further away, growing fainter but bigger every year.

I want him back. I want my friend back, I say aloud, my futile voice fading in the dumb, unresponsive darkness before I fall asleep.  

On a dusty groggy day like today, especially. The sun an irrelevant white circle, flat and unimpressive against the dirty sky. My sadness rising in me like a re-erected tombstone. I want to go back to you, to fleeting moments. A cold evening, in a dingy old café, where a pompous academic poet ‘David something’ was signing his newly published collection, amidst a small public reading where struggling poets like us read a piece or two. We sniggered shamelessly at how the audience consisted only of his students, probably promised an extra mark or two, to show up and make him look popular. Laughing at how immature and petty we were. We may have had deeper souls and a nobler poetic command, but we knew ‘David Something’ will always be a far more successful poet. After all, we were both there, and we weren’t his pupils.

The time we sat in a quaint Edwardian tea house in Warwick. I asked you what the difference was between cream tea and ordinary tea? We talked about starting our own publishing house, and how I’d want to publish every poem sent to us, and you’d - of course -  reject them all.

How genuinely happy you were for me when I published my first poem, because only someone like you would understand the significance and meaning of that event.

When you died, a fragile corner of my life tore off, a jagged, sharp slash, that cuts me each time a moment, or an incident occurs, I wish I can share with you. The terrible joke, only you’d agree was funny. Deep, dark places in my mind, where only you’d encourage me to go.