One of my best friends is dealing with cancer and because he doesn't want to burden others with his illness he tries to escape contact from his best friends.
I hate it not to be able to give him the support he needs, but on the other hand, it's his way of dealing with the situation.
He's a good kind of uncle for my sons and they assist him wherever and whenever help is needed for his newspaper.
At the end of the afternoon one of my sons called that he needed to help with the computer, if I wanted to go with him.
The call came at the right time as I had something to do in town anyway. So we were dropped in the centre.
First we discovered that the shop[s we needed to go to were both closed. But a new one had opened by two chinese men, a father and son. I bought a beautiful fabric wallet and a small chinese bag, both for 5 euro in total. And my son found some very nice bowls. We had a chat with the owners. I'm sure we'll be back there often.
Then we went to the paper.
Ofcourse my friends was surprised and a bit overthrown to see me, and he asked me to leave, but I stayed and we had a very good time together, fixing the computer, talking about nothing special, making plans for the paper and relaxing with some cookies and a caffeine free cola.
We could have stayed there forever, but he clearly got tired and to be honest, so did I.
I don't think he'll be with us very long anymore.
He was thin and small, had tidied and cleaned the whole editor's room, which he never did before, and he was clear about his plans of tidying his house. He already moved out quite a few things, I knew from my sons. And he agreed to attend a BBQ later this summer and take photos of the whole family and he said to my son that he wouldn't mind that some photos were taken from him too.
That's the first time in his life he openly agrees to be photographed.
We both felt happy to have had such a nice evening.
Just old friends concentrating on a computerscreen, nibbling cookies.
So many things unsaid, but understood.
He knows me better than anyone else in the world.
Did he know I would come?
My son didn't tell him anything.
Just before we left I asked him to keep some African CD's aside when he was cleaning his CD racks.
I've asked this often the past 10 years, but he never ever took the effort of giving me one to use for a while.
Today he gave me a CD that was on his desk. An african guy on the cover, but south american music. The title is, translated, rebirth.
Ofcourse I will tease him with giving me a south american one instead of an african one. And I know I'll see in his eyes if he was aware of the title.
I bet he is.
Like him I like to have a thousand and one little things around me. A bracelet I've worn to a wedding, a very delicate tiny buddha on my keyboard, lovely smelly soap in a bottle with poppies which remind me of my father and a dear friend that passed away a few weeks ago, etc etc. Other people might think it's a mess, but to me it's just a collection of memories that are woven together just the way life merges experiences.
We share a lot of habits and characteristics, even though our lives have been very different.
We respect each other, the way we are.
And what has always moved me is his trust in me, in my integrity, the intensity in which I live and the love for my children.
I can't think of a life without him.
When he dies, all the best people of my past are gone.