It's that time. Where once we might have gathered for a drink, more often than not we come together at funerals. This week an old friend died suddenly while he was in hospital and fully expecting to recover.
I hadn't seen him for years but when I heard, I felt as if I'd lost a brother. Because he was laughter and lightness, mischief and love. He raged at prats and wankers and greasers and anything remotely mediocre. He lived life as if he was making love to it, passionately, madly at times - all the while crafting words meant to woo. We knew his shortcomings, but never dwelt on them - the boyish charm which never left him outweighed all of that. And so, death into his life doesn't equate.
Some people are simply evergreen and he was one. As I sit under a grey Auckland sky writing this, I can hear him saying how much he'd have liked to have written that book on fishing. I can hear him extol the countryside where he'd moved and singing the Beatles to the birds. And I can hear his doubts too, whispered now, for he was never one to give voice to them for long, though they went deep.
What seemed so strange was that after all these years apart, his passing shook me, almost hurt. It's not just because we're the same age. It's about a life lived to the full, rather than one just lost.