Hello Roo, what a fine mess you’ve got yourself into!
It was John! I was so happy to see him as of all the people I wanted to reach to tell of my predicament, he was the one I thought of most.
Oh John! I am so glad you are here. Love connected us. It always had since the day I first laid eyes on him as a six year-old. An Englishman, forty-two years my senior, he roamed the globe as a diplomat for much of the time working with the UN. He regaled me with his exploits – of water-skiing beside hippopotami in the Zambezi River, meeting head-hunters in the wilds of New Guinea and courting his Russian wife with her tales of the last Tsar.
Once he was left for dead while trying to quell an argument between two tribes in Nigeria. They shot him. A bullet lodge in his brain and stayed there. Later, anguished and contrite, they marched into the hospital and begged his forgiveness. His near-death had healed their tribal rift.
A close friend of my father’s, he seemed everything that my father was not: affectionate, kind and solid. Dressed now in his usual attire – sports slacks, a shirt open at the collar revealing a silk burgundy cravat. He also had his beloved walking stick, a reminder of all the walks we had taken through the English countryside over the years.
He had a super-8 camera and I used to love following him around as he went about his filming. Our friendship endured despite the long distances that separated us for years at a time. He never forgot my birthday and I never forgot his. When we did meet, it was with much joy and laughter and that was the tenor of our little universe.
Once he took me out for a pub lunch– pork pies and beer – in one of those post-card quaint English villages in Kent. As we drove home, meandering through the country lanes, I noticed our car gently veering away to the left and heading towards some shrubbery. This seemed a little odd so I glanced across at John who was behind the wheel. He was fast asleep! I screamed. The car ended up in a shallow ditch. He woke up and we laughed ourselves sick.
Sunshine, from somewhere, radiated around him.
Anxious about the tube that was coming out of my brain draining the blood, my blood, I was tired, exhausted and wondered aloud whether I would get through all this. As if to answer, John pointed at his own head.
A surge of hope and encouragement lifted me. I must tell Dad that I have caught up with John, I thought.
But there was one problem, John was dead.