I remember him as clear as day. I can recall him so clearly in my mind, as if he’s still living just down the road from me, and I’ve just come back from a quick chat over the garden fence. He was my best friend. For 13 years. We met in our early teens, when his family moved to my street, as his as his father got a job to work up at the factory. There was an instant spark between us, people used to call us the two musketeers, ha, I suppose we never really needed anyone else. Instantly we were joined at the hip, we did everything together. When I think back on it, although I think it was a sliver close to nothing that I was able to keep from him, and of course in my own naïve mind I expected the same from him. I guess I always knew it must have been a very difficult time for him, although he didn’t show it, and surely, he mustn’t have shared everything with me, despite my instant infatuation with him leading to this all loving ever flowing sharing of emotions and thoughts and dreams.
He had his own private being, he created worlds you know ?
I always knew whenever I tried to verbalize my feelings of enamourment for him, how he would draw back, never in a dismissive but you know at the time this was looked upon as something close of an illness, one could be sent to the hospital, worst case even given horrible torturous treatment of all sorts, for even expressing this interest which I found myself so carelessly and lovingly expressing to him. And I was an awkward kid I mean I still don’t know what he’d ever seen in me, before him I’d never even had close friends of the sorts, I had some pals from class and church and I participated in some of the math’s club meetings, but I certainly was not what you would call popular or cool or hip, and not much of a looker either.
But he didn’t care about any of that.
It was like he was an angel you know, I used to call him Ramiel, he was my angel of hope, and I think in many ways, none of which he’d ever care to admit of course, but he really did save me.
I don’t know, I guess, I mean, yes of course he was beautiful, he was the most beautiful person I’d every laid my young eyes on *laughs*… with his thick dark hair, with these beautifully sleek oiled curls, the strong, curved nose, of which he so often expressed grave dissatisfaction. He had streaks of vanity, but I suppose he never let it define him, never affect his judgment or cause him to act self-centered or superior for that matter. He was aware of his beauty, but for some reason, still unbeknownst to me, he saw beauty in me too.
I remember it was summer, I was working in the convenience store during the week and he’d ride his bike and meet me as I got off work, and we would ride together thought the path in the forest with all the blackberry bushes and we had a spot, an opening close to the lake surrounded by shrubbery, a hiding place I suppose *laughs*. The bushes made the clearing private from the view of potential nosy fly fishermen, but with just enough lake in sight for us to lie for hours, side by side, watching the water. He would read me excerpts from the books he was reading, often translating them directly, he had a way with words where he’d speak slowly, as if tasting the texture of each word before allowing his lips to form them, considering their feeling so as the outcome was smooth and one would almost forget that these words were translated, or one would completely forget to listen to the words at all, simply enjoying the sound of his voice. I remember the smell of the pine trees, and how the bumpy ground felt to lie on. I would always find pine in my hair and trousers that summer, and every time, it made me warm inside thinking of how lucky I was to have a person like to with whom I could get to have such tender moments with.
Oh, no, well… there were moments maybe is how I want to put it. Mind you again, we were both coming from quite conservative households, the whole town really, and my participation at the church and with my family had… well… we had been taught certain things, and well, but here’s the thing, these things that we were taught and which I had this very strong belief in, and then my feeling for him, I think they never really intersected, as I think I felt that the pureness of my infatuation was an extension of this way of unconditional love which I had been taught and I suppose I looked at it as closer to holy rather than sin. It was pure love, the physical aspect of which was never the focus, or the goal or intention or what you might say. This he had more struggle with, of what he shared with me I remember this being quite difficult for him. And of course, there is urges or lust or these sorts of feelings, but you push them away. Who knows, maybe my previous history of a quite solitudinous existence made this a bit easier for me. He struggled with this, or at least the division of societal pressures and lust hung heavy on him. But there were sometimes, where we found ourselves in what you might say, tender moments. I hold these memories very dearly, and although I want to do my best at answering your questions, I would like to keep it at that. I think some memories are best kept in the minds of the experiencer, and they would lose some of their soul if you were to try and put words on them. Try all you might, I know I’m certainly no poet, and that probably every young lovebird might think the same, but this love that we had, this weaving of feelings, cannot be put into words. I remember it and I feel it, I do not narrate. I don’t think he would have wanted those moments spoken either. We never spoke about them internally, as much as I might have wanted too. I think we had this understanding, this feeling of agreement. He was very slender, an almost frail exterior, but he was the softest embrace I have ever felt. That summer we would lie in the sun and he would get tan almost immediately, gosh I envied him! I could be out in the sun for 20min and get sunburnt. He wanted to be a writer. He had big plans he’d tell me; he was going to go to the city and publish the next big novel of the century and travel across the continent and see Europe and Paris and Vienna and Berlin. I could never dream as big as him *laughs*… I suppose in a way, I let myself dream through him. He was a storyteller, and I was a child staring up in wonder. I always knew that he would leave, and I would stay, and he knew this too. We also knew that however pure this friendship, these feelings we had were, there would never be a space for us to be together then. I always imagine him, in Europe, walking down the street with his sleek wooly coat, catching the eyes of every man and woman, knowing deep in him that he would walk up to any one of them and they would take him home, if he felt so inclined. I hope that he did make it to Europe, I really do. I visited myself once, in my later years. Haha I imagine he would have been appalled at the yellow umbrella charter holiday resort we visited. “That simply cannot do!” he would have said, turning in his heels and dragged me on a train to some small unknown city with artists and writers littering the streets in their flowing clothes, mixed pattern sarongs and oversized velour blazers.…
“Now this, this is what the present was made for” he’d say.
I do enjoy looking back, though these old memories. I suppose it’s good to remember. Without remembering, one might be so poorly inclined, as to, well, forget.