Death’s Reminders

This morning I prepared my double espresso, watched the coffee trickle out in a fine stream, form its thick crema and start to gently exhale that amazing roast-bean aroma. I carried the small cup out to the terrace where the Jasmine bushes are in their two-weeks per year of bloom pouring forth waves of sweetness that a perfume maker can only dream of capturing. The bright sunshine and the light cool breeze combined to create a womblike level of comfort. And, this being sunday, the city was blanketed in quiet, the birds singing could actually be heard.

Intruded into this blissful situation the horrifying news that a friend, not a dear friend, nor a childhood friend, but someone whose presence I enjoyed, someone who lived a considered life and did things differently enough to pay attention to, had been killed in a motorcycle accident last night at 1.30am on his way home. He did not go to sleep, he did not wake up to this glorious morning on earth.

I felt sad that I would not see him on tuesday as we had agreed friday. I felt angry that he had persisted in driving a motorcycle in this country of aggressive drivers and bad roads, I felt worried for the people whom he had left behind and who would be devastated.

Among the various emotions, though, one I did not run across was loss. Strangely, I felt the same way about his leaving us as I would have if he had left to live in another country. The idea that he is gone does not ring true. He is there, just not here nearby. One day, I will see him again, and in the meantime it’s a question of patience.

I have seen people breakdown in sobs when someone they care for leaves to another city. But I don’t understand that at all. The person is still here, we can call them, go visit them. I feel an advance nostalgia for people I am not close to when I know that I wont make the effort to stay in touch, then I actually feel loss. But when they are people I can’t live without, I know they will remain in my life one way or another and so I am not sad at all.

I might be abnormal. Perhaps it is a loss when people depart geographically. Maybe it’s a permanent tragedy when a friend dies. But it all feels temporary and natural.


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