Today is important for a person I probably consider as one of my ‘best’ friends.
Ironically, we have met four, maybe five times tops. This ‘friendship’ was forged ostensibly in the crucible of internet gaming, and anyone worth their salt will tell you that’s a bloody stupid way to do anything. Except, in this case, it absolutely wasn’t. This is someone for whom I would happily give a kidney, without a second thought. It is a person with whom I have shared some pretty torrid emotional times, including the death of a parent. This is an individual for whom self-depreciation is almost a paying profession, but this is countered by one of the largest hearts and most face-achingly brilliant senses of humour I have ever had the good fortune to encounter.
For someone who suffers from depression, this is a great combination of factors to have at your disposal.
We don’t get to talk as much as we used to, because he now lives in Canada for an extremely sensible and utterly cool reason. I’m almost continually jealous of anyone who moves as he does to follow a dream: he spent time in France too, pursuing ambitions I would never have had the nerve to push. Ironically, I’ve been failing to take good advice from him for a while, as he said my podcasting was probably a bad idea. Ironically I’m very close to something fairly major/new in that department, and there’s a part of me that wishes that this person was still in the UK so I could go badger them to go for a drink to celebrate this, and undoubtedly point out what a wronghead he was for not believing my capability.
As it is, I have only the virtual in which I can celebrate with him. So that’s why I’m here right now.
I want him to know how much he matters to me, and that I’d say that in public to begin with. Without his encouragement and support my writing would not be in the place it currently inhabits, that much is damn sure. I owe him a piece of fiction that, I hope, I will be able to send him complete before the year is out. The problem I’ve found with it is twofold: it is painfully autobiographical (I never actually realised this until very late in the process) and I’m simply afraid it’s not good enough. I will, however, make good on my promise to him, because even if he’s the only person who ends up reading it, the job of the narrative will be done. I understand now a lot of what I’ve written over the years has been to that end, to free myself from restrictions so I can move forwards.
He defended me once upon a time with an honesty and passion that took my breath away, and I knew then that if someone was prepared to be that person, they deserved nothing less than my total loyalty as a result. I put a great deal of significance in the way a person treats you when it doesn’t matter, in the hard times between finding jobs and living your life. He went through Hell and back to get where he is now, and I have to applaud not only his continual persistence, but his utter brilliance in the face of what was often crippling defeat.
He’s also the second best father I know. Yes, that’s utterly fair. Don’t look at me like that.
I dedicated 600 words to him today that I want to send into the ether as a reminder that long after the gifts are forgotten and the drinks drunk, what matters most to me are the genuine, real people you find in the World, and that’s exactly what he is.
With huge, brilliant fucking knobs on.