I will never forget seeing all my children being born. I’ll never forget the queen of my heart and soul. The sweet smell in the air before it rains, but most of all I will never forget my childhood best friend Paul. He left this earth when he was 14 years old.
We started school together at 5, along with other close friends Larry and Peter. We all stayed in the same neighborhood. There was a secret whistle call, that we would use to alert each other that meant ” we’re outside bro”. We hung out all the time, climbing trees, making forts and huts. We’d go eeling and eat wild berries in the bush. We were inseparable, brothers from different mothers.
Peter, Larry and I are pacific islanders and Paul was a white boy, but a Pacific Islander on the inside. He always stuck up for us if we were racially abused. He was a really good sort, I loved him like my real brother. We did everything together.
As we were getting older we drifted apart. I was busy playing team sports and had a part time job. I hadn’t seen Paul in a while. I heard through my friends that Paul was really sick. In the back of my mind I wanted to see him, but I kept putting it off. I Don’t know why, I think it was because I didn’t want to believe he had cancer. I was too scared to see him, so I kept my distance. I was eventually sent for by Pauls parents. I wasn’t prepared for the words they spoke. “Say your final goodbyes to him, he hasn’t got long”. Instantly tears started welling up in my eyes, then I bursted into tears sobbing uncontrollably. The guilt set in, and I was really hating myself. Why I kept asking myself? Why didn’t I visit. Sitting there watching my best friends lifeless body, who was not conscious with yellow tinge to his skin. He had lost so much weight, he was skin and bones. I started to talk to him, reminiscing on the funny and crazy stuff we got up too. I reminded him of the time we climbed a massive power pylon with umbrellas, then we mary poppins off it. The thing is we didn’t float, we fell straight down into a pile of grass. I was told he asked after me and I was devasted. Anguish twisted through me. Still at the age of 43 I harbor guilt for the way I tried to deny my brothers illness and therefore dissmissing his calls for me to visit. From time to time memories of my friend creep into my mind and I break down with tears.
The following week I attended the funeral, with my close friends Larry and Peter. It was one the saddest days of my life. Our gang of 4 was now 3. It was good to see Paul’s family, and say our final goodbyes. Now our gang of three are all grown up, we’ve gone our separate ways. But we still keep in contact through social media. Peter still lives in our home town. Myself and Larry live in a different country. Our little gang reminds me of the charactes from the movie “Stand by me”. Here is a note to my friend in heaven.
hey bro…please forgive me for not seeing you, when you were sick. I feel like a stink as fella. We had a blast of a good time. Playing in the bush, jumping from tree to tree. Playing war games, getting beat up by your older brothers. Drinking that bottle of VAT 69 getting totally wasted on guy fawks day, Good times aye. Thanks for being my good friend. One of my sons has Paul as their middle name. Please forgive me bro…